To x This x Day - Chapter 1: Between The Bridges - 1981 Records 2006
12 Songs
Running Time: 34:32

It goes without saying that the "x"s in the name of New York's To This Day are silent, but we all know what they mean. Yep, To This Day are some straight-edge, drug-free, booze-free mofos who (like most sXe bands) make no secret of upon which side of the fence they stand. Considering that their debut, Chapter 1:..., is also the inaugural release for - could it be named anything else? - 1981 Records, this will be the world's first recorded glimpse into the lives of TTD and the label who backs them. I've long steered clear of politics and moral conviction when reviewing albums, largely due to my function merely being to tell you if the band as a whole presents itself in such a way as to be worth your time.

Well, To This Day is. Musically, "Unfolds" is rife with typical NYHC beatdowns circa Biohazard's last good album, Urban Discipline. TTD do manage to steer clear of the rap influence, though, tossing a goodsize portion of Killing Time into the mix instead. The forward-driving "Spelunking" chugs along, injecting an appropriate number of breakdowns in order to "stay true", but doesn't just go for the obvious even in laying out those ever-popular moments. Think Ten Ton Diesel Head, only without the sludge flirtations, and you get some sense of where TTD is coming from when demonstrating their kung-fu instigation style. Where To This Day succeed and many fail, however, is in actually building the breakdown around the song, and not just copy/pasting one riff to another in the valiant but misplaced hope that something will stick. "Nameless" fairly bursts with Minor Threat influence, taking all the inherent catchiness of early 'Threat and time-warping it into 2006, creating a meld of tough-guy bravado and sXe ethics, the low end rumbling like a derailing L-Train. What would an Edge album be without a song about the inherent dangers in breaking the sXe code? Well, on this album that song is the brilliantly-titled "One Hitter Quitter". Amid burled-out breakdowns, TTD rightly take issue not with those who don't follow the same path, but those who use the creed as a stepping stone or an "in", only to drop Edge for convenience sake or mass approval. "Greenhouse Effect" charges ahead, a few off-kilter time changes snapping the listener's attention from the plethora of breakdowns, a testament to To This Day's understanding that there truly is such a thing is one chugga-chugga-thud riff too many. Would that more bands could grasp that simple fact.

I'll be the first to admit that I lose patience quickly with standard hardcore bands, and in a scene fraught with schism as much as it is bonded by unity, you'd think there'd be a fucking lot more originality. Thankfully, bands like To This Day, and albums like Chapter 1: Between The Bridges give me hope.

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