Street Weapon, Quick to Die (NFTW Records, 2020)

Richmond hardcore continues to write and rewrite itself into the annals of scene history. Just a hundred or so miles due East is Virginia Beach, home to NFTW Records. On the strength of last summer’s Ravages of Time 7” by BATO alone, Not for the Weak is a label to be reckoned with and the type that scenes get built around.

Continuing to cultivate their deserved and quickly rising profile, their latest is another scorcher. The hyperactive hometowners otherwise known as Street Weapon recently dropped their Quick to Die EP.

On the strength of last year’s Demo 2 and 2018’s The Message, Street Weapon’s latest is a formidable half dozen tracks of no-frills hardcore from folks fresh outta High School. 

For as fresh-faced as these youngbloods may be, their working knowledge of our scene’s Salad Days is impressive. At first blush, they deftly maneuver between early NYHC and the straight ahead, Grave Mistake-style mania of labelmates Lethal Means and Reckoning Force.

There are heavy Antidote vibes on this thing and anything that calls them to mind needs to be catching looks and listens. A deeper dig after a few listens reveals myriad touchstones.

I’m guessing they’d gladly recite the tracklist on both the Only the Strong and Where the Wild Things Are comps. 

Kicking off the EP is the title track. It features a bit of an “intro” vibe and, as an opening gambit, it’s a nasty and sneering blast of hardcore. When mid-paced and “slower," if you can call it that, they have a bit of the stomp and menace of 86 Mentality. The vocals are a great counterpoint to their marriage of USHC and Big Apple bounce and groove, as the slight echo adds a touch of desperation and intimidation.

They’ve even got a sprinkle of the uglier end of “mysterious guy” hardcore whcih, though I’m loathe to use the term, forever has a glut of rad bands. Strangely, the most fitting bookend for Quick to Die is the final track, another world-ender that has Bulldog Edition ambitions. Fittingly, the band flaunts the visual aesthetic of Verbal Assault’s masterwork, Trial.

Elsewhere, the jab-hook combo of “Padded Cell” and “Laughing Stock” is note perfect. The former rides a furious and breakneck classic hardcore punk riff, whereas the following track boils over like early SSD. They find time to two-step and even jam a few nods to little state RIX-core aggression. “The Truth” raids the Village, so to speak, as they grab generously from NYC’s nascent scene. Pulling inspiration from Life’s Blood, Token Entry, and The Abused; it’s the aforementioned authors of Thou Shalt Not Kill that take top-billing on the marquee of influence.

Photo found on Bandcamp

The They immediately launch into a sinister crossover that’s overtaken by popping, up front bass fretwork. The cold-hearted Cro-Mags sound of “American Dream” finds Street Weapon at their moshiest, even choosing to unleash a ripping solo at the jump. 

Virginia Beach? NFTW Records has gotcha. Hit em’ up. 

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