"At the time we started the band, beatdown was huge in our area. So our mission was plain and simple, start a straightforward NYHC-inspired hardcore band."
That's vocalist Anthony telling me the origin story behind Mindwar, the Belgian quintet he fonts.
"Me and my brother (Emanuel) started writing some riffs, mosh maniac Emmanuel joined on bass, and Jelle, who is an all-around musical guy, started on drums, and that's how Mindwar was born. Later on, we added Andy on second guitar, and he played in a band called Pulse. Emmanuel decided he wanted to go on a different life journey to go travel the world, so we added my good friend and full-time maniac Matthias on bass. He used to play in Pebble, also from our hometown."
In terms of the Mindwar sound, here's what Anthony says:
"Our influences are pretty obvious. We started off more No Warning-inspired (demo, EP), but right now (LP) I’d say we go for a mix between Cro-Mags and Hatebreed. Influences go all over the place though, we just love fight music."
I'm speaking with Anthony in celebration of Mindwar's forthcoming debut album, Still at War. It's their maiden release for hardcore juggernaut Triple B Records, and follows the group's Hollow EP from 2018. First single "Collective Compulsion" is a perfect place-setter for the rest of the album's onslaught:
So, how did Mindwar land on Sam Yarmuth at Triple B Records' radar? "Warfare, Sam’s band, played the legendary Ieperfest in Belgium. Mindwar also played that weekend. Somehow, we ended up in a conversation and Sam asked us to send the new stuff. We sent it off to him, not really with any high expectations, but after a while he said “let’s do it." The rest is motherfuckin’ history!"
I ask Anthony about the making of Still at War. "Oh boy, we've been working very hard and a long time on this one [laughs]. Apart from the drums and mastering, we did everything ourselves. Drums were recorded in summer 2021 at Much Luv Studio. Our drummer Jelle recorded the rest of us at his place and mixed the whole LP.
"We took our time, as we wanted it to feel and sound the absolute best of what was in our minds at that moment. 'Still at War' is not just a compilation of songs, but an album that grabs you at the start and doesn't let go until the very end."
What can listeners expect from the lyrical content on Still at War? "I have always used Mindwar as a vessel to deal with my anxiety and fears in life. That’s what I’ve always written about. But when I wrote the lyrics for Still at War, I realized that I didn’t have problems enough [laughs].
"So I started digging deeper and started writing more about the shit I see on a day-to-day basis: Increasing racism, social media taking over our lives… etc. Hopefully, the people who check us outdig deep and check it out for themselves. After all, that’s what hardcore is about."
I ask Anthony for his take on the current state of hardcore music. "It’s so expensive to get travel Visas right now, so I feel like many European bands get overlooked over here because of that. Hardcore in Europe is in a good place right now. There are lots of cool bands all over the place: Worst Doubt from Paris, Echo Chamber from Germany, High Vis from the UK.
"I feel that hardcore here, is not so different as hardcore in the USA. Hardcore is something universal and I feel we all kind of think and act the same as you guys do. No need to divide."
Since we're on the subject, what are some hardcore bands from Belgium that we should be on the lookout for right now?
"Instructor: skinheads from Brussels who play hard-as-nails hardcore Breakdown style. Their new LP, Terror Zone, has more of a harder mosh vibe to it. Kickback style. Insanely hard.
"Chain Reaction: good friends of ours and such a great band. You might know the vocalist Bjorn from Rise and Fall. He does some guest vocals on our new record as well. FFO : everything NYHC.
"Feverchild: emo brought in a genius way. Great to see live, great to cry to at home. Dope dudes and awesome music."
Anthony also wants to give these following honorable mentions: Crucified, Sicko, Weak Link, Minded Fury, Game Changer, and Raw Peace.
In addition to the new album's release, Mindwar will be heading out on a European tour with End It kicking off June 30th in Rennes, France. SPY and Combust will also be on the bill on select dates:
Still at War will be released on May 17th via Triple B Records (pre-order).