Smoke AxD – Vaya Con Dios (Casa De Roc)

The riff machine behind Madball, Hoya Roc and Danny Diablo AKA Lord Ezec, the voice of NYHC legends Crown Of Thornz and Skarhead team up with ex Hatebreed guitar slinger Sean Martin combine to bring Roc’s passion project Smoke AxD to life and the result is exactly what you would expect it to be…ish.

Anybody who’s been anywhere near his social media accounts will know that the bassist is a man who likes his weed. Indeed this spills over into his podcast “The Smokin’ Word Podcast” which mixes hardcore and cannabis culture, so it’s something of a natural progression, that this now carries into his musical outlet.

After an amicable split with NYHC legends Madball last year, who he’d joined just after their inception in 1992, he promised he’d be back with something special and Smoke AxD’s debut E.P Vaya Con Dios is it.  As The Codes We Chose rumbles in, we are in familiar territory with Hoya’s legendary penchant for a groovy riff still in tact, albeit with a noticably more aggressive drum beat supplied by Riggs Ross and Dimi Roc.

Ezec spits out his venomous take on street life as only he can and before you know it From Hate We Came drops. One for the Slayer fans in the house, this is probably the one that’s going to set the pits alight with Hoya’s signature breakdowns making themselves known, giving the track a Hatebreed vibe. This continues into Unstoppable a head nodder of a track that drops plenty of gang vocals, not to mention a blistering guitar solo, before breaking down into another huge riff that will open pits and heads in equal measure. The title track of the E.P is a bold move for a group of people so embedded in hardcore folklore, as Ezec spews his bile over a dance track, with minimal guitar work. Definitely one that had to grown on me, but the result sounds something like 90’s Prong. But it’s back to business as the E.P closes with Smoke All Day a track that combines classic Madball with a chanting chorus that brings to mind Suicidal Tendencies.

Vaya Con Dias is a massive step to the metal side of the fence, but essentially Hoya has retained the groove that put him on the map and he’s bought in a stellar supporting cast to bring Smoke AxD to life. The production by legendary producer Zeuss gives the the E.P a big sound making it one of those records that’s going to cross boundaries as metalheads and hardcore kids will all get something from it. I thought I was going to miss Hoya being in Madball, but now we have two great bands to enjoy. Lucky us… Chris Andrews





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