V/A – We Carry The Torch (Torch Of Hope Records)

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Whoever got himself into managing any kind of record label, probably got himself into troubles managing everything on time. Especially when it comes to compilations consisted of various artists. It must be a problem when you need to write all the emails,  work with pressing plants, catch all the bands to send you all the stuff on time and you have some tight deadlines you need to follow.  Luckily enough, the skatepunk scene runs smoothly because of hardworking bands who know how to get things done professionally and respect all the deadlines labels set to them. Carry The Torch is a labor of love between all those hard working bands and you can see how they work by simply catching up with their activities on social media. This compilation CD consists of sixteen songs performed by sixteen great bands gathered by Tokyo, Japan-based Torch Of Hope Records. Curbside are opening this amazing comp with their perfect mixture of skate punk and melodic hardcore. Their progressive riffs are such a punch in a face and a great start of this CD. Dead Neck are coming up next and whoever followed our reviews probably heard of these guys. They’re playing a similar style as Curbside, with a slightly aggressive approach. The track is also shorter in length which gives even more anger to the beginnings of this compilation. Generation Death by Escape Velocity is the next one and this band gives us more dynamics alongside with great melodies presented with good vocals and phenomenal arrangements. Such a refreshment after a couple of bangers. Gibberish are the fourth band and they’re a playing pure skatepunk which can be characterized as a modern approach to an old school skatepunk music which suits well to this band. Vocals and chunky basslines are real highlights of this song. Deaf Dumb by The Mor(r)ons is coming up next with punchy fast skatepunk song which instantly reminded me of some No Use For A Name tracks. The production is done in the same way, it’s not too polished, it’s dirty enough to keep some hardcore edge to already implemented melodies. Edward In Venice are nailing once again with their wide spectrum of melodies, keeping that modern approach to pop-punk mixed with bits of pieces of a couple of genres such as skatepunk and metalcore, but still blended in their own unique style. Thousand Oaks are coming up next and these guys are not joking at all. This is some proper melodic hardcore punk with crazy math melodies which are developed till perfection. Still, Thousand Oaks are keeping to the skatepunk roots with all the arpeggios and nice vocals which are going all the way from yelling to more cleaner style. Half Hearted Hero are bringing more calmy sound to the table with their mid-tempo track and some more Descendents styled punk rock which gives some freshness the overall experience and it’s a great chill track to clean the head of all the complexities that previous bands have delivered with their tunes. Bedtime For Charlie are continuing at the almost same tempo as Half Hearted Hero, but after just a couple of seconds they’re coming up with more shreddings and fast tempos alike previous bands. Arrangements of their tracks are so neat and these guys are nailing it right. Infamous Not On Tour are coming up next and female vocals are such a whisper to my ears, it’s such a good addition to this comp. As usual, Not On Tour are not giving time to catch a single breath. It’s melodic, it’s fast, it has all the possible elements of good punk rock and those catchy fast parts at the end of their track are their main ingredient. Hateful Monday are balancing the tempos on this compilation and their track PhD In Punk are presenting their version of classic melodic punk rock. It’s one of those tracks which reminds us that the compilation is soon approaching to an end, but not in a bad way. Hateful Monday know how to write a proper anthemic punk rock songs and those singalongs are nailing the atmosphere. Crimical Collection are bringing their skatepunk tune to the table and it’s a fast one with a catchy melodic refrain, decorated with good riffs, hearable basslines and standard drum rhythms. Production is fine, as it should be for this type of music. These guys play that classic skatepunk style performed by a lot of bands back at the end of the 90s, so it’s great to hear this type of music once again. Burn Rebuild are giving even more melodies with Who I Am, such an incredible mid-tempo track with easily rememberable riffs and impressive guitar solo which amazingly suits to this tune. Symphony Of Distraction are bringing their classic ripper to the table and for those who are not familiar with the previous works of this band, don’t miss any chance to hear them out. You’ll not be disappointed. Darko are also present on this amazing compilation with Timepieces And Lock Shaped Hearts. These guys are tearing walls apart as usual and they’re good live as well. One of the few bands who know how to balance technicalities and plain melodies in a proper way. This tune is simply a timeless classic. Lowbrow are closing this comprehensive collection with Escalator To Nowhere and whoever picked this one as a closing track, nailed it right between the eyes. This one possesses each element of the good skatepunk tracks and it gives the overall impression of what’s this compilation is all about. That solo is like a slap in the face…short, but sweet. We Carry The Torch is a pure example of how to assemble a good various artists compilation album and bring all the elements of melodic punk rock to the table. All the bands sound great and the songs picked for this one are pretty much impressive. Somebody should send one of these CDs to Epitaph Records and show them how a couple of those Punk-O-Rama comps should sound alike. Nothing would be possible without Torch Of Hope Records who gathered all the bands together, managed everything and finally published and distributed the final product to the fans of some quality punk rock. This CD is available for only 1$ at the labels bandcamp page, so don’t be too lazy to pick this one up.