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December 11, 2009

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CAT # PCD032
CREDITS:
Recorded by: Mirko Ravaglia @ The Temple of Noise Studios
Mixed by: Christian Ice @ The Temple of Noise Studios
Mastered by: Alan Douches @ West West Side Studios
Artwork by: Giuseppe Garau

STRENGTH APPROACH – All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail CD [PCD032]

  • Anthem For A Wasted Generation
  • All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail
  • The Alarm
  • Minus One
  • Forked Tongue
  • The Outsider Song
  • Far From Glory
  • In A Broken Stereo
  • It’s Not Pessimistic Just Realistic
  • Every End Has A Start
  • Die Alone
  • Just A Simple Plan
  • My Life Is A Side Project
  • We Are The Guilty
  • I’d Rather Fall On My Own Mistakes Than Have You Bring Me Down To Yours
  • Dead Wrong
  • Rise Above*
  • Pushed Too Far**

Italian hardcore quintet Strength Approach have been tearing apart the European h/c scene for over ten years and toured Australia for the first time with this special Aussie release that features 3 new bonus tracks (which include a Black Flag* and a Sick Of It All** cover). For fans of Sick Of It All, Minor Threat and Kid Dynamite.

REVIEWS:
Suspect Device Zine [UK]
STRENGTH APPROACH - All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail
For some reason when I put this on I’d already decided I wouldn’t like it, and I have no idea why. I already knew of this band, but something in my mind was telling me that I would be disappointed with this; well, that something in my mind was wrong. There’s a strong NYHC vibe here, but there’s a melodic punk rock edge to the songs that I like, and if you need a pointer, the most obvious comparison would be Sick Of It All, but the band that keeps springing to my mind is Kill Your Idols, although I’m not sure that Strength Approach really sound like them very much, but there’s definitely something of that sound here. It’s nice to be wrong about a release, and a band. This version of the album includes three bonus tracks including Black Flag and Sick Of It All covers. Review by: Tony

Decoy Music [USA]
STRENGTH APPROACH - All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail
It has been about one year now since I started writing for Decoy. If you've read my previous reviews, you will come to find that I normally stay within the lines of hardcore. Well this year will start off no different. One of my first tasks of 2010 is to review Italy’s own, Strength Approach. To those unfamiliar in the international hardcore scene, you should probably get with the program. These Romans are doing what many nowadays fail hard at: mix new school with old school. Strength Approach takes the styling of Sick Of It All and Kid Dynamite and mixes it in with some Comeback Kid and With Honor. The recipe, in my opinion, creates one hell of a hardcore album, and it’s all displayed on All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail. From start to finish the intensity is never lost on this album. Raw, pure and heartfelt… and all clocking in at around thirty minutes. These fifteen tracks never lose touch with the heart of what hardcore is supposed to be: anthem fueled tracks. All of which make for great crowd participation, and it seems to be a very common occurrence displayed on this disk which is best demonstrated during “The Alarm”. The vocals on this album bring are at the forefront of the band's already gigantic sound. It’s not very often that you hear a punk or hardcore album have the sound this one does. “I’m Not Pessimistic, Just Realistic” possesses the liveliness of a classic Roman, steed driven chariot race. Relentless vocals and hasty instrumentation keep for a reoccurring shift of melody and aggression on “In A Broken Stereo” and “Forked Tongue”. This album isn’t all punk hardcore power-chords, however, as “Every End Has A Start” possesses some subtle guitar work that is sure to grab your attention. There is nothing fancy about this re-release, nothing crazy, nothing that will keep you “oooohhh’n” and “awwwww’n”. However, it’s straight up, in your face unrefined hardcore. It has raised the bar for all bands that wish to make a name for themselves in this already oversaturated scene. My thought is that all these other wannabe, “let’s take it back to the good old days” hardcore bands should sit down and take notes. Strength Approach will continue to prosper in this genre and this album is solid proof.
Rating: 4/5 - Review by: Bill Lohr

Metior
STRENGTH APPROACH - All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail
The first thing that comes to mind upon coming across the album is “Strength Approach? Shouldn’t it be Strong Approach?” – but the fact that these guys are from Italy means we can ignore the grammatical shortcomings (I, on the other hand, have no such excuse). Strength Approach’s sound can be aptly described by referring to the two cover songs on this album – Black Flag’s “Rise Above” and Sick Of It All’s “Pushed Too Far” – as they fit in seamlessly with the style of the other tracks on the album. That is, a hard, fast and aggressive style of hardcore with machine-gun intensity in the drumming, “spat out” vocals with “gang”-style backup vocal moments, and driving guitar riffs. Lyrically, you’d think they’d focus entirely on negative emotions and themes given the album title and song titles such as “Far From Glory”, “Die Alone” and “I’m Not Pessimistic, Just Realistic”. However it’s more about overcoming frustration, being wronged and being betrayed by fighting the negativity with a snarl. With apologies to the “slightly slowed down for two-stepping” track “I’d Rather Fall On My Own Mistakes Than Have You Bring Me Down To Yours”, the standout song is the title track which goes away from their typical no-nonsense song structure by throwing in one of the raddest solos I’ve heard in this genre in a long time. Overall it’s a quality addition to the genre and something you should have a listen to.
Review by: Nathan Verney

DisAgreement Online [Luxemburg]
STRENGTH APPROACH - All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail
Although Italian hardcore band Strength Approach was founded already in 1996, All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail is only their second album so far. They recorded it in Rome, but had it mastered in New York, a city that shaped their chosen genre. Originally the CD came out already in 2008, now the Australian re-release on Pee Records features three bonus tracks: one new track and cover versions from Black Flag (Rise Above) and Sick Of It All (Pushed Too Far). The cover versions ending the CD are of course a pleasant gimmick, but the band’s own material is also highly enjoyable. The songs are all quite short, always getting instantly to the point, as should be customary for a hardcore band. Everything is kept very simple, but there is a never ending rush of energy that feels totally authentic. Despite the high velocity, there is also an undeniable punk influence that allows for melodic touches. Comparisons to Gang Green, Gorilla Biscuits, Black Flag and other scene giants are definitely allowed. Nostalgic hardcore fans will certainly get their money’s worth. One also can’t complain about a lack of variety. The band is acting in a most hurried way on Every End Has A Start, while other pieces come with gang shouts reminding a little of Biohazard. The hymn My Life Is A Side Project works just great, only the bizarre sounds after the fifteenth track ending the original version of the CD don’t really fit. You can’t really accuse Strength Approach of being overly original, but that doesn’t change the fact that All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail is one of the most vital hardcore albums of the last few years. The five Italians constantly act uncomplicated and spontaneous, travelling thirty years into the past and getting the hearts of old school hardcore fans beat faster. Good work, guys! Rating: 9/10

ThePunkSite.com [USA]
STRENGTH APPROACH - All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail
A couple years back I read a review that commented on the sudden upsurge of quality punk fueled hardcore coming out of Italy. Consequently, when I learned that I would be reviewing Rome’s Strength Approach, I had some pretty high expectations. And to top things off, their current label, Pee Records, found their 2008 release, All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail, so good they went ahead and reissued it a short year later. So does Strength Approach live up to its geographic legacy and label’s enthusiasm? Well, while not perfect, the short answer is yes. Sounding somewhere between minimalist 80’s hardcore revivalists The Golden Age and Death Before Dishonor, Strength Approach features an unrelenting hardcore attitude lightly peppered with moments of choral melody. Most tracks shift between these influences, creating anthemic moments also appreciable by violent mosh-pit goers. Often, as heard in the album’s title track, after an initial barrage of guitars, drums, and shouting, an explosive chorus of gang vocals chimes in. The vocals clearly elevate each track to memory, providing a sense of polish and direction. The band gets the most mileage out of their “big” sound when they ease on the breaks and slightly reduce speed, as seen in “The Alarm.” Strength Approach further bolsters their sound with a series of more subtle additions. When the chaos scales back during intros and bridges, as evident in tracks like “Diealone” and “It’s Not Pessimistic, Just Realistic,” bassist Dominico provides some thick bass lines, giving these tracks a satisfying, “complete” feel. Other subtleties include a range of guitar work including some clever scaling on “Every End Has A Start,” a hint of rock emerging throughout “Forked Tongue,” and a reoccurring strand of melody trying “In A Broken Stereo” together. Many of these thoughtful extras go nearly undetected but play a huge part in the album’s success. The reissue boasts three bonus tracks including two covers and an original tune. The covers, Black Flag’s “Rise Above” and Sick Of It All’s “Pushed Too Far,” honour the group’s influences by remaining very close to the source material. They’re both satisfying, but the new track, “Dead Wrong,” easily eclipses them as the reissue’s highlight. “Dead Wrong” continues showcasing Strength Approach’s knack for making big choruses within thrashy song structures, and points to some very promising future endeavors for the band. Clocking in at just over thirty-four minutes, All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail’s eighteen tracks serve as a statement to the health of the Italian hardcore punk scene. There’s nothing terribly fancy here, just a rock solid release held up by Strength Approach’s involved musicianship and undeniable passion for writing intense and infectious hardcore.
Rating: 3.5/5 - Review by: Cole Faulkner

Razorcake [USA]
STRENGTH APPROACH - All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail
Italian hardcore from Rome. This record is over a year old, but I’m really digging it. There are riffs that wouldn’t be out of place on an S.O.D. record from the mid-‘80s, but it doesn’t feel dated or rehashed. Granted, it’s not the most original material, but it’s a lot of fun to listen to. There’s something to be said for getting older and refusing to slow the fuck down.
Review by: Jim Ruland

ISSUE zine #46 [UK]
STRENGTH APPROACH - All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail
Another Pee special and it opens with a super drum roll, soon joined by rasping guitar, 'call to arms' vocals and some real catchy gang-chanting. The album contains a shed load of very fast, very short hardcore songs. As well as the power, there is melody too, think along the lines of Our Time Down Here. I can see their live performances being something pretty special, with packed crowd and plenty of leaping around. Well blow me down, I have just read the blurb and found out that these guys are Italian? They have gone a long way to get this released. Well they can join my other Italian hardcore faves, Today We Rise and Cohesion.

NewsHit
STRENGTH APPROACH - All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail
Hailing all the way from Italy, Strength Approach recently made the long journey to Australia for a short tour. To commemorate the expedition, they released a special extended edition of their new album, All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail, for release through Pee Records. And, just in case you were wondering, no, they don’t sing in Italian nor do they sound anything like Pavarotti. While Strength Approach obviously draw direct influence from bands like Sick Of It All, they manage to inject an exuberance and energy into their music which reminds me distinctly of early live Ramones. As a result, the band manages to avoid the trap that many hardcore bands fall into in my opinion - sounding too angry. This album is one of the very few that I have heard where the band yells, rants and raves about the ills of society, but also somehow manages to truly sound like they are enjoying themselves at the same time. The excitement is palpable, and should have the listener jumping up and down and ready to smash the state in no time! The three bonus songs exclusive to this release comprise of one new Strength Approach song and two covers. The original, “Dead Wrong”, pretty much stays within the same mould as the rest of the album, but features both a melodious bass guitar intro and a highly catchy end-of-song breakdown. More interestingly however is the two songs which the band decided to cover; Black Flag’s “Rise Above” and Sick Of It All’s “Pushed Too Far”. The former sees singer Alex directly channel the spirit of Henry Rollins in an unoriginal, but still powerful tribute to the great band, while the later improves the power of a classic song that was originally poorly recorded. Overall the three bonus tracks are not necessarily essential to the success of the album, but are highly enjoyable nonetheless. I must admit that I was unfortunately unable to see Strength Approach play while they were touring Australia; I must say that having now heard their latest album, I was foolish for missing them. All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail is a highly muscular yet melodic release, and should definitely appeal to fans of 80’s and early 90’s era hardcore punk.Review by: Matthew Woodward

PEE #45
STRENGTH APPROACH - All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail
After getting hold of Strength Approach’s earlier full length ‘Sick Hearts Die Young’ and finding much to get excited about, I checked the bands my space and heard the awesome title track to their latest album. Since A.T.P.W.M.A.G.T.F wasn’t the easiest album to get hold of in our part of the planet I was stoked when Pete said he was doing an Oz release that would coincide with a tour. To make things even better 3 bonus tracks would be included. They turned out to be covers of the Black Flag classic ‘Rise Above’ and an incredible copy of Sick Of It All’s ‘Pushed To Far’ along with another previously unreleased Strength Approach. The new improved album came out and I was lucky enough to land my mitts on it straight away. The wait was worth it every bit. Strength Approach play super energetic melodic, traditional hard core that doesn’t let up, at all. Flat strap, foot to the floor and power charged. As I said, the title track rules, as does ‘The Alarm’, ‘Minus One’, ‘Forked Tongue’, ’In A Broken Stereo’, ‘Die Alone’….the list goes on. Packed full of ‘favourite bits’, anthemic gang vocals and addictive melodies, A.T.P.W.M.A.G.T.F. is pretty much as close to perfect an album for Strength Approach. The only bit I don’t quite like is when Track 15 ‘I’d Rather Fall On My Own Mistakes’ ends abruptly and seemingly too early to be followed by some annoying feedback, which, if ya like me, drives you nuts and you have to get up and press the skip button. If you threw Sick Of It All, Champion, 7 Seconds and Miles Away in a blender it would make something like a Strength Approach smoothie. Without a doubt one of the years best.
Rating: 99 - Review By: Macca

BLUNT Issue #86
STRENGTH APPROACH - All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail
Combining the sense of melody and frantic fun of Kid Dynamite and Lifetime with the aggression and hardcore style of bands like Bane or Sick Of It All was never going to be a bad idea. There is really not too much more to say about this album - Strength Approach don't take any big risks but they don't trip themselves up with repetition either. Given, 18 songs may be a bit much, but I don't feel the urge to throw this CD out the window at any point. Strength Approach play hardcore, no more and no lless, and they do it well. This album is aggressive, focused, abrasive and catchy where it needs to be, and holds on to its punk rock roots.
Rating: 7/10 - Review by: Ryan Sim

!upstarter [USA]
STRENGTH APPROACH - All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail
Up until recently, and by that I mean when this disc hit my door, I hadn’t ever heard of Strength Approach. This is, of course, too bad for me. It is also too bad for fans (who also haven’t heard them) of anthemic hardcore punk in the vein of H2O and Sick Of It All (albeit more of the former than the later) Despite my shallow knowledge pool of all things international hardcore, Italy’s own Strength Approach has a new disc out on Pee Records. (at least for Aussie distribution) “All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail” packs 15 original musical numbers, 1 obnoxious noise track and 2 covers (Black Flag and the aforementioned Sick Of It All) 18 tracks in just under 35 minutes. I like the sound of that. By that I mean that I like the sound of this disk. Now that I’m thinking about it, the vox remind my ever-so-slightly of John Connely of Nuclear Assault. You? … Here’s the important bits though: Good disk, action packed. There is some interesting guitar work and the music is tight and a piece of listening advice, this disc sounds good loud. Tell your neighbors that I said it was ok to crank the stereo. Review by: Jerry Actually

Bombshell Zine
STRENGTH APPROACH - All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail
From the first second to the last, Strength Approach's brand of hardcore explodes from the speakers with raging intensity and yet rich melody that fuse together to bring you infectious and instantly memorable songs in an old school hardcore vein that is reminicent of bands such as Sick Of It All and Kid Dynamite, yet doesn't sound stale or jaded, but fresh, vibrant and bursting with energy. The songs that make up All The Plans We Made Are Going To Fail all have that burning, desperate intensity of a live show that so many bands seem unable to capture in the studio, which is just what Strength Approach have managed to do. The result is raw, yet polished and full of energy which is instigated by the razor sharp guitars and tuneful, yet aggressive vocals of singer Alex. Every song is an anthem in it's own right and when listening to this, you can visualise the pile ons, sing alongs and stage dives that will take place when Strength Approach obliterate everyone with their crushing live shows. These songs are definitely written for audience participation and no doubt chaos will ensue when they take the stage. A glorious album that keeps the roots of hardcore intact, alive and pumping with energy and intensity.
OUR QUICK THOUGHTS: These Italian guys can hold their own up against the current breed of US punk / hardcore bands doing the rounds these days, they tick all the boxes and dot all their i's to produce an album that will appeal to pretty much anyone who enjoys their tunes fast and hard. Pretty solid from start to finish, the only annoying thing I can pick on is the three and a half minutes of really annoying noises at the end of the final song (before the three bonus tracks kick in). The rest is just a high energy, air punching, gang vocal fueled punk / hardcore affair. The bonus tracks include an awesome cover of Black Flag's 'Rise Above' and Sick Of It All's 'Pushed Too Far'. Both done really well. The band is touring commencing next week, do yourself a favour and look them up, don't be that person that 'discovers' them a week after they've left and all your mates are raving about the shows. Get on it now!
Review by: Bomber

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