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on November 27, 2002
This album is the last truly underground release of Henry's career (it originally appeared on Texas Hotel records) and while Henry has admitted that he withheld some of the stronger material that they were working on (Tearing in particular) for later release (End of Silence), this album is easily the darkest, hardest and most honest album in the Rollins Oeuvre. The opening track "Hard" is an awesome ode to self-preservation, while "Planet Joe" is a brutally uncompromising vision of the iconoclastic spirit. However, it is the amazing "Turned inside out" (Who's the criminal now? Is that you? Could that be you?) and the frighteningly honest "Down and away" (The closer you get, the farther away I feel) that dominate this release. The bonus tracks are great (mostly demos), particularly the unreleased "Thin air," one of the greatest Rollins band songs of all time. This disc is like the Swans on steroids. Don't beleive me? Buy it and see. Rollins plans on re-releasing "Joy riding with Frank" in the future, so don't despair. However, you should have bought the original release true fan
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on September 10, 2002
A big step back from the heights obtained by "Lifetime", "H.V." starts out very strong with "Hard","What Have I Got" and "Planet Joe" easily the equal of the material on "Lifetime". For the very first time though, Rollins has given the fans a throwaway tune not intended as a joke ("I Feel Like This"), this , coupled with the mega long, self-indulgent dirges at the end of the CD knock it down a long way.
The original Texas Hotel release added on a live track called "Joy Riding With Frank", which was basically "Move Right In" stretched out with scat singing by Rollins for 18+'s so thrilling and intense that you never notice the length of it. I recommend that release over the newer rerelease which adds extra tracks, some of which went on to form the spine of "The End Of Silence"..either those tracks or "Joy Riding" save "Hard Volume" from medicority.
Unfortunately for us and for the Rollins Band, the dirge quotient was about to increase over the next couple of releases with dire results.
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on February 23, 2002
Whatever people may choose to believe about Rollins', his later work after 'The End of Silence' will never hit us quite as hard as 'Hard Volume (whichever edition you may happen to own).'
I knew vaguely that Hank had his own band since Black Flag, but I never bothered checking into it, due to the law of averages, which states that solo efforts are often incomplete by nature, and more experimental. I loved the Ginn/Stevenson/Roessler/Rollins combo, and didn't think anything could match it.
Here, it's a step sideways, more towards Hank's Sabbath fixation, which is a very good thing--I got the chance to see him at Lollapallooza '91, and after hearing the best ever version of 'Love Song' segueing into an even BETTER 'Turned Inside Out', I had to pick it up, and I wasn't disappointed in the slightest.
The original CD version contains the 30+ minute jam 'Joy Riding with Frank' which is enjoyable but not essential, but the rest of the album is brilliant, sludge-volume guitars and a rhythm section most bands would kill to obtain.
The new version including the demos are negligible; they don't enhance the CD or detract from it. But 'Life Time', 'Do It' and 'Hard Volume' are the Rollins trilogy that probably won't ever be matched. They're all equally good.
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on February 15, 2002
"Hard Volume" is the last record the Rollins Band recorded before it exploded out of obscurity with the release of "The End of Silence" in '92. It picks up right where "Life Time" left off, with Rollins the confident ringmaster on "Hard". Then they turn existential on "What Have I Got" ('what have i got?/i've got everything/what have i got?/nothing much at all").
From there the band enters its most experimental phaze (before they would enter into the metal-funk period of 'Weight'), drifting out into the ether on 'I Feel Like This' and "Planet Joe'. By the time they reach "Turned Inside Out/Down and Away" they have entered the void (musically speaking). Those 2 songs are some of the most compelling, intense the Rollins Band ever produced. I prefer the songs reversed and back to back as they did live (which can be heard on the "Turned On" CD).
On the next 2 albums, Rollins Band would crossover into mainstream waters based largely on the foundation laid by "Hard Volume" and "Life Time". Sadly, though, those first 2 albums are overlooked. Highly recommended.
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on January 10, 2003
When Black Flag ran out of gas in the late 80s, it took Henry Rollins six months to get this band together and running. This is THE Rollins Band album to buy, considering his body of work before 'The End Of Silence' came out.
This is the still poor, angry, we can make this band work Henry. Hard, angry, and not too poorly recorded. I love this album, all the tracks. But I only give it 4 stars because of the missing original CD track 'Joy riding with Frank', a 25+ minunite live track that had the best bass guitar work I have ever heard on ANY rock album.
Either way, its a great buy. Its funny, back when I bought this album around 1988, I couldnt think of Henry Rollins singing for anyone other than Black Flag. Now, listening to this album, considering Black Flags later work, it sounds like he was wasting his time with Black Flag, waiting to make this album, and when he did, he exploded. Recomended.
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on March 2, 2000
this album is a personal, close friend to me. i learned a lot about pain, torment and strength under the influence of this album. when one listens to HARD VOLUME one hears the stress, effort and strength that comes from creating a time defying masterpiece of a musical statement. these are the songs that you will never hear on the radio because the reality of the power and emotion behind them is just what it is , too real. if you enjoy the product of true musicianship, soul, and heavy licks HARD VOLUME will blow out your left ear and have your right ear begging for its turn. p.s. i agree that the original release of JOYRIDING WITH FRANK should have been kept intact, that is one jam noone should be deprived of.
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on March 20, 2001
next to "life time" i find this disc to be their strongest.its raw and heavy, but also experimental and very uncomfortable and in your all of rollins work, this is not for well adjusted folk, or people who see the world through rose colored glasses. the lyrics and vocals are intense and direct, and take a strong look inward, in an attempt to strip away the bull. songs like "what have i got"(i like the demo version best), "turned inside out" and "planet joe" are great genre shattering music.again, most people wont get what rollins is talking about, but if you are any bit open minded, check this out.
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on February 28, 2000
I was searching for his new album with his new band and saw that a lot of their older stuff was re-released with extra tracks. Well in this particular case it is a travesty of justice as it looks like they removed the classic Joyriding with Frank to fit the bonus tracks on. The song in question is basically an extended live verision of Move Right In that just jams on and on for some 30+ minutes, and was the high point of the recording. I would have rather seen it remastered intact than re-released with bonus tracks that replace the high point of the album.
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