REGIONAL JUSTICE CENTER-Crime And Punishment 12″ 2021

Closed Casket Activities

Well the wait is finally over. This is the second 12” from these Seattle pounders and it has me nodding along to the really slow sludge parts, then playing air drums to the ripping fast parts.  The drums are what really make this band/record for me. Dude is a machine. Vox are stellar as well… I know I should really read the lyrics but I literally don’t care what this cat is screaming about, I just know it’s angry and mean.  At first listen I was a little bummed on how short this 12” 45 is, but I’m on my third listen (to digest it and review it) and I feel like it’s the perfect length for a band of this style. I know a lot of people hate the term in which the style of music these folks are playing, but its pretty much PV that does not completely rip off or steal a sound from a specific band. Yes they probably like Crossed Out, MITB and Infest but it isn’t a direct rip. I’d really like to see them live someday if the world of shows ever opens up again. The label that put it out is from my old ‘hood of Albany /Troy NY so I’m proud that Closed Casket Records got on board to make this record happen. More kick ass art work from my brother Mark McCoy, the images are perfect for this platter. (NW)

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA Heath Row: HR

NUART – reopens!

Places are starting to reopen here in California. I have no idea how long that will last, or if we will ever close down again at all. With the vaccines getting around, and after a year of “we’re turning a corner” only to see the numbers rise it’s tough to be positive about much at the moment.

That said, the Nuart opened it’s doors up last Friday, March 19, 2021. No idea when the midnight movies will return, but I’m looking forward to that moment when I can sit in my seat, finish my soda and candy before the trailers finish, and watch whatever classic horror is projected onto the big screen. It will be epic. (MA)

HARD FOUL • demo tape 2020

HARD FOUL demo tape 2020

625 Productions

So cool to see Dan from Spazz, Funeral Shock, etc., still doing HC and being productive after years and years. Other band members also come from Plutocracy, Agents Of Satan, and Funeral Shock. Eight raging tunes that seem to be heavily themed on NBA basketball. I love this shit, and wish there was a lyric sheet so I could get the full scope. The tape starts off sounding very East Coast HC… then by song 2 and forward the true powerviolence starts to kick in. Loud bass riffage, Dan’s killer guitar riffs and fast blasts and bursts keep it fun. I’m sure Dan prolly hates the term PV by now and cringes when it’s used to describe his projects… but you can tell by his playing that it’s just stuck there in his blood forever. The other side of the tape is a really well done live set from a radio show. Oh, and the demo side is recorded at none other than Bart Thurber at the legendary House Of Faith.  Cool stuff. Support. (NW)

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA Heath Row: HR

NOTA • Moscow 7″ EP

NOTA • Moscow 7” EP

Artcore

Being from Oklahoma NOTA is like Black Flag or Agnostic Front for me. They were/are that important, and had a huge impact on me and my friends. I didn’t really start paying attention to punk until around 1981, after all, everyone was saying it was dead. I knew of the Sex Pistols, I caught the news story about their show at Cain’s Ballroom on the local OKC channel 5 10pm broadcast, and it was the craziest thing I had seen at that point in my life. As the teen years started to come on, and the need to define myself among the masses, The Clash was the first punk band I got into. The whole notion of punk happening in a place like Oklahoma seemed inconceivable to me. That would soon change though. By 1982 I decided it was time to get off the fence and be punk, thinking I was probably the only one in the state. My best friend down the street, Dallas Vickers, got on board, so that made two of us. A short while later we discovered KGOU one night while looking to see if there was anything else on the radio other than the crummy top 40 stuff. We suddenly discovered we weren’t the only punks around (though we were not dressing the part at that moment in time). I stayed up listening to see what else there was, and discovered shows like My Tunnel, which played hardcore punk, and would inform listeners of shows in the area, and what local bands were up to. My mind was blown. There was a punk scene happening in Norman, just south of me, and in Oklahoma City, and Tulsa. Local bands like No Direction, Brown 25, Diet of Worms, Death Puppy, and others. On top of all that, there was this band from Tulsa, None of the Above, or more casually, and shortened, NOTA (pronounced No-duh, but say it quickly so you don’t sound like you’re saying, “No duhhh…”). All the previously mentioned bands were great, but NOTA were on a “whole nother level.” They had an intensity that blazed like no other. They’re on the classic Welcome to 1984 comp with bands like Rattus, Stalin, Raw Power, Upright Citizens, BGK, Crucifucks, and Terveet Kadet , so that’s says something of the level they were at. I’m of the opinion that everything this band did is worth picking up. Their output from Live at Crystal Pistol (you can get the vinyl and CD versions through Prank) on to that first album on Rabid Cat are essential.

Moscow was their first release on vinyl, and it wastes no time getting down and getting loud. Kicking off with “This Country”  and keeping it at 11 all the way through “The Enemy,” “Taking Away Your Rights,” and the title track (check out that guitar riff!). It never lets up for a second! The guitars roar and snarl, and the vocals match. The bass is heavy and dark, while the drums are surprisingly catchy, despite the speedy tempos. I remember the day I got this and listening to it over and over, and my friend Dallas coming over and we cranked it until my mom pulled up in the drive way. There’s a reason we adorned our clothes with their name, and copped the art from Rusty Short to put on the back of our jackets and Oxford button up shirts. Timeless music right here. 

Artcore fanzine fortunately rereleased Moscow, remastered from the original tapes. The sound is more full, and somewhat heavier than on the previous pressing(s). The packaging is pretty sweet as well, with a history of the band, some flyer art and photos, as well as lyrics and the back cover art for the original Unclean pressing included (though slightly altered). It’s part of issue 40, which includes interviews with Strike Anywhere, The Chisel, Vicious Dreams, and Septic Death, Jawbreaker, and Iconoclast in the Vaultage section. You gotta get this by all means.  (MA)

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Justin Dratson:JD Nate Wilson:NW  Matt Average:MA

ADDICTIVE • Kick ‘Em Hard 2xCD

ADDICTIVE • Kick ‘Em Hard CDx2

(Tribunal Records/Divebomb Records, 2013)

Late last year from Shadow Kingdom Records in Ohio, I picked up a copy of the Tribunal Records/Divebomb Records 2013 two-CD reissue of two late-’80s/early-’90s thrash metal albums—and more!—from the band Addictive in Sydney, Australia.

Despite some slightly goofy cover art by Oxx (AKA Simon Cooper) that’s slightly reminiscent of Adam Siegel’s Infectious Grooves lizards, the two records and assorted bonus tracks shine spotlight on a metal scene and band I have never heard or thought about before. Not that I’m fully well versed in all things international metal—my knowledge of Australian rock was pretty much limited to INXS, Midnight Oil, and the Hard-Ons before listening to this double CD—but the ‘80s Sydney metal scene is a scene with a history worth exploring. So explore I did. 

The two-CD reissue includes Addictive’s 1988 five-song demo, Ward 74; 1989 album, Pity of Man; and the delayed 1993 album, Kick ‘Em Hard (perhaps a riff on Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All); as well as an unreleased cover of “Crazy Train”—Kick ‘Em Hard producer Bob Daisley co-wrote “Crazy Train” with Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads—a 1990 demo of one of the first songs the band ever wrote; and the 1995-96 demo of a song intended for an unreleased third album.

Interestingly, the CD set leads with Kick ‘Em Hard, a 1991 recording finally released in 1993 after 18 months of delay—and after the band’s heyday was perhaps over and done. While an able effort, it is the 1988 demo and 1989 album that make the CD worth checking out. Both are excellent local examples of late ‘80s thrash and hint at what must have been an interesting—and very fun—time for metal in Sydney. There are definitely discernible influences in the music, particularly Metallica and Megadeth (which shouldn’t come as a surprise; Greg Smith’s vocals at times remind this listener of James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine), but other influences can be gleaned from the T-shirts worn by band members in photographs featured in the insert. Such bands include Iron Maiden, Megadeth and Metallica (natch!), Sacred Reich, S.O.D., Def Leppard, Cycle Sluts from Hell, Destruction, the Australian band Slaughter Lord—also from Sydney—and the underground comix character Mickey Rat.

Local record store Utopia Import Records—opened in 1978 by record collector John Cotter, and still active today—served somewhat as an epicenter for Sydney metalheads because the shop imported most of the NWOBHM and similar metal that inspired the Sydney scene. Bands active at the time included Detriment, Mortal Sin, Fester Fanatics, Massive Appendage, the Hard-Ons, the Melbourne-based Hobbs Angel of Death, and others. Shows occurred at local venues such as the Seven Hills Inn, Lewisham Haunted Castle, Kardomah, Springfields, Penshurst Den, Marquee, and Sutherland Royal. Mortal Sin might have been the biggest metal band to emerge from the scene, opening for Metallica in 1989 during the Damaged Justice tour and featured in Australian metal magazine Hot Metal, as well as the British magazines Kerrang! and Metal Hammer. Addictive, in turn, toured with Mortal Sin multiple times and rehearsed at the same studio—earning its own coverage in Hot Metal.

Four band members recorded Addictive’s demo and first album—Joe Buttigieg, Matt Coffey, Smith, and Mick Sultana—and Coffey left after Pity of Man to be replaced by Steve Moore for the 1991/1993 album. Both recorded at Sound Barrier Studios in Sydney, Ward 74 and Pity of Man are excellent recordings—and the highlight of this release. The demo—released in two pressings of 500, one hand labeled—featured cover art by Oxx depicting two healthcare workers and a long-haired, straitjacketed patient. A sign states, “You are now leaving Ward 74. Have a nice day.” One of the two workers says, “Why do you spose he keeps tryin’ to escape, Doc?” The doctor responds, “Beats the shit out of me, orderly. I love this place!” The original Survival issue of the Pity of Man LP featured a fantastic painted cover by John Marten depicting a robot dropping people into a giant hourglass as a woman consults a glowing orb in the distance on a desert planet. (The people might even turn into worms at the bottom of the hourglass; email Bad Transfer and let us know what you think is going on!) Despite deprecating comments in Vlad Nowajczyk’s interview with the band in the CD’s liner notes, the songs—and sound—are awesome.

Lyrical content and song themes on Pity of Man addresses conformity and control, the End Times, ozone depletion and the greenhouse effect, the Holocaust, mental institutions, parental expectations, alcoholism, and the threat of nuclear war. The instrumental introduction to the song “Come Before the Storm” is wonderfully energetic, and “The Forge”—ending the first side of the album—is itself a worthy instrumental. All five songs on the Ward 74 demo were rerecorded and included on Pity of Man.

Based on enthusiastic response to the demo and first album, later reissued on CD with new, less interesting cover art at the behest of the European distributor, the band’s second album—Kick ‘Em Hard—was fully intended to help Addictive join the ranks of Mortal Sin in terms of international attention. Mortal Sin even name dropped Addictive in a Hot Metal article, and Addictive opened for Motorhead in June 1991 at Hordern Pavilion as part of the Legendary Muthas of Metal Australian Invasion, or MetalFest, as part of Motorhead’s 1916 tour.

To produce Kick ‘Em Hard, the band enlisted Bob Daisley, an Australian musician who played with Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Uriah Heep, and other notable bands. Daisley’s songwriting credits with Ozzy Osbourne would later be the impetus for a dismissed lawsuit seeking back royalties. A video of the band playing the song “Crazy Train” with Daisley is available on YouTube. The resulting album, however, was delayed for 18 months, arguably causing the band to miss its window of opportunity for wider spread attention and success because of mysteriously missing master tapes. The tapes might have been taken to the United States by an engineer—on the encouragement of the band’s management—in search of a better recording contract. (Absconding with those tapes also led to legal action.)

With its higher production values, Kick ‘Em Hard is more polished and professional, which—though fun—isn’t always necessary. The differences between Pity of Man and its successor are as stark as the differences between the ‘80s and the ‘90s. Being recorded in 1991 and not released until 1993, the second album sits at the cusp of the decade, serving as a bridge between the two. And the band is in fine fettle. Perhaps slightly more Megadeth-like now than Metallica—Smith’s vocals are a little more pronounced and affected—the band’s technical chops are also more polished. 

Song content on Kick ‘Em Hard addresses societal injustice, personal strength, medical experimentation, the environmental impact of overpopulation, addiction, uncertainty, military action and natural disasters, suicide, and relationships gone wrong.

After Addictive folded, Buttigieg and Sultana eventually joined Mortal Sin, and Moore joined Dungeon and played in other projects, including Dark Order, Enticer, Ilium, Redeemer, and Vaticide. Oddly, vocalist and bassist Greg Smith, the front man of the band, was not included in Nowajczyk’s interview. Where is he now? What is he doing? Despite Moore’s extensive band lineage, Smith seems to be the driving force behind Addictive—even if band members shared songwriting credits. (That might not at all be the case, but if any readers know where he ended up, I’m curious. I’m especially curious who wrote the lyrics.)

The band’s artist, Oxx, is also interesting creatively—and seems to have been a lynchpin in the Sydney metal scene. An artist and musician, Oxx drew cover, flier, and poster art for multiple bands, including Cruciform, Dearly Beheaded, and Fester Fanatics. He also frequently contributed artwork to Hot Metal and played drums in multiple bands, including Fester Fanatics and Massive Appendage. He was profiled after his death in Unbelievably Bad #10.

All in all, this is a wonderful archival release by a little-known (outside of Australia) band that could have been bigger globally, perhaps, had the timing of the release of their second album been better. As it is, we have labels like Tribunal and Divebomb—and fans such as Nowajczyk—to help bring bands like this increased attention, even if well after their most active days. 

I find that kind of fan archive activism… addictive. (HR)

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA Heath Row: HR

THE MAN FROM HONG KONG (1975)

The Man from Hong Kong, aka, The Dragon Files

1975, Australia

Starring: Jimmy Wang Yu (Inspector Fang Sing Leng), George Lazenby (Jack Wilton), Hugh Keays-Byrne (Morrie Grosse), Roger Ward (Bob Taylor), Sammo Kam-Bo Hung (Win Chan)

Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith

Viewed: Streaming

Transfer Quality: Excellent transfer!

Don’t worry about what he might have said.

Don’t worry about gathering evidence..

Aww, no man…just POW!

I was all geared up to review the killer soundtrack for this, but then my damn amplifier conked out. Can’t do a proper review listening to a YouTube rip, so I decided it was a good excuse for a re-watch and review of the actual film.

Ozploitation meets Golden Harvest in this perfect marriage of unbridled action and absurdity from Dir. Brian Trenchard-Smith of Turkeyshoot and BMX Bandits fame. You certainly know you’re in for a wild ride when a two-pronged chase scene breaks out before the opening credits even roll. On the one side, drug smuggler Win Chan’s (Sammo Hung) bellbottoms are flying in hi-karate action as a narc pursues him to the top of Australia’s Uluru. On the other, a motorized chase between a helicopter and car ending in a massive explosion and the untimely demise of bad guy #2.

Enter kung fu legend Jimmy Wang Yu (One Armed Swordsman, Master of the Flying Guillotine) as inspector Fang Sing Leng—imagine Henry Silva, but Asian and with other-level martial arts skills—to extradite Win Chan to Hong Kong for justice. However, Chan is soon taken out by a sniper, and the Aussie narcs (who you’ll recognize as Mad Max’s Fifi, Roger Ward, and the Toecutter, Hugh Keays-Byrne) can’t keep a leash on the titular man from Hong Kong. It’s no slow, all go for the inspector as he mows down countless henchmen to get to the man behind it all, Jack Wilton, who kind of looks a bit like Dennis Parker in his prime.  The inspector is not just a fighter, though, he’s a lover too, with an array of uncomfortable gettin’ it on scenes to prove it.

To say this is an action movie is an understatement as it’s almost impossible to stay on top of all the car chases, kung fu battles, deep tongue lashes, and explosion after explosion after explosion. Although Sammo Hung’s character is offed pretty early in the film, he makes his indelible mark behind the scenes as the martial arts choreographer here. His top-shelf action really has an impact, as most Western movies tend to go a little soft in the kung fu department.

Legend has it that producers dropped 20% of the film’s budget on the rights to use Jigsaw’s Sky High as the theme song, but that’s a story I’ll save for when I get my amp up and running again.

In the meantime, don’t shy away from this classic…even if you have to drop $1.99 to watch it streaming.

(DC)

CORRUPTED MORALS • Chet 12″ EP

CORRUPTED MORALS – Chet 12″ EP

Lavasocks Records 

2020

This is a reissue of the 1988 CM chet 7″ ep that originally came out on Lookout Records, but with 5 extra songs from that same demo session.  This version came out on Lavasocks Records. It’s been remixed and remastered and somehow nobody fucked it up. These guys were hands down my favorite Bay Area band ever.  Yes EVER!  They were able to cross metal and hardcore in a perfect way that others were trying way to hard to make work. It was organic, and didn’t reek of trying too hard.  They were formed out of the Bay Area metal band Desecration with Bob Yost (RIP) on vox.  CM was basically Desecration without Bob on vocals. 

 I was lucky enough to see them a ton and got to know Joel Wing (the bassist) a little while helping to build the stage at Gilman street in maybe 86-87?  This stuff sends shivers down my spine, and thirty years later I still know all the lyrics. These dudes were super political, and really helped to change a crossover metal heads way of thinking a little.  I traded Joel my old band The Romper Room Rejects demo for the first CM demo.  

The only thing that ever bummed me out about these guys was that about five years ago I’d tracked down the singer (Rik) for an interview. He said he’d do it but he just kept stiffing me to the point where it felt as though I was harassing him. Oh well… Still a fav for sure. Track this down if you can, it is great. (NW)

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom

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Justin Dratson: JD Wilson  Nate : NW   Matt Average: MA

THEE ELDER GODS • Kill ’em All

the THEE ELDER GODS – Kill ‘EM All LP
17 songs in all!


Do any of you remember the 1990 movie Night Breed wherein a bunch of misfit friendly monsters are living underground, terrified of humans, until one day they boil over and take a stand against us…the dreadful standard humans? There was more junk going on than that, but at the core of it is how I feel about the Thee Elder Gods. The Thee Elder Gods are nice monsters trying to coexist, but folks just keep pushing them until blamo!! And the wreckage they leave in their wake is beautiful, unsettling, and compelling.

Lyrically and musically they hit the 80s classic HC but with nods to Th’Inbred, NOMEANSNO, Rhythm Pigs, and even a little bit of Schlong. It’s easy to follow along with the lyric insert and then a surprise musical uppercut just floors you. Starting off the LP with the song “Don’t Have a Cow”, “Senators in Love”, “I Am Satan”, into “Well-Heeled Baron” sets the pace for a truly one- of-a-kind experience. The lyrics are frightening and poignantly filled with a palpable and beautifully and sometimes misguided rage. Most of the time you’ll hear a band shout out some vague angry shit like “I’m broken and I’ll take you to the crusher” or some junk like that. However, when the Thee Elder Gods belt out “I got so mad when they remade Ghostbusters, that I went outside and burned down a cop car” you can really feel it. Eloquently putting a face to something that actually is irksome (like remaking a classic) vs someone yelling some vacuous junk like “my anger is a cancer to destroy your rules”. Take into consideration that we’re all trapped in this very peculiar time, an album like this swoops in and carries the precise amount of first human “thump thump” thinking and acting without consequence eg. “there are two reasons to go out after dark, first reason is to make the neighbor’s dog bark, the second reason is to turn into shark and eat up all the girlies selling hand jobs in the park”. Follow that up with “You might never be Lee Harvey Oswald but can still be someone’s hero” from the song “1981” and that gives you a reasoned sense of where they land on issues. “Well-Heeled Baron” starts right in with the gut kick of “A circumcised and well heeled baron, had it sweeter than a blowjob from the ice-cream man’s mother” and then the song takes a dark(er) turn. I won’t even get into the lyrics for “Octopus Hands” because I don’t want to give anything more away.

This album is the most unabashed, yet unpretentious, and the quintessential grey skied Middle West record I’ve heard since maybe Negative Approach’s “Tied Down” and an essential addition to everyone’s plastic stacks. This is going to be one of those records that in 20+ years you are going to say you had….but, in truth, you didn’t because you slept on it because you weren’t comfortable stepping outside your box.  Look, give it a shot.  If you get it, play it, hate it, shelve it for 5 year and try again, and do that 4 times and if it still hasn’t connected with you then in 20+ years you’ll be able to sell it for a ton of cash to someone much more musically evolved than you. (JD)


Contact them through Bandcamp if you’d like a physical copy of the LP
Contact them here for a hard copy of the actual vinyl!


Download from their bandcamp
Thee Elder Gods – Kill “Em All, Side A
Thee Elder Gods – Kill ‘Em All, Side B

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA

DROPDEAD • Dropdead LP

DROPDEAD – Dropdead 2020 LP Armageddon

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Dropdead both musically and as long time friends. Interaction with them helped change my life for the better and helped form some of my opinions in the 90s. Yes, I will forever gush about them (and this new album). I don’t think it’s much of a secret that I’ve been a pretty apolitical person for a good few years now. I must say though that this is maybe one of the most raging of political records I’ve heard in forever and I fucking love it! Lyrics are printed big enough for old timers like me to be able to read ’em (unlike the past). This shit is so catchy.

I’ve often worried about Bobs vox for a little bit (sounded like he was really straining and losing them). Whatever has happened to them has made them have a great metal crossover feel to them. I love the idea of metal heads picking this up and it changing their musical outlook forever.

This might be their best album to date. I know this is blasphemy to say, but the songs, the production, the layout… everything about it is just tops. It’s not a short 45 rpm LP, it’s straight up 33.

Don’t snooze on this. This will def be a top 10 for me and 2021. (NW)

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA

LMI • Excess Subconscious LP

LMI – Excess Subconscious LP
9 songs
Handstand Records


This is LMI’s third LP (first two were CD only, but whatever) and I feel that this band is at a very intriguing point in the ark of where the band started and where they are now. This is a style of hard-core that has a crossover metal tinge with some surprisingly great upbeat hooks and LMI do a very good job of it. I feel as though they’re at a point where if they stay exactly where they are, with the slightly muddy production, great bass playing and dual vocals that they will add fans. However, if they decide to overextend themselves and get a little more technical and add clarity to the production, they might collapse from rising start to black hole. Lyrically, it’s the sort of angry poems that a kid would write in high school and the delivery is dependable. Here’s where I struggle, it’s a great record, there’s no doubt about that. However, compared to some of the other Handstand Records releases I’ve heard, and combined with the overall latest batch of stuff that I reviewed, there’s nothing about it that stands out. This is a very good record to put on while you’re doing stuff and it will definitely keep your heart rate up and moving through the day. If you’re trying to get your 10,000 steps in or you have to prep for a dinner party and you just need your chopping skills amped up a bit, then this is the record for you. Conversely, if you’re looking to sit down with something and read along and feel like you’re part of the experience, this doesn’t quite have me connected in that way. Some of the guitar lines are melodic and catchy for the style of music and for a power trio, it’s uniquely complex. Let me be clear, I’m not an expert on this but I do know what I like, and I think a very simple thing that could connect me to this are the lyrics. I like to sit down and read along with the record and with the vagueness of some of these, it’s hard for me to really find an attachment to the band. Musically, I think that they are great and if the singers could just maybe consider adding something personal about themselves, their day, or to be more precise, identify a theme of a song whether, specifically what you don’t like, what you do like, the way a tree looks in winter, a crush on Jessica Rabbit…I dunno. It’s that the constant anger and sorrow pushed off in vague ways with the standard adjectives isn’t quite grabbing me like it usually something like this would. I felt that somewhere along the way there wasn’t really that suffering and anger they are trying to express but moreover they are trying to stay within the sonic guardrails of the music is that they are making. Again, this is a great musically thoughtful record but could it have been more moving and captivating as an instrumental record for me, maybe. I like words and I appreciate when lyrics are authentic even if they are silly or hurtful or uncomfortable.

I do recommend you check this band out and decide for yourself. The musicianship is terrific and it’s entirely possible that I’m being overly critical considering I am well aware that overall lyrics in hardcore have become uninteresting and less evocative. (JD)

Pick up the LMI – Excess Subconscious, LP here!

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA