xAwakex – This is Now (Demo 2013)

Straight Edge Youth Crew from Lisbon


Artist: xAwakex

Title: This is Now

Release: Tape / Digital

Year: 2013

Label: Salad Days Records

What better way to start my reviews for DIY Conspiracy than to review a good youth crew straight edge band? I feel pretty honored.

xAwakex is a band from Lisbon, Portugal. They fit in well with the whole “Faro Straight Edge” scene, which stands for Portuguese traditional youth crew with a heavier modern touch and a revivalist straight edge attitude. This is also the case with xAwakex’s demo: what we get are four songs of tough youth crew that doesn’t forget to include a lot of melody, but without getting too poppy or anything. In fact, it’s the opposite because of the heavy vocals and the 100% old school attitude. There is also an overall feeling of bitterness and melancholy that is not uncommon in many of the best youth crew bands (from Chain of Strength to Champion).

This piece of heartfelt and beautiful hardcore music is also accompanied by a great cover: a city train wagon graffiti-ed with “XAWAKEX”. In a sense, hardcore can easily be understood as an urban art form, much like graffiti also is. After all, gruff city imagery always had a place in hardcore, so thumbs up for this cover, which is also a real graffiti. Who hasn’t found him/herself standing at some bleak city station with only the music on our headphones to rely on for some hope? I know I have.

If you like youth crew hardcore with tons of energy, sad overtones and a nicely balanced production (almost ’80s sounding, unpolished but pretty professional), then you will surely dig xAwakex. They can still have something worthwhile to give in this oversaturated scene that European Youth Crew is. I wish I could get my hands on the limited edition tape!

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