As I received a digital copy of the album via Contra Records, I thought: Oh god, a french band called 'ANGRY VETS', advertised as Youth Crew Hardcore and they're behind enemies lines, please, not another Euro HC band trying to be tough and pretending, they have an ongoing struggle over Baguettes and table wine.
It may sounds judgemental but beside Stephen's 'KICKBACK', the 'SEEKERS OF THE TRUTH' or 'STORMCORE', I wouldn't think of Hardcore and France at the same time. Well, I was wrong, very wrong and I openly admit it. Sorry guys for having not the faith in you before I played the songs of your album.
Since the end of the 90's and after the 'golden era' of Hardcore, I was not often surprised by a new band. Just before the millennium, after Hardcore was mostly Post-Hardcore, 'FLOORPUNCH' took me in storm, they kicked ass and started a new era of Youth Crew HC. After the millennium, HC turned into Metal-Core and I couldn't connect at all. Than, in 2011 and out of nowhere, 'VIOLENT REACTION' appeared and the Brits brought Oi back into Hardcore and they blew my mind like 'JUDGE' did back in the days. What a revelation! Now I can say, in 2016 and thanx to those fellow veterans, I was again taken by surprise. The songs are like an assault, short, angry and full of energy. Just play this record and through their music as well as the voice of the singer, you'll experience despair and frustration in their rawest form. Listen to "Hate Back" or "Dead Forever" and the despise they're spitting out against people who are giving in or gave up over the years attacks you through your speaker system. All the songs appear from the turn table like a wrecking ball, like a tsunami hitting the shore, gritty, aggravated and pissed off. There is no loser on this record. While they blow your adrenalin and anger through the roof, you just want to start a riot right away and a circle pit in your living room. It's like you're overdosed by Ritalin. In the songs there are great bass lines, awesome breaks, sing alongs and lyrics you can easily connect to. Their music is full of references and influences by bands like YOUTH OF TODAY, WARZONE or the 'MAGS'. Their set foundation is in the past, that's for sure, but the whole record sound fresh, vital and full of "Fire". Therefore, I thought, why do they call themself 'VETS'? After some internet research I found out, those parisian guys played prior in 'HARD X TIMES', 'VALUE DRIVEN', 'CUT LOOSE', 'FIRST FAILURE' and surprise surprise in 'LION'S LAW' too. Now I understood also the great blend of Oi in the songs. I can't wait to see them live cuz there will be blood on the dance floor.
So what can I say about this album? Well, 2016 is a great year for Hardcore in general due to a lot of HC veterans returned "From The Ashes" into the studio and onto the stages. Like 'WORLD BE FREE', OC's 'LAST LIGHT' or NJ's 'SEARCH', just to name a few, with the 'VETS' album "Behind Enemy Lines" you'll get a brilliant HC record with the flair of the good old days. For their debut, the VETS are getting thumbs up and 10 out of 10 points from me.