Recording information: The Blasting Room, Fort Collins, CO.
Photographers: Pete Saporito; Stacie Stevenson; Michelle Dosson.
Only Crime aren't reinventing anything on their sophomore outing, Virulence, not that the band really seems to be trying. The record is basically 12 tracks of standard-issue melodic hardcore that is as aggressive as it is easy to sing along and pump a fist to in the pit. On the surface that's not a bad thing -- the record certainly hits hard where it needs to and the topical lyrics are that Russ Rankin sociopolitical mix of tenderness and incensed bitterness -- but because the bandmembers' individual pedigrees are so notable (Good Riddance, Descendents, Bane, GWAR, etc., etc.), one's instinctively got to expect a bit more from Only Crime than just being good. This record should be great, especially considering that the guys have now been playing together for a few years. Tracks like "Take Me" and "Too Loose" are blistering doses of guitar-driven fury, and though songs like these are generally the rule, Only Crime also show some relative flexibility with more pop-oriented cuts like "Shotgun" and the candid angst of "Just Us." The passion behind Rankin's weathered vocals makes tracks bleed urgency, and this fervor is supported excellently by the super tight and engaging playing of the rest of the band. But that said, there's still something missing that keeps Virulence from really standing out among its hardcore peers. This is a good record, and one that will sufficiently satisfy listeners craving some SoCal hardcore in the new millennium. And though it's true that most albums in this genre aren't so markedly different from one another, even calling this album solid still seems a minor disappointment when considering what Only Crime should be capable of. ~ Corey Apar
Alternative Press (p.112) - "Half of VIRULENCE's material strikes with such a convincing punch that you truly believe the all-star cast could single-handedly resuscitate '80s hardcore."
Kerrang (Magazine) (p.48) - "[T]heir second album meets a halfway point between the crunch of hardcore and the smooth exterior of pop-punk."