Hot Topic – Sub City – Hopeless Records
This slick two-disc set consists of both a DVD and CD — listen to one on your car stereo and watch the other on your iPod. Not a bad concept for the 21st compilation of over a dozen bands. The music here is amazingly consistent — if you love one song, you’ll adore the whole disc, and if the first song isn’t your cup of tea, best to mosey along. Chiodos open with “The Words Best Friend Become Redefined.” It’s an amalgam of heavy metal and post-’90s punk — loud, chunky guitar chords, growling back-up vocals, and the occasional slow patch that almost suggests “We ARE sensitive, if things weren’t so screwed up.”
The videos on the DVD are all high-quality little films — cleverly thought out, slickly executed, and fully supportive of the music. It’s almost like the ghost of MTV past came back and said “Hey, guys, can we make music videos again? They were fun to haunt.” The Silverstein video for “If You Could See Into My Soul” is a nice little bank robbery/ hostage fantasy, Escape The Fate does a nice “Hot for Teacher” rip off, and As I Lay Dying hangs their brink of headbanging around a retro-future science-fiction story.
Musically, these bands are angry, guttural, and intellectual. Visually they couple with some of the best videographers working and present slick, well-crafted pieces of entertainment. Socially, five percent of the profits go to Hot Topic which supports up-and coming-bands. Grab this disc; it’s still not too late to bang your head in the 21st century.