Over a decade ago, Pennsylvania was considered a powerhouse in the hardcore community. With bands like Mushmouth, Strength For A Reason, Shockwave, Disciple, Punishment, and Dysphoria it was hard for any state that wasn’t NY to give us a real run for our money. Then for whatever reason, the Pennsylvania scene took a nose dive. With the exception of a handful of bands, Philadelphia’s Blacklisted was the heavyweight PA flag bearer. Then came Wisdom In Chains who has taken over the entire hardcore world like a wrecking ball on a mission. While WIC has taken over as the godfather’s of the PA scene, there are a lot of youthful bands emerging that are proving to be some serious contenders. Rock Bottom, Steel Nation, Benchpress, and Menace are on some sort of tour de force to set the record straight that Pennsylvania is here to stay as one of the premier states for hardcore music.

Central PA’s Menace came literally out of nowhere. Releasing a demo in early of 2012, these cats didn’t waste any time in getting right to the point with their debut EP, Agony. I had heard the name mentioned many times and saw it appear on a ton of fliers but kind of just chalked them up as another run of the mill band that would fade away before ever venturing out of their hometown. Boy was I wrong. Dead wrong.

Cut from the same cloth as bands like Strife and Terror, Menace plays a thrash meets skate punk style of hardcore. There are obviously some metal influences in there as the main riff for the song Afterlife sounds like a thrown out Slayer riff and the opening of Infected was easily inspired by directly by the song South Of Heaven. Instead of wasting time with open chord chug breakdowns, they opted to include chords and notes during the parts meant for dancefloor domination. It’s a breath of fresh air when most other heavy hardcore bands take the easy (and boring) road.

To find out where this band came from, I dove headfirst into the demo. While that disc is pretty decent, Menace really came into their own with this EP. The song structures are better, it’s vocally more cohesive, and the material is massive in comparison to its early counterpart. Chock full of sing-alongs, Agony proves also to be a much more fun record to listen to.

As someone that is constantly on the prowl for that standout act, Menace is definitely hitting the spot. They take a familiar sound and refresh it. For anyone that is in search of a seriously solid hardcore record, look no further than Agony. Grab the disc now and learn the words because these kids are making big strides. I’m sure they will be in your hometown soon.