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1998: New York's post apocalyptic urban metal warriors All Out War follow up their 'Truth In The Age Of Lies' LP with their Victory debut, 'For Those Who Were Crucified'. A monumental release and one that should've blown the doors wide open for the band and the select few who came before them. But something happened and despite touring in support of the record the band fell off the face of the earth never to be heard from again. . . right? Well that's what I thought as well, but I'm glad I was wrong. 2003 saw the return of All Out War and with them comes 'Condemned To Suffer', the first new album in five years, and the second you put it on you remember how fucking good this band is and always will be. I spoke to vocalist Mike Score from his home and here's what he had to say.

MIDWEST METAL: I'd like to start with, where the hell have you been!?! I mean, the last thing I remember was the record in 1998 and then. . .

MIKE SCORE: Well we actually toured a lot in support of the record. The initial touring was good and then we got our equipment stolen in Chicago. I mean, everything was gone, and that really fucked us bad and took the momentum out of the 'Crucified. . .' album. We weren't able to tour again until the spring of 1999 because we just didn't have the money to replace everything. I think Victory paid for one head, but that was it. It all had to come from us. So we all went back to work and saved just like every other white-trash scummy metal band. So, we had to come up with all new equipment. We had to fix the windows in the van because those got smashed out, which was more money we didn't have. By the time we got back on our feet, like I said, the momentum was gone, but we went out anyway. We went out with Buried Alive, then Shadows Fall, then a Cro-Mags tour and a Dying Fetus tour and a few headlining runs and that took us until 2001. In 01 we were on our way to the New England Metal And Hardcore fest and on the ride up I told the guys, "Fuck this, I'm not doing this shit anymore, that's it." I just couldn't relate to any of the kids anymore. I hated the bands coming out at the time and I never wanted be some bullshit trendy fucking nerd, kissing up to metal or hardcore bands. I was tired of all the games and that shit was never going to happen and I was just tired. So we played the show, it was awesome, and after the show I didn't talk to the guys for like two years.

MM: Damn, just like that, huh?

MS: Yeah, pretty much. So what happened was our friend Frank who played in Confusion passed away last summer in a motorcycle accident and Rich from Darkside wanted to do a show at CB's like a memorial. So they wanted all the bands that were around in the Early 90's, that were friends with Frank, to play. So the show was going to be us, Merauder, Confusion, Starkweather, Darkside and then Next Step Up was going to come in from Baltimore and I really wanted to be a part of this. So, I called up the guys and let them know about it, we got together and did the show, and it was a lot of fun and great to see a lot of old friends. Right after that show some guy from Houston heard we were back together and offered to fly us down there to do one show, which we did. And then we just started writing. Recently we did a short run with Ringworm which was cool and we're still writing, trying to finish up writing a new record because right now everything is really clicking as far as writing.

MM: How about shows?

MS: Well, they're few and far between. I mean, we're not driving to fucking North Carolina for pizza and gas money, you know? I mean, what the fuck? We just can't do that. I feel a little bad, but financially I just can't!

MM: So what did you do during your two years away?

MS: I went to college, tried to rebuild all the money I lost doing the band for all these years. . . but I have to say something, no matter what I sound like I'm not bitter! I had a great time and have been doing the band for well over ten years, but I'm getting older and I needed some money in the bank and did what I had to do.

MM: Now I read you're teaching. . .

MS: Yeah, I teach 9th grade history and 12th grade government and it's a lot of fun, they all know about the band. . .

MM: No shit? Really?

MS: Oh yeah, it's cool, they come to shows and everything.

All Out War

MM: How weird is that?

MS: It's really weird! (laughing)

MM: I've got to say, that's pretty cool. I mean, if I had a teacher who walked it liKe he talked it, I could see that being something very cool.

MS: Yeah, I agree and I tell them how it is. I try to tell them what they need to do and you know what? I was a fucking fuckup in school. I'll admit it! So I will tell them, it's a lot easier if they don't do what I did. I mean, it took me forever to get my shit together and now I'm paying for it. And I know people are going to read this interview and say, "What a dick, what a sellout" or whatever, but who the fuck cares! I've lived in the shittiest of places and there's nothing glamorous or "true" about waking up one day and realizing you're XX years old and you don't have jack shit!

MM: So before regrouping, were you missing the band, missing the release it provides?

MS: Oh yeah, totally, which is why we're back. Plus this has been the most fun I've had doing the band in a very long time - kind of like when we first started - and do you know what I owe it all to? It's because we truly don't give a fuck. We write what we want to write, we do what we want when we want, and I'll get up on stage and say exactly what I want to say. If these kids don't like it, they can fuck off, because I don't care what they think. The scene that exists is not the scene I was ever involved in. This is nothing like the scene I grew up in. This is all spoiled brat shit - like the "in crowd" that existed in High School now exist in the hardcore scene and that's why the scene sucks. I mean, when I got involved, it was like the land of misfit toys - where all the fuckups went and belonged, where you either couldn't or wouldn't relate to anything else. And if you were this type of person you were either in the metal scene or the hardcore scene and now it's kids who relate to the mainstream life and choose to be involved with this.

MM: When you were away doing your own thing, were you still going to shows?

MS: I went and saw Kreator or Destruction or any older metal or hardcore band like Blood For Blood or Madball, but I stayed away for the most part.

MM: How do you see the business side of things now - the label and all that?

MS: The label is fine. They're into the band and they really want us to tour, but the problem we have is the same problem we had when everything shut down, which is this: everyone we deal with, from the label to the booking agents, they're both supposed to be "looking out for us," right? Well neither one is understanding what we want. Neither is listening to us, and it just pisses us off. I mean, do we want to be a working band? Yes. Do we want to tour eleven months per year? No. What we want to do is play weekend shows, and when I'm off of work, tour as much as we can, but not go on indefinite tours. This is for a few reasons. One, it's not economically feasible, and second, we don't really think it does anything for the band - well not as much. Put it this way, we did non-stop touring and we didn't feel it was worthwhile for the band.

MM: I think that's being totally realistic. Some bands tour forever and something good happens - a band like Shadows Fall. Then again, there's other bands that never stop touring and don't achieve shit.

MS: There's "good" for certain bands and that depends on what they want their off time to be like - are they married? do they want to get married or something like that? - because that's a huge difference - or do they need to have an apartment or are they homeowners?

MM: Do you think a band like All Out War is just too abrasive to achieve something like Shadows Fall, tons of road work or not?

MS: I agree with you there. We and tons of other bands are just too extreme for that to happen.

MM: Well, let's move on to the new record 'Condemned To Suffer'. Reading through the credits, it's like a who's who of ex-members with writing credits. So, besides the All Out War staple "Destined To Burn", is this all new material?

MS: (laughing) We put that song on here because Jesse, who's been the drummer of the band for the longest amount of time, but who's the only All Out War drummer never to record the song. . .

MM: How about on the. . .

MS: No, on the 7" it appears on, Jesse is credited for it, but it was Joe from Darkside who recorded it. But the rest of the songs, for instance, "Hypocrites of the Revolution" was written right about the time 'For Those. . .' was released. Now it was written by Andy who plays bass on this album, he was our guitarist for all the touring we did on the '. . .Crucified' album. Andy's been in the band for years. So yeah, there's a lot of names on the record, and, to be honest, I was always planning on putting out this record, regardless of who was going to be on it! I just had so many ideas that I had a lot of people help with these ideas. Lou Medina from Breakdown - anything that sounds hardcore-ish is stuff Lou wrote.

All Out War - Condemened to Suffer CD Cover

MM: How important was it to come out with a classic All Out War sounding album? I mean, a few years on, some bands evolve or de-evolve and it can be disappointing. 'Condemned To Suffer' is 100% All Out War.

MS: Very important! We've been a band since 1991 and when I hear people say we ripped off some crappy band I've never even heard of, I get pissed off. All this talk that goes on about bands ripping off other bands, I need to get this off my chest, Starkweather is the foundation for all the shit these people are listening to.

MM: Do these bands even have the balls to admit it?

MS: No, not at all, even the bands that know they're ripping Starkweather off left and right get out and say they're influenced by them. There are a lot of phonies who take credit for that sound and it sucks. I just think it's a shame. Starkweather did all that work for all those years and get absolutely no credit for it.

MM: Now that the record is out, do you feel the need to go out and show bands what All Out War is all about again? Is there any bitterness to the legions of shitty metalcore bands?

MS: The only bitterness is I don't give a fuck. . . We wrote a record we like. We hung out and wrote it and didn't bend it one bit to appeal to anyone. We don't fit in, we never fit in, and we'll just continue to do what we do. I mean, if you like what we do, great - if not, that's even better.


review of All Out War 'Condemned To Suffer'






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