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March 19, 2010

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CAT # PCD034
CREDITS:
Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by:
Sam Johnson @ Three Phase Studios
Mastered by:
Alan Douches @ West West Side Studios

DRIVEN FEAR – Society’s Finest? CD EP [PCD034]

  • Keep In Check
  • Lessons Learnt
  • Laugh At The Monkeys
  • Wake Up Kid
  • Enough
  • New Beginnings
  • Cut Skin Deep

Driven Fear follow up their '08 release "And The Battle Still Continues..." with this killer EP titled "Society's Finest?". Recorded with Sam Johnson (Mindsnare, 50 Lions and Day Of Contempt) at Three Phase Studios in Melbourne and mastered in New York by Alan Douches at WWS Studios, this EP serves up 7 hard hitting tracks of messaged based punk/hardcore. For fans of: Raised Fist, Ruiner, Comeback Kid & Down To Nothing.

REVIEWS:
ThePunkSite.com [USA]
DRIVEN FEAR - Society's Finest?
Australia’s Driven Fear plays hardcore and punk so close to the line that they blur any good attempt at distinguishing between the two. Instead, as is clear with their latest release, the ironically titled Society’s Finest, this is a band that doesn’t discriminate between camps. Sometimes vocalist Tim reaches deep inside and sets forth all his demons; for others he and his crew scales back their chunky riffs with guitarist Chris assuming a hoarse, weathered streetwise tone. In any case, their influences come and go as they please, making Society’s Finest a punchy album with a mind of its own. As far as lyrics go, Driven Fear certainly takes after its punk lineage. These aren’t angry, self-defeating anthems; no, these are politically fueled rallying cries that strive for social justice. Opener “Keep In Check” kicks off with a challenge for listeners: turn off your societal autopilot and engage that brain. When Tim pipes up and states the obvious, “every action starts with a thought;” it goes without saying that for the next twenty-five minutes listeners have the chance to shed “the fear of what may come,” “let it go,” and ditch the oppression that ultimately disguises itself has daily “choice.” But when it comes to the music, they drench their discontent in pure aggression. Give a listen to “Laugh At The Monkeys” and hear Tim and Chris angrily power through a surprisingly poetic sequence that blends humour with a grim picture of the corporate world’s dehumanizing effects: “see the monkeys run around in their own funny way. It’s so funny cause they keep it going through the day. They live life from pay to pay. They want to keep moving up so they’ll step on you on the way.” Admittedly, this twisted humor could have been an opportune time to employ a little creative license and break out from their strict hardcore path, but that’s more of a personal wish than a true fault. Even so, Society’s Finest has a good bit of variety for what it is. They never dwell on a given tempo too long, nor do they exhaust a given vocal or musical style. Take the shouty gang vocals on “Enough.” When inserted between frenzied outbursts and hardcore raggers, they offer just enough direction to appease punks and hardcore fans alike. Driven Fear is a strong dose of hardcore punk without the pitfalls of a glossy hardcore scene, and benefiting from a punk’s revolutionary view of the world. Society’s Finest is a quick-witted and razor tongued statement. But importantly, it also offers hope. When the album winds down listeners are treated to “New Beginnings,” a track meant to inspire those looking to break free from the corporate machine. With the benefit of hindsight Tim yells hopefully “with clenched fists and a clear head, new beginnings were in sight,” to which he confirms “Love where I’m at. Love where I’m going. Love these new beginnings.” Oddly enough lyrics have become a focal point for this review. For that I can thank the CD’s accompanying liner notes – something I see as essential in a genre that can drown out precision with overbearing emotion. Other bands and labels should take note. Rating: 3.5/5 - Review by: Cole Faulkner

Big Cheese Magazine [UK]
DRIVEN FEAR - Society's Finest?
Impressive energetic mosh action from Down Under. Hailing from Brisbane, Australia, Driven Fear deliver all the energy and aggression you’d expect from a band playing the kind of fast-paced hardcore played by Comeback Kid and the earlier output of fellow Aussies Carpathian. But what really takes this seven-track EP to the next level is the quality of the lyrical content, with thoughtfulness and a positive vibe coursing through ‘Lessons Learn’ and ‘Cut Skin Deep’ that suggests this lot have a bit more to them than your average generic mosh outfit. ‘Laugh At The Monkeys’ isn’t a million miles away from the awesomeness of Down To Nothing either, suggesting they’ll inspire plenty of pit chaos. An EP well worth checking out.
Rating: 4/5 - Review by: Nick Mann

Dying Scene
DRIVEN FEAR - Society's Finest?
I love it when a band from my home town challenges my pre-conceptions and generally kicks ass all over the place. For now, that is Brisbane lads Driven Fear with their latest release Society’s Finest? While hardcore punk has been around for a long time, many modern interpretations come off sounding like they took the worst of both genres into the studio and poorly stuck them together with some cheap ass glue. Not Driven Fear. With Society’s Finest?, they’ve nailed it. In doing so, they’ve avoided the ferocity-killing spotty production that is the downfall of many Australian hardcore bands. Recorded and mixed at Three Phase Studios by Samuel Johnson, you’d be forgiven for thinking they took themselves out of Australia for this result. And, while mastered by Allan Douches at West West Side Mastering in New York, the homegrown focus is something other hardcore bands could emulate. Short of a track-by-track synopsis of the EP, the most important thing to know is the blistering delivery of every single instrument which, as a whole, is fast, furious and impossible to fault. There isn’t a single standout on this record; all are as powerfully driven as the previous and the next. To note a few, opener Keep In Check purveys a strong message about the wrongs in prejudice which is sometimes lost in the ferocity of the overall picture but never any less powerful in its original meaning. Cut Skin Deep, challenges the listener to make the most out of the here and now, the life that one is given. This isn’t just an angry outpouring of meaningless drivel, the whole record strikes a common ground in every part of human society, making the record more than the sum of its songs. There is even a hidden track for those who aren’t so keen as to fast forward back to the start. Society’s Finest? is hard listening from beginning to end but completely effortless at the same time. A worthy listen.
Rating: 4/5

PEE #46
DRIVEN FEAR - Society's Finest?
One of Pee’s latest signings is Brisbane’s Driven Fear. Their track ‘Lessons Learnt’ that featured on last issues sampler disc tickled my fancy and as I set to tracking meself down a copy ,good ol’ Pete chucked one in my pile of review fodder. ‘Society’s Finest’ is an up front shredder. What you first hear is what you get. Solid as hell, straight up no frills hard core. No time needed waiting for it all to unravel and sink in here. This e.p. is what is commonly passed as a full length in punk/ hard core releases. Whilst there are 7 listed tracks , there is also a killer hidden track that follows one of the funniest commentaries that you will ever hear about a band. Bloody priceless. I crack up every time I hear the dude going off. It’s so funny that I enjoy it as much as the tunes. The consistency is maintained throughout as the boys bust out their ball tearing hard core that draws comparison to Aussie stalwarts Against and Toe To Toe and will appeal to fans of fellow Aussies Mark My Words and the ever popular yanks Comeback Kid. With so much energy and an awesome product, scores of converts should be jumping on board. As the dude sums it up, Driven Fear “tear through your shit, kick your ass all over the place “ with “fast drums and guitars that are “ripping and dirty, dirty and shitty, shitty guitars with dirt all over ‘em, fast dirty guitars with shit” and “ heavy bass chords kickin’ ass vibratin’ your shit, superior vocals rippin’ through your fuckin’ heart, tear your chest plate open, spew your guts all over the stage.” There. Get on to it ‘Society’s Finest’ is a cracker.
Rating: 92 - Review By: MACCA

Stereokiller.com [USA]
DRIVEN FEAR - Society's Finest?
For my second helping of Australian hardcore, I’m served up Brisbane’s Driven Fear. Their last release dated back to 2008 and their follow up record, which I was given to review, entitled Society’s Finest? was released back on March 12th of this year. While falling loosely into the same genre, my last Aussie band reviewed, Silverback chugged along at a mid-pace for their majority album only to pick up the pace near the albums conclusion. Driven Fear takes the opposite approach and almost blasts off as if shot from a cannon right from the get-go. Fast and heavy that quickly reminded me of both Ruiner and Raised Fist makes up the majority of the record. Neatly laced throughout the crunchy powerchords is melody that I wouldn’t doubt were inspired by Comeback Kid. There is a level of in your face ferocity that this band is able to achieve and hold onto for the entire length of the EP that really impressed me. You would think that the band would almost exhaust themselves from just writing this type of material but no, they forge on and keep up their endurance throughout. Lyrically the band shows they have certain amount of intelligence. Instead of going the easy routes as most hardcore bands go for and talk about either negativity or brotherhood, Driven Fear does their best job at tackling real situations and giving them a positive spin. Songs like Cut Skin Deep are a prime example of the bands message that in life you must take the bull by the horns, so to speak. My only complaint lies in the layout of the songs. While the energy is admirable it would have best served them to either shorten songs or give the listener a chance to relax from time to time. They play certain parts in measures that seem questionably long and the drummer rarely takes a break from his use of triplets. When the band does decide to change it up a little, it’s almost without fail that the backing vocalist will get his chance to shout. It became pretty predictable rather fast. With those complaints aside, I can easily say that I dug this album. I normally do not gravitate towards this type of fast hardcore but this band energy just seemed to grab me. I won’t listen to it all the time because I feel like I’ll burn myself out on it rather quickly but these songs will make nice editions to my iPod during shuffle time.
Review by: WREN - Rating: 3.5/5

Decoy Music [USA]
DRIVEN FEAR - Society's Finest?
This is an EP that will brutalize you if you give it a chance. Driven Fear are intense as all get out and are not afraid to give you hardcore that will break you. Imagine an amalgamation of the attitude of Down to Nothing with the approach and sound of Raised Fist… and then slam your face into a wall. It’s tough to find hardcore bands that are intense without sounding cliché or generic so it’s an extra special treat to get to hear a band like Driven Fear.
Review by: Rick Gebhardt

Lights Go Out zine #7 [UK]
DRIVEN FEAR - Society's Finest?
Yes it's more epic hardcore from down under on Pee Records. It may not be anything genre breaking but let's be honest, who actually gives a shit? Not me, this is awesome! The gang vocals are spot on, the songs packed with that hardcore power you'd expect to hear. It has a real Bridge 9 sound to it, for fans of bands like Have Heart & Ruiner. Pick of the tracks for me is "Laugh At The Monkeys", seriously impressive stuff, hardcore fans check this out, it's a damn good record! Review by: Mr. T

AMP Magazine #101 [USA]
DRIVEN FEAR - Society's Finest?
More and more it seems that the land down under is breading some of the best hardcore in world and Austalia’s DRIVEN FEAR are certainly contributing to the movement. Their new Ep Society’s Finest? is loaded with speedy, heavy jams, packed with gang vocals. Stand out track “Keep In Check” displays the bands ability to blend melody with blistering drums all while incorporating enough swagger to dance to. Think SICK OF IT ALL meets COMEBACK KID, really fast and really tough. This is a damn good hardcore record, period. Review by (JR)

ISSUE zine #47 [UK]
DRIVEN FEAR - Society's Finest?
Another fantastic dose of Aussie hardcore, a bit heavier and more brutal than TIME HAS COME (reviewed same issue) and dare I say it, it even has a hint of metal about it. Very fast, very angry delivery, with some excellent riffs slashing out at you from the speakers. The vocalist (Tim) is very earnest in his vocals and he has plenty of gang-vocal support, gives you the feeling that you are at a live show - indeed, I wonder if the CD has been recorded 'live' (but not at a show). PEE knows my tastes pretty well by now and this CD is pressing my buttons.

World's Appreciated Kitsch [Greece]
DRIVEN FEAR - Society's Finest?
The 34th release of the Aussie label Pee Records is a blast. To be honest, is one of the best releases Pee Records put out the last years. Driven Fear breath fresh air and confidence for the Australian hardcore / punk scene. Forming in Brisbane 5 years ago, Driven Fear have already released a full length called 'And the battle still continues...' but this 7-song EP captures their current maturity in the best way. Their music is ferocious, fast & furious, heavy hardcore / punk in the vein of Raised Fist, Ruiner and Down To Nothing, with a slight Sick Of It All influence and a few melodic parts like early Good Riddance. The lyrics deal with social / political issues and are really nice yet a bit pessimistic. The production of the record is awesome; Sam Johnson (Mindsnare, 50 Lions and Day Of Contempt) took care of the recordings while Alan Douches (most hype mastering head the last years) did the mastering in West West Side Studios, New York. I really like the attitude of the layout, even though I'd expect a better cover. Go listen to Driven Fear now.

Ox-Fanzine #89 [Germany]
DRIVEN FEAR - Society's Finest?
Down Under is currently really something happening in terms of HC hey export. And for bands like CARPATHIAN, MILES AWAY or 50 LIONS, DRIVEN FEAR are from Brisbane, ready to take more territory for themselves. During their current EP "Society's Finest", the quintet has seven songs long (plus hidden track) finest hardcore-punk, the unlikely bangs and lots of extremely Drive lust for more. I am looking forward immensely to the book now hopefully next album, because with "Society's Finest" have catapulted DRIVEN FEAR in my right into my "Top HC acts to watch" list. Here what has already run powerfully wrong when DRIVEN FEAR are not called soon in the same breath with the likes of THIS IS HELL, RAISED FIST or COMEBACK KID. Rating: 7/10 - Review by: Tim Masson

Q Punx Magazine #4
DRIVEN FEAR - Society's Finest?
Fuck yes. "Society's Finest?" should be the release that pushes Driven Fear's melodic hardcore sound out of Brisbane, and to the people all around Australia, possibly overseas as well. This release sees the band take a more matured view on their writing, both lyrically and musically, compared to their last release "And Still The Battle Continues...". They're growing up and looking to the brighter aspects in life, whether that means changes in yourself or changes in your surroundings. Having traveled overseas to south east Asia in 2008, these fellas have seen a bit of the world and learnt a few life lessons. Their new points of view are expressed in songs "Lessons Learnt" and "Laugh At The Monkeys", with themes like the unimportance of material possessions and taking the simple things in life, that others would consider luxuries, for granted. As for the music, this shit is so fast and tight you could easily mistake it to be something from a band in the 90's. It actually reminds me a lot of the late, but great, Pro Team, and that could never be a bad thing. Ever. Vocalist Tim and guitarist Chris weave in and out of each others lines so efficiently and precise that it never sounds rushed or jumbled, and then gang yells occur at all the right times in the songs. The recording quality is world class, and should definitely be something the guys will still be proud of in many years to come. Over all, the 7 songs will not only be your soundtrack while skateboarding this weekend , but still be a stable Aussie melodic hardcore punk release 10 years from now. "Society's Finest?" isn't breaking the mould, but it's a youthful, positive release that is good enough to show the old timers that the genre is far from dead. They have heaps of shows coming up so make sure you try to get to one and support these guys.
Review by: XJAN - Rating: 10/11

BLUNT Issue #88
DRIVEN FEAR - Society's Finest?
Given the relative inactivity of Against and Third Strike, it would be an easy assumption that Brisbane's once thriving hardcore scene has encountered some kind of a creative lull. Not to be deterred by the sea of keyboard driven acts that surround them, relative newcomers Driven Fear have put together this tidy seven-track effort that blends the metallic ferocity of Raised Fist with the more melodic elements of Comeback Kid. Despite the end result being far from original, theirs is a sound that is instantly enjoyable. Songs such as "Keep In Check" are heavy without venturing into breakdown territory while cuts like "Enough" and "New Beginnings" showcase Driven Fear's obvious love of acts such as Good Riddance and other mid-'90 stalwarts.
Review by: Peter North - Rating: 3.5/5

Rave Magazine
DRIVEN FEAR - Society's Finest?
Honorable Mentions. Sneaky Brisbane hardcore band pop out of the bushes with some Raised Fist style excellence. Kick-ass!
Review by: Patrick Perrier

BlackMunk
DRIVEN FEAR - Society's Finest?
Back in the days of shows at the Lions Den, Brisbane hardcore kids were sweating their arses off to Against, Wish For Wings, Just Say Go and many more. With those days in the past, one might ask themselves who is keeping the Brisbane torch alive. That would be Driven Fear. Who just released their latest EP ‘Society’s Finest?’, out on Pee Records. Driven Fear have been hard at work creating a release that enables them to hold their chins up high and put the challenge out there to every other band. Being bred from the Northcoast Hardcore scene Driven Fear are not about to waste anyone’s time. ‘Society’s Finest?’ is pure, wholehearted, punk music with strong messages. ‘Lessons Learnt’ is a song that hardcore heroes Comeback Kid might want to steal for their next album. After listening to ‘Laugh At The Monkeys’ the song makes it very hard not to picture the suits walking past you as animals. Lets hope that song helps at least one person wake up. Driven Fear deliver their songs fast, hard, precise and with purpose. Second last track ‘New Beginnings’, will inspire their fans to look forward. They save their most diverse song for last, ‘Cut Skin Deep’. This song slows everything down from their usual onslaught. A nice surprise for any fan is the addition of a hidden track and it is one that you will find yourself constantly fast forwarding towards. Driven Fear’s ‘Society’s Finest?’ does not disappoint. Driven Fear have created a punk/hardcore release that sets the benchmark for the rest of the up and coming bands. Having already shared the stage with the likes of The Ghost Inside, Toe To Toe and Against, the future looks brighter than ever. Driven Fear have established a standard that many bands will fail to ever reach. Recommended Song ‘Laugh At The Monkeys’
Rating: 9/10

Bombshellzine.com
DRIVEN FEAR - Society's Finest?
Brisbane hardcore lads Driven Fear are today's 'Whats In The Box?' feature CD. Their sensational new EP 'Society's Finest' hits stores this Friday, and if you like your hardcore, then this is one to get your hands on for sure.
So the first thing I pretty much did after listening to this EP for the first time, is gave myself a few solid uppercuts. Unless my memory is hazy and i've totally forgotten something, this my first time hearing of this band, and given they have been active for a while, I'm the one who's been missing the fuck out. Hands down the best Australian hardcore release I have heard in quite a while, and an especially refreshing break from all the hard(ly)core bands claiming similar influences / sounds like's... So I've since made up for lost time and almost worn this sucker out the past week. They've nailed every aspect of it, from the artwork to the production, I'd go as far to say that the production of this one is better than a heap of international bands with ten times the budget. They may not have their heads in the glossy mags or a tidal wave of hype behind them, but they don't need any of that shit, the music speaks for itself, and if you like straight up hardcore punk, then get your hands on this EP. Fingers crossed we hear a lot more from the band this year, they deserve to be heard, someone throw them on a tour with Toe To Toe or Sick Of It All pronto. No highlights, the whole thing is blazin'.
Review by: Bomber

NewsHit
DRIVEN FEAR - Society's Finest?
Smart is not a word that most people would usually associate with modern hardcore punk bands. Indeed, merely mentioning an interest in the genre is usually enough to warrant snobbery from those who think that Hatebreed represent the epitome of the musical style. Never fear however, because Driven Fear are here to break the mould by delivering blistering punk beats with lyrical content that will make you think and want to fight against societal wrongs. Their latest EP, Society’s Finest?, is set for release in March and will serve as their debut on Australia’s very own Pee Records. If one were looking for a concise description of Driven Fear, it is hard to look past other similarly heavy bands like Ruiner and Raised Fist. Considerable comparison can also especially be made between Society’s Finest? and Toe To Toe’s classic EP Old Scores, New Glories, with both raging through just over half a dozen songs in about twenty minutes. Every song is propelled by rocket-like drums and crunchy power chords, with suitably pissed off singing attempting to convey a message. It is true that the message sometimes gets lost in the mix, so it is critically important to read the lyrics. In particular, “Keep In Check” and “Cut Skin Deep” are quite powerful; the former rails against prejudice of all kinds, while the latter is a positive song encouraging the listener to make the most of life. It’s all good stuff, especially considering the pessimistic and self-indulgently apathetic messages that mainstream rock has been conveying lately following the popularisation of emo music. Hopefully more bands will follow the example set by bands like Driven Fear and start singing about the real world again, because I am getting awfully sick of having to listen to songs about black parades, sexy bitches and disco sticks. While Driven Fear have already undertaken a number of tours both within Australia and throughout South East Asia on the back of their previous EP And The Battle Still Continues..., it looks certain that Society’s Finest? will only serve to increase this young band’s fanbase. Keep an eye out for these guys, because even though they hail from Queensland, their new status as a Pee Records band will most likely be bringing them to Melbourne some time soon.Review by: Matthew Woodward

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