Backflip – The Brainstorm Vol II (Hellxis Records EP)

Backflip – The Brainstorm Vol II (Hellxis Records EP)

A nice surprise!

Portuguese hardcore! And very pleasing this slab of Iberian brouhaha is too, much to my surprise… Ladies and gentlemen, Senhoras e senhores, dou-te … Backflip!

I don’t know why I’m surprised. Despite – or maybe because of – it’s tribalism, there’s something very universal about hardcore, it’s simplistic yet uplifting structure appealing to any and all that come within it’s touch. Backflip are no different.

Despite throwing comparatively new school names like Stick to Your Guns and Comeback Kid around in their press release, Backflip are actually gratifyingly rather old-school in sound. Excellent opener Redemption is a fine mix of happy hardcore like Shelter and riffier, Terror-style hardness, and I can tell you that’s a pretty exciting blend to be sure.

Loyal Opposition has some great heavy metal riffing – staccato, I believe is the technical term – and, although it does have a few poppy ‘who-ohs’ creeping in it still manages to stay on the straight and narrow; Next track Born Headfirst successfully transplants Lisbon to New York, with vocalist Inês Oliveira (YES! A WOMAN!) doing a fine Ray Capo impression.

To the Bone isn’t quite as impressive, though the heavy NYHC chug of Burning High is probably the best here for ‘proper’ hardcore fans, with some great interplay between drummer Pedro Vida Conceição and rhythm section buddy João Vidigal and some properly titanic gang vocals weighing in to the fun.

Symptoms is the final cut (this sadly is just an EP), melding driving, almost Life of Agony style riffs to a conventional mid-paced thrash with pleasing, and energising results.

Whoda thunk one of the best hardcore releases thus far in 2017 would come from Portugal? Not me, that’s for sure. But it has, and you should buy it. Immediately!

Michael Stronge
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