I, like every other hardcore fan I'm sure, is always stoked for a new Madball album. Born from frontman Freddy Cricien's step brother Roger Miret's band Agnostic Front in the late 80's, Madball has been at the top since inception.
This album marks the departure of Rigg Ross (now in Skarhead) and debut of 19 year old drum prodigy Jay Weinberg (son of E St. Band/Conan O'Brien's house band Max Weinberg 7, Max Weinberg and who also since just before the release of the album been relieved of his duties as Madball's drummer). Being a huge fan of the last 2 albums, I've really liked what Freddy, Hoya, Mitts, and Rigg have brought to the table, I was stoked yet somewhat reluctant because to me, a big part of Madball is the overall groove to their songs largely in part to the drumming in which Rigg dealt in spades.
Jay isn't quite there yet. He's undeniably a great drummer, but his playing didn't make me feel the songs the way some of the previous drummers' styles had. One of the coolest things on the album, is the track "Shatterproof" featuring Freddy's brother Roger sharing the mic. Freddy appeared in the video for AF's song "So Pure To Me" from the album "Another Voice" sharing vocal duties, but didn't appear on the album version of the song, so its cool to have a track with the two together.
Freddy always has something to say with his lyrics and vocal delivery sounds inspired much like his solo hip hop album Catholic Guilt. Hoya and Mitts' riffs are on par with any of the best that Madball has to offer, and I already went over how I felt about the drums. One thing that stuck out to me, is that unlike many albums which start out amazingly but song quality drops off quickly and sharply,
Empire seems to really fall into its own a few songs in. Its really hard to rate a band who set the bar with "Set it Off," but Madball never disappoints and don't seem to be going anywhere soon!
Here is the video for All or Nothing which is featured on Empire!