Classic Album Review

“Manic Ride” by BL’AST!: Reissue of a Hardcore Punk Classic

Hailing from the far reaches of… Santa Cruz, California is the band, BL’AST!. They are a hardcore punk band that was active during the epoch of Black Flag, and BL’AST! Is picking up steam again. 

Manic Ride” is the remastering and release of an album that was unsatisfactory for the band members originally, but now that it has been re-done, it can be loved by all (Source is BL’AST!’s Bandcamp page).  For previous album remasters, BL’AST has worked with notable artists like Dave Grohl and Corrosion of Conformity (source is Southern Lord).

After forming in 1982, BL’AST! made music as a group for about 7 years then quit. They were influential among punk rockers and early hardcore enthusiasts, but their breakup helped them die quietly in the background of punk rock. They’ve since come back from the dead multiple times to make new music with new band members (source Southern Lord). 

“Manic Ride” is their most recent project, which was re-released in March 2023. Besides the sick cover art by Justin Forbes (as stated by an Idioteq article), I was drawn to this album because it comes from a revered influential hardcore punk band. 

“Manic Ride” – Hold on…

BL’AST!’s work and the entire team’s work on this album is phenomenal. It sounds really beautiful and I can tell a ton of work and love has been put into this project to make it sound as good as it does. 

These tracks are pretty lengthy for a punk band (most tracks are over four minutes long) and feature heavy guitar, drums and thick vocals. It’s a step back into the original punk era sounds with plenty of reimagined sounds too. 

The most notable tracks to me are:

Overdrive” – a fast-paced track focused on facing annihilation.

Out Of Alignment” – a neat song about being an outsider in a world against you (very classic punk theme of course).

Powerize” – this one is a little more electronic sounding with a neat opening guitar that left me trembling throughout the whole song. 

Look Inside” – this track is the longest on the album and again opens with some deep, bassy drums (like “Out of Alignment”). It’s about being drained and feeling worn down and angry about it. 

Overall this album is pretty neat. At the moment it won’t be my go-to hardcore punk release, as there are so many excellent releases from the 1980’s and beyond to enjoy, but I love the feelings exuded throughout the album. I need to sit and listen to this album even more for it to potentially blossom into a new-found favorite.