Hardcore music is a lifestyle. It is not a musical form for the faint of heart or for weekend warriors. Rather, true hardcore kids leave, eat, sleep, and breathe hardcore and use the style as a soundtrack to otherwise banal days. However, an interest of solely aggro music and little else outside the realm of brutal power-chords can not only be limiting, it can quite simply be boring. Death Threat, easily one of the most urgent, ferocious bands under the hardcore umbrella, are clearly in for the long haul. One listen to “Peace and Security,” their debut full length and one gets the feeling that these Connecticut boys are pissed off dudes who are very well versed in hardcore history from the Cro-Mags onward. However, their new record, “For God and Government,” clearly shows the band growing past the often narrow minded hardcore mindset of core, core, and nothing but core. This time around singer Aaron Butkus—the life’s blood of Death Threat—brings us a stronger, more powerful, and (dare I say?) more fun album than the American hardcore scene has witnessed in some time.
Following 2000’s release of “Peace and Security” Death Threat was headed for big things. Continuous touring with internationally acclaimed acts like Blood for Blood, Vision of Disorder, Agnostic Front, and Hatebreed, the band was quickly establishing itself as one of the premier hardcore bands in the nation, and one of the biggest hardcore groups in the northeast. The music was intense, the sound was punishing, and the kids absolutely gobbled the stuff up.
After Death Threat’s original drummer quit the band, Aaron found himself with the most arduous task of replacing not only his time-keeper but also finding a permanent bassist as well (CJ had played guitar and bass tracks on “Peace and Security”). Then, under the strain of touring, CJ informed Aaron that he was parting ways with what was left of Death Threat—at this point the singer and whoever he could get to come on tour with him, which included a who’s who of New England aggro music. Thus, Death Threat lost its main songwriter and co-founder. The future for Death Threat looked bleak, ironically just as they were achieving the goals to many other bands only dream of.
Not one to quit on something this good, Aaron assembled another crew of musicians to back him for tours around the country over the next few months—including a spot on the European stint of the Unity Tour featuring Agnostic Front—as well as record another album for Triple Crown Records. Thus, Death Threat is back, having expanded their gaze past hardcore and onto the broader spectrum of punk rock, and created what is sure to be one of the best aggressive rock and roll records of 2002. “For God and Government” is harsh, driving, and urgent, but at the same time catchy and just melodic enough to be humble. Hardcore for the hardcore? Definitely. But, this record is sure to move well beyond the genre and appeal to a much wider audience with just a bit of exposure.