Album Review :
XREDLINEX - Tongue Tied

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Label: Steadfast Records
Release Date: March 25, 2024


  1. Tongue Tied
  2. Ward of the State
  3. Pennies on the Dollar
  4. Gatekeeper
  5. 11th Hour
  6. Straight Ahead
  7. Brace for the Edge

xREDLINEx is somewhat of a supergroup, from the DIY/independent hardcore scene, featuring ex-members of Zao, 2Minute Minor, October Bird of Death, Blindside (the one from Chicago, not Sweden or Pennsylvania), and several others. The music on Tongue Tied features a throwback sound that is a mixture of late 80s hardcore and mid-90s metallic hardcore. Unlike 2Minute Minor, there is not a strong punk presence, and while there is no metalcore whatsoever, there are some clearly metallic riffs a la 90s ‘chugga chugga’ style hardcore.

That’s all cool in my book as that’s one of my favorite subgenres of hardcore, and there seems to be a real lack of the style is the current scene. This EP rips through 7 songs in right around 14 minutes, and should appeal to fans of Dodgin’ Bullets, xDisciplex A.D., Shockwave, and early Focused.

Lyrically, the band are less blatantly ‘positive hardcore’ than some of the members’ previous efforts. And while they aren’t necessarily negative either, there are some harshly realistic looks at strained family relationships, like in the title track:

You wore out your welcome
With this family tree
I beg you not to look at me this way
I scream until there’s nothing left to say
I could plead to you my case
But I don’t think it f*cking matter anyway

There’s some real anger being exercised and processed here. “Straight Ahead” deals with hurt and betrayal at the hands of a friend:

I tried to find a way
To see it from your side
Can’t hide the fact
That I was willing to swallow my pride
My friend I lost ground
Giving you one more chance
Time’s come to face the truth
Make your final stance

Corruption in politics is another lyrical target here, or at least disastrous economic policies, like on “Pennies on the Dollar:”

Body bags fill the streets
Children feeding off disease
Working class compromised
Displaced running from their minds
Sirens flare, be prepared
Mad treason has arrived

“11th Hour” (with its clear hint at biblical imagery) wrestles with the seriousness of faith, but struggling—whether with personal doubt or the corruption of others, we’re not sure—with the bigger questions of how to live out faith in less-than-ideal world:

Keep holding faith
Keep wanting to believe
Your reasons and your answers
Have led me far astray
How much can one take?
To what end must one reach?
Looking deep inside
To where it finally breathes

In many ways, this is an uncomfortable record, especially if you are familiar with some of the band members’ previous work. We don’t have any straightforward faith statements or even posi-core anthems. In their place we have honest struggles with relationships, real questions of doubt in the midst of trying to maintain faith.

There are plenty of gang vocals and tasty riffs to go around, even despite the heavy subject matter, but even so they sting a little. I can’t see a pile-on for unity in the scene while digging through such heavy subject matter. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just the result of exorcising one’s figurative demons in such a way.

Digital download can be purchased at:
Physical release can be found here:

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