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Hicksville, NY | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | INDIE

Hicksville, NY | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Alternative Hardcore




"Lost In Life LP Review #1"

Hardcore act Backtrack has returned with a brand new album 'Lost in Life.' The album is full of countless musical bars that are interesting and very to the point for the vast genre that is hardcore. 'Their Rules' opens up this mosh pit of an album, and the lyrics really fit the mood. "I'm sick of following their rules, cause they're not for me." This song screams hardcore with every last breath of Vitalo's urgent and strong performance. The last bit of the song is led by a guitar solo and then back to the chorus. The band delivers the straight hardcore sound with a hint of southern influences. This tasteful delivery style keeps the album progressing and stops it from sounding overdone. The best example of the southern feel is found on the second song, 'Wash Away.'

'Under Your Spell' really stands out from the rest of these tracks. The halt and progression into the steady kick drum threw me off completely. Brendan Yates makes a guest appearance in this song as well, really giving a better shock and awe to the song. The next track has thrash influences which build up a solid groove held together by the drummer, John. This song is really three distinct parts that are mashed up into an absolute banger of a song. The bass breakdown that begins and follows through 'Torture' is another thing to listen for.

Halfway through the LP and the music is continually getting sweeter, and by that I mean more mosh heavy. 'Rot In Your Race' shines on the talent of John, decimating drum part after drum part with different off-beat hits and then guitarists Ricky and Chris take over the song right around 1:44. Two more headbanging songs are found in 'Right This Wrong' and 'Play Safe,' really delivering pure adrenaline into the moshes. 'Play Safe' also has Vitalo's best vocal delivery, sounding as if his viscera is about to come out of his throat.

The last three tracks really close the album well. 'Still Searching' is really defined by the various patterns by the guitarists. My only gripe is that the penultimate riff should have continued. It winds back and forth across palm-muted chords in a very delicate manner, showing the bands talent in remaining tight-knit. 'Guilty Conscience's' verses provide the quick blastbeat tempo I had been waiting for. The last song is the only one that reaches beyond three minutes. Even with a slightly longer listening time, Backtrack keeps the song quick mannered, exiting ears in a pleasing way.

'Lost in Life' is a must listen to for hardcore fans. This LP is a step up from anything Backtrack has done before. The album was produced by Nick Jett, the drummer of Terror. The production really helps this album sound fresh. The band created a heavy and interesting hardcore album. Every member shines in their own way. A mosh heavy tour schedule is already planned to support this album, do not skip on this either. - Sputnik Music

"Lost In Life LP Review #2"

Backtrack are not an anomaly. They are not a band alone in their sound or genre. And they certainly are not of the underground avant-garde. But that’s not meant to detract anything from the boys in Backtrack. In fact, what they aren’t is more a compliment and affirmation of what they are: one of the best hardcore bands around. And Lost in Life is a testament to that.

Those of you who picked up Darker Half -- the band’s first LP on Reaper Records -- are thusly familiar with the band’s thrashy hardcore stylings. What Lost in Life does is essentially twofold: it at once picks up right where Darker Half left off while also showcasing a logical and tenable progression musically. There is no stark departure in either sound or lyrical content, or packaging artwork for that matter. Lost in Life merely packs 12 antagonistic hardcore songs into just about thirty minutes of playing time.

The opening track, “Their Rules,” sets the pace for a record that finds Backtrack honing a hybrid sound of thrash-laden hardcore music largely culled in the late-eighties New York hardcore underground and revived in the early millennium, not-so-coincidentally by earlier Bridge 9 releases. However, the sixth track, “Tortured,” reveals the aforementioned musical progression with a mature attention to staccato guitar riffs coupled against a sharply played bass intro. Similarly, "Still Searching" reinforces a sense of growth and progression making use of those staccato riffs and well-layered guitar tracks, as vocalist James Vitalo carries the song throughout with smart vocal arrangements. Again, Backtrack does not aim to overstep their hardcore stylings here; rather, they simply seem to be polishing a sound that they began cultivating on their previous LP.

The record’s strongest track, “Wash Away,” suggests a brevity of vocal patterns that is present throughout the entire LP. Vitalo dispenses with the need to oversaturate the band’s songs with too many vocal lines and wordiness, opting for a sensible pattern that makes for more memorable choruses and, of course, better sing-alongs.

Lost in Life is not a young band’s experimentation with new sounds or desire to expand their audience necessarily. Rather, it is Backtrack’s offering of what makes them who they are: smart, ambitious, angry and knowledgeable hardcore kids. Simply put, their sophomore LP is a great achievement for its ability to showcase a hardcore sound that we’ve all heard before without at all sounding rehashed or imitative. And that’s no easy task these days. - PunkNews.Org

"Lost In Life LP Review #3"

Hardcore doesn't always lend itself to innovation or branching out into unfamiliar territory. While some bands end up becoming stagnant and monotonous in the face of self-imposed stylistic limitations, other groups are able to offer a fresh and exciting reinterpretation of this established sound. These latter bands are best exemplified by Long Island's Backtrack. Making hardcore purists stand up and take notice with their 2011 debut LP Darker Half, many had high expectations for their latest offering of aggressive, New York-style hardcore. Fortunately, Lost in Life delivers punishing, memorable songs at almost every turn.

Backtrack wastes no time by starting off the record with "Their Rules," a mid-tempo track with memorable riffs and a gang vocal-laden chorus that serves as an impressive opener and a definite album highlight. "Wash Away" and "Lost in Life" continue the aural assault with galloping drums, energetic riffs, and unrelentingly belligerent vocals that never seem tedious or tiresome despite not being overly diverse. At this point it also becomes readily apparent that the band made an excellent choice having Nick Jett, best known as the drummer of Terror, produce this album. Overproduction is always a concern for bands in a genre largely known for its raw recording style, but Jett is able to create a clear, crunchy, fresh sound that really highlights the group's song writing and performance.

The album continues the remorseless hardcore barrage with "Under Your Spell," an anthemic track that blends driving riffs and lyrics that deal with social alienation through vocalist James Vitalo's menacingly delivered screams. Following this, "Nailed to the Tracks" seems to be a somewhat forgettable song until its breakdown and outro hit harder than nearly anything else on the record. "Rot in Your Race" and "Right This Wrong" help fill out the middle of this record, and although their relentless tempos and driving guitar lines shouldn't be discounted, they don't hit with the same impact as many of the earlier offerings on this album.

Unlike countless hardcore bands that load the first half of their record with the strongest tracks and leave their weakest offerings to serve as filler at the tail-end of the album, Backtrack finishes as strongly as they start. "Still Searching" and "The Way It Is" deliver some of the most memorable song writing on the entire record and "Guilty Conscience" is the album's fastest track, blending thrash riffs with a hard-hitting groove into an impressive example of well-executed crossover hardcore.

Bottom Line: Backtrack is helping to keep straightforward hardcore enjoyable and interesting. Lost in Life is both a logical successor to their debut LP and a demonstration of how much the band has grown as songwriters. Although not without its flaws, this record sets the bar quite high for hardcore in 2014. - Lambgoat

"Lost In Life LP Review #4"

I can officially say that Backtrack converted me to a hardcore junkie. Anger seems to leak out of every hole and crevice of this genre and that is why I had avoided it for so long. I started out forcing myself to listen to their latest record Lost In Life, but after it was all done, I was sad to see it end. The band has a certain energy to it that can’t be matched by any of the bands I have seen thus far. This energy transfers into the record and turns it into a spectacular freak show. The vocal patterns on this record are insane and are combined with a collage of edgy guitar solos and multi-tempo drum patterns that seem as though different drummers are on every track. This isn’t a dis towards the members, this is somewhat of a thank you. Lost In Life isn’t filled with repetition; it is filled with diversity and that is something that I love in music, and that is why I can put Lost In Life on my top records list for this year. Pick up this album if you get the chance and listen to it all the way through; I guarantee you’ll start it over and listen again. (Joseph Tucker) - New Noise Magazine

"Lost In Life LP Review #5"

Backtrack are not a progressive or an experimental band by any means. They do not delve into the realms of poppy choruses, cheap gimmicks, clean vocals, synth melodies, pop covers, nor acoustic tracks. What they are about is having that strong, good ol’ fashioned hardcore sound that one can easily two-step, viscously finger point or chuck a mosh to.

The songs aren’t overly long, the instrumentation is simple, but tight and very, very tough. Your typical hardcore tempo changes, fast vocal phrasing, and edgy guitar riffs and odd solos are all making an appearance on the quintet’s latest offering. Backtrack have never really strayed from their sound, which would probably rock the Long Island mob’s fan base to the core if they ever did, but this is a blessing and a curse.

See, from the amped-up, defiant opener, ‘Their Rules‘ to the mosh-pit inducing album closer, ‘The Way It Is‘; this is a record hardcore junkies will talk about for a long time. But this is also a record many might pass off as ‘just another hardcore band with yet another hardcore album’. Unfair and harsh, maybe. But it’s also very true. Once you get past the fast sumbitch that is ‘Wash Away‘ and the thrash inspired ‘Under Your Spell‘ you just find variations of the previous tracks.

Thankfully however, one minute, you’ll be head banging along to some monolithic grooves, next minute, you’ll be starting to think your dinner table would look a lot better with you starting a circle-pit around it. While this kind of diversity is only small, it is welcomed. However, it’s unfortunately not quite enough, as this thirty minute mosh-fest does get quite repetitive.

Also, Nick Jett – the drummer for hardcore heavyweights Terror – also produced this album, and as a result, everything feels much more crisp and solid in the mixing department. There are also some guest appearances from members of Down To Nothing, Turnstile and Downpresser, which all add to the overall quality of this album. Die-hard fans of the band (and the genre) will lose their collective minds to this, no doubt.

At the end of the day though, ‘Lost In Life’ is another great hardcore album from another great hardcore band.


‘Lost In Life’ doesn’t re-define what hardcore music is or what hardcore in general means, and nor should it be obligated to. What you do need to know however, is that ‘Lost In Life’ is one of best examples of how good hardcore can be 2014. Go get this somewhat repetitive, yet highly entertaining album in your ears now. - Kill Your Stereo


Still working on that hot first release.



Breakdown; Madball; Raw Deal; Kill Your Idols: arguable institutions of New York hardcore throughout the last 25 years. It’s a lineage Backtrack have been mindful of since forming in January 2008, long after the seeds were already sown for a distinct strain of hardcore with rougher edges and sometimes unusual, esoteric ideologies (granted, you’re not likely to find any right-wing principles or Krishna hymns amid Backtrack’s noise). After all, it was easy to gauge the band’s appreciation for NYHC heritage from their 2008 demo, a standout gem of the late 2000s Long Island hardcore scene that helped quickly amass a local — and not long after, national — following.

But as the band have progressed from there, releasing records on notable, reliable hardcore labels like 6131 (2009’s Deal with the Devil EP) and Reaper (2011’s Darker Half), while touring the globe with veterans like Comeback Kid, Terror and Cold World, and played multiple festivals along the way (This Is Hardcore, United Blood, an infamous Sound & Fury 2010 appearance), so too have their musical ambitions.

“We’re definitely influenced by all different types of hardcore bands,” says guitarist/vocalist Ricky Singh, who documented his five favorite albums of 2013 in a recent year-end feature (he primarily recommends Take Offense’s United States of Mind and Down to Nothing’s Life on the James), “[but] tons of bands that aren’t hardcore too. And it shows a little bit in the music.”

Granted, their latest statement, 2014’s Lost In Life remains firmly entrenched in traditional hardcore structures. Backtrack may not be coloring fully outside the lines, but the album assuredly has its share of tastefully stray marks (check the surprising chorus harmony on “Wash Away”, or the spooky atmosphere clouding the intro to “Tortured”), while sharpening the band’s hard sound into a dynamic, hook-laden overdrive. Thanks to a reconvening with Darker Half producer and Terror drummer Nick Jett, Backtrack were able to concoct a collection of material that proves more memorable and striking than past efforts.

“He definitely helps with vocal hooks and patterns,” Singh notes. “It was something that we were going for. I wouldn’t say it’s a necessity, but we wanted the songs to be stuck in people’s heads and have them singing along, knowing the words a lot easier.”

Lost In Life also takes more of its creators’ varied opinions and tastes into consideration. “It’s definitely hard having five people come to the table and getting everybody’s ideas down,” Singh explains, “and trying to compromise ideas with other people and making shit work, so that was kind of a challenge.”

Such communicative outreach and prolific songwriting (the band wrote upwards of 20 songs and self-taught computer demo recording techniques in preparation) seems to have affected themselves for the better: Fans will likely find Lost In Life more accessible than its catalogic predecessors, but revel in its nonetheless hard demeanor—contrasted by frontman James Vitalo’s open-dialogue themes of personal identity, social alienation and finding solace in struggle and challenge—and Singh’s increasingly indelible, crunchy riffs.

In partnering with Bridge Nine, Backtrack looks to benefit from the wider exposure and take advantage of the label’s rounded full-time focus. “Bridge Nine is cool because [it’s a] whole department of different people together [getting] shit done,” Singh says.  “We want somebody who’s going to really push the record and be able to have the time to do that.”

With that, the only thing left for Backtrack is fulfilling their world-traveler ambitions. “At first we didn’t really have any goals,” Singh recalls of the band’s formative period. “We just wanted to tour and put out music that we liked, and I guess as we toured more and started putting out more records and stuff, we just wanted to start playing in different places that we haven’t played before.” Backtrack’s looking to visit South America, Hawaii, Mexico and Russia in support of Lost In Life, and make new appearances at previously unplayed festivals in Europe. “Touring with different types of bands that we haven’t toured with before is always something that we’d like to do,” he adds as well. As the band continue to grow into a leading role as ambassadors for the modern wave of NYHC revival (with a subtly creative flair), they’d be faithful and powerful delegates.

Band Members