I realise that hardcore is not really known for its originality but Ryker’s output between 94 and 97, especially the Lost and Found releases, stands up against anything else from that era. But after that initial influx of work, I felt they lost their way. Instead of producing hardcore records that had passion and bite they seemed to fall victim to every hardcore cliché, releasing below par records and eventually disbanding in the early 00’s. Their comeback album in 2014 Hard To The Core showed some promise that the old magic was still intact and showed a band willing to progress their sound slightly. Never Meant To Last in 2015 continued the trend, which brings us up to their newest offering The Beginning….
It starts in furious fashion the old school stomp/sing along of Let’s Ruin The Scene and the fast paced Losing Touch, which brings to mind Wisdom In Chains, with its shout along in tune sort of style, which seems to be a something of a stamp of modern hardcore. The thrashy Cro-Mags style of Cast In Stone continues things before life’s frustrations come pouring out in Dead End Street. The album’s title track is the first stand out moment with the band now seemingly willing to fully stretch their legs with a crossover track akin to The Crumbsuckers. As if they’ve read my mind they blast through Old Passion, a proper old school romp with some- wait for it turntable scratching action over it. Sounds horrible right? It’s not. A signature of the old Ryker’s sound was that beautifully tinny bass tone they had, so it’s good to hear that in No Matter What, a hardcore love song of sorts. They go full on thrash with The Six Million Dollar Band and for a second I was waiting for John Connelly to start screaming whilst Bully Boy has a stomp that Sergeant D would come out of retirement for.
At fifteen songs long, I think that the album is a bit too long and could easily lose a few filler tracks, but there at least eleven tracks of good solid hardcore with a renewed sense of freedom on The Beginning… that should propel Ryker\’s to the top of the Hardcore foodchain. Ryker’s are back. You have been warned… Chris Andrews