Raffy Reviews - Cold Hard Truth: 'Intimidation'

Face-punching, growling beatdown with loads of familiar hostile vibes and a continuation of guitar-heavy tough guy tunes

Feb. 3, 2020


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Cold Hard Truth happens to be a band that I've covered quite in depth a while back on the site. In terms of their general, almost brutal instrumental aesthetic and the foreboding hardcore vocals, I've only ever had really positive things to say about this UK-based beatdown outfit. And, ever since their late 2000s inception, the domineering five piece have thus far put out three full-length releases that could be juxtaposed with the riffs, vox and sound of other British hardcore acts like Knuckledust as well as the likes of some NYHC artists such as Full Blown Chaos and Incendiary. The last two were really solid, so I went in hoping this one would be the same and, well...it pretty much is just that (you'll have to read on to find out what I mean). Intimidation is the third album and it's got eleven tracks of beatdown madness via Rucktion Records. So let's discuss.



The album sets off on a rather smooth and slow start with a bunch of EDM beats and background audio samples for a couple of minutes, which is pretty much just the same tune taken from the start of the 'Intimidation' music video and lengthened. It's not the worst beginning to a beatdown composition, but it just feels kinda unneccesary in the grand scheme and got old quick. It's not what I came in to hear, but it's a bit of relaxation right before the brutality, which is hit or miss. The main single and focus track 'Intimidation' is arguably one of the stronger aspects of this release. The intro verse and riff buildups to all the slams near the end and tough guy stuff really had me for a ride. It's a track that is odd in the fact that there's not much to say about it, but it's still catchy and edgy as hell, which makes me want to revisit it every time. Also, the next couple of songs, particularly 'Line of Fire', follow the same formula and are all brief in length, but the main riff and progression in 'Silver or Lead' gave me a ton of oldschool deathcore feels as well as some Desolated vibes due to the outro slamming breakdown which hits really damn hard. 


The other sorta unique (I guess for lack of a better word) thing regarding Intimidation is that certain tracks have a full on beatdown sound while others possess structures more in-line with like early metallic hardcore material or even deathcore, too. 'Line of Fire' really shows off the latter with the droning, chugging open note breakdowns that lead to catchy as hell slowdowns that just make you wanna mosh like crazy as well as the more eclectic Gothenburg-esque riffs. Overall, the production quality is really great, definitely as good as previous material from Cold Hard Truth and all mixing is on point, which helps more instrumentally finicky songs like 'Murder Capital' stand out. I also enjoy the brief audio samples taken from films that make an appearance here and there, as they add an ominous sort of ambiance to the buildup. The other really solid thing about this album lies within the relentless, towering growls and edgy spoken word vox, which shine through in the album's first half especially.


Most of the aspects of Intimidation are really destructive and aggressive in a good way and create a solid and appropriately intimidating sound. However, there are some things I'd do without, such as the short filler track in the album's second half. There are some guest spots here and there in addition to some subtle, experimental moments like a little acoustic ending riff with some studio effects in one song and an instrumental intro in 'Fenside Limepit'. Some of these are hit or miss and I do wish the guest spots had more to them. However, as this release stands, it really is solid and strong in both vocal performance and beatdown riff writing as the previous two were. Despite this, there were some "deja vu" like moments that felt recycled and a bit too much like the last album or so. Though I appreciate the slams and breakdowns all over the place, which always hit just the right amount for me.



Intimidation is an effort that is both vocally daunting and instrumentally bold with just the right amount of face-punching beatdown riffs and growling hostility to keep hardcore-oriented listeners around for its half hour or so running time. It's still got those familiar tones of the band's previous work and, while it's nothing we haven't heard prior, it's still a welcome continuation of a beloved, if brazen sound. Let's put it this way, if you liked the last two, then you'll surely enjoy this one just the same.


Fave Tracks: 'Intimidation', 'Silver or Lead', 'I Know Where You Live'

For Fans Of: All Out WarDesolatedKnuckledust

**This release is available now here!**



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-Review by: Dave Raffy

Musician, reviewer, fan & promoter


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