12 O'Clock Track: Chain of Strength, "True Till Death"

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This past weekend, 20 years after their split, straightedge hardcore legends Chain of Strength reunited for a pair of shows at the Revelation Records 25th anniversary bash on the east coast. (They actually first reunited at a SoCal studio nearly a month earlier, but that's not really supposed to count.) The band only existed from '88 till '91, but helped define a youth-crew scene cemented by stellar Revelation brethren like Youth of Today and Gorilla Biscuits—not to mention multitudes of Bold T-shirts.

Chain of Strength contributed to the growth of a tough-guy brand of hardcore that evolved into the late-90s scene, with its breakdowns and spin kicks—which intensified both the genre and straightedge. Always up-front with their message—a bluntness reflected by the varsity-letter fonts they used—the band broke up after just two (painfully undermastered) EPs, which were eventually combined for the Revelation-released album, The One Thing That Still Holds True.

Today's 12 O'Clock Track is the crucial title cut from Chain of Strength's first EP, True Till Death.

(I also recommend Vice's entertaining interview with drummer Chris Bratton on the band's early years, the straightedge aesthetic, and Bold T-shirts in fashion.)

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