Brotherhood: Till Death 12"
So this was a bit of a surprise... I know that Southern Lord has been re-releasing a bunch of 80s hardcore over the past few years, but I didn't expect them to start mining the well of late 80s straight edge / youth crew obscurities. However, Southern Lord owner / Sunn O))) guitarist Greg Anderson was the guitarist in Brotherhood, so I guess it makes sense (though he isn't even the most famous Brotherhood alumnus... bassist Nate Mendel went on to play in Foo Fighters(!)). Anyway, I remember owning the old Crucial Response version of this LP back in the day and sold it in a purge of nearly all of my old youth crew records, but revisiting this years down the line it's actually way more ripping than I remember. It's definitely of its time and isn't really breaking the mold in any way, but it's a concise, well-recorded, and powerful document of the sound and style. At their best Brotherhood could approach the stop/start intensity of Straight Ahead (as they do on the classic first track, "The Deal"), and they also have a bit common with the post-Youth of Today generation of NYHC / CBGB bands... bands like Breakdown, Outburst, Sick of It All, etc. At its core, though, this is pure youth crew straight edge, clearly inspired by Youth of Today, Side by Side, Wide Awake, etc., and it's as strong a take on that sound as you're going to find. I should also mention that the packaging on this is extensive and awesome. The jacket is on a very heavy stock, it comes with an obi strip, and (most importantly) a very thick, full-color, 7"-size booklet that not only reproduces the layout of the band's lone 7" EP, but also adds dozens of great photographs that look like they were ripped straight from the pages of Schism or Hardware. I'm not sure that, at the end of the day, this is great music or anything, but if like me you only need to own a handful of youth crew records this should be a strong contender for being one of them.