Monday, January 17, 2011

Blast from the Past: Mantra


Title: Mantra (Amazon, Last.fm, Wikipedia)
Artist: Shelter (MySpace, Last.fm, AllMusic, Wikipedia)

Shelter is a hardcore punk band that was formed by former Youth of Today lead singer Ray Cappo and was the premier band in the Krishnacore movement of the ‘90s. Krishnacore was the label given to a group of bands that were hardcore punk bands professing the Hare Krishna religion through their music. I read an article about the band and album Mantra in Spin magazine back in 1995 and then heard the album’s single “Here We Go” on 120 Minutes and decided that this was a record that I needed to get.

Sonically Mantra is a classic melodic hardcore release the blends hardcore punk (of the NYC variety) with pop sensibilities and melodic hooks. Lyrically the album addresses issues through a Hindu/Hare Krishna point of view. At the time of its release, I thoroughly enjoyed this record but admittedly didn’t quite grasp the lyrics. Now I do and it makes this record even more powerful. But you don’t have to be a Hare Krishna to enjoy this album. The aforementioned single is an excellent melodic hardcore tune about the perils of building a relationship based on looks.

I was drawn to this record because of the Youth of Today connection. Youth of Today was one of the quintessential straight edge bands of the mid to late 1980s. Granted at the time I only knew of YOT and had never heard their music but I was someone who professed to being straight edge and thus the record intrigued me. Unfortunately I have a feeling that a lot of people wouldn’t be able to get passed the Hare Krishna connection to give this record a faith shot, but to those brave souls that do, I think that they will like what they hear.

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