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Head First, Straight to Hell

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Album Review

What is it one can say about Grade? They seem to eclipse any classification, although it seems their music is more on the heavier side of things. While Headfirst Straight to Hell does the typical "we're not a hardcore band" thing and plays out a few hardcore songs and then throws in some mellow intro, outro, or instrumental number, Grade can still throw listeners for a loop. Singer Kyle Bishop was made to yell hardcore. There's no doubt about that. Yet, there's something sloppy but cute when he does his singing on the album. In many ways, Headfirst Straight to Hell seems almost a disappointment in light of the territory that Grade could have and should have taken. One recalls when Grade first started getting attention, after they were finished with Second Nature and it seemed that many individuals were inspired by their potential to take hardcore to the next level. Unfortunately, with the release of The Embarrassing Beginning, it just about destroyed the career of Grade, displaying their shallow, metal beginnings. No serious musician would ever want to make known the poor songwriting and musicianship that was included on there. Whereas Under the Radar, their first full-length for Victory, displayed a great deal of potential, The Embarrassing Beginning seemed to set the band back and Headfirst Straight to Hell isn't enough to recover. Rather, it seems to find Grade stagnant (with a few exceptions, such as the new age instrumental track that closes out the album). An adequate album, with its share of catchy choruses and the aforementioned typical hardcore "shtick" of intro/outro/instrumental deals, but other than that, much of this starts to run together. Guitars blend into guitars and drums play out to unmemorable beats. Catchy this, catchy that, but none of it lives up to the expectations that many hardcore fans had for this band, nor does it live up to the creativity that a band like Grade should be capable of producing.

Customer Reviews

A true classic of the genre and era

This cd was played so much I think I wore it out. Doesn't get much better.


I just love this album. Not a bad track on here!

Every song is awesome

This is one of the only albums I own that I can listen to every track from start to finish. I still listen to this album all the time and it doesn't get old.


Formed: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Toronto hardcore band Grade comprised singer Kyle Bishop, guitarists Greg Taylor and Shawn Magill, bassist Matt Jones and Chris Danner. Issuing their debut EP Separate the Magnets in 1998, the group also earned notoriety opening bands including Fugazi, Jimmy Eat World and the Promise Ring; upon signing to Victory Records, in 1999 Grade issued the single "Triumph and Tragedy," followed later that year by the full-length Under the Radar. Embarrassing Past was issued in fall 2000 as well as a shift...
Full Bio
Head First, Straight to Hell, Grade
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Customer Ratings

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