Preach to the converts

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Release, recorded from 1996-1998, is a documentary on hardcore punk as practiced by a group of kids as unrepentant in their hatred for rock stars as red meat. It’s built out of band interviews, fan explanations and promoter manifestos, intended to be a punk manual for those kids new to the scene. But in its attempt to lay out the hardcore gospel according to such bands as Earth Crisis, Yuppicide, Sick of It All and Bad Religion, Release too easily becomes an unsatisfactory yes-man for the going-nowhere-isms of a musical culture that is much more than 15 years old and getting more uninspired and insipid every year.

Perhaps the problem is that Sersen follows the same attitude VH-1 does, trying to get "behind the music" instead of examining and critiquing the sexual, racial and class-based underpinnings of a phrase like "aggression needs an outlet." Instead Release’s director, in a very un-hardcore move, stands behind the apparent objectivity of the camera, as uncommitted as the society that hardcore initially came to fight.

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