1997. Decent year for hardcore. Not as good as just a few years previous, but still ok. Until an album came out on Initial Records by a 5 piece band from Delaware. That album was called, The Day the Sun Went Out. That band was Boy Sets Fire. And my whole perception of 1997 changed.
Many would have said, and did say at the time, that Boy Sets Fire was an 'emo' band. Back in a time when emo was actually a somewhat recognizable music style, they were definitely not that. "But didn't they sing?!?" Yeah, they did. But make no mistake, these guys were hardcore. They tackled all the topics hardcore bands wanted to tackle back then…..abuse, degradation of women, love, heartache. They did it with passion. They did it in such a way that you could tell it was something they felt, and not the lyrical flavor-of-the-day. Boy Sets Fire came out of the gates blazing. And they got noticed. Their release came out at a time when bands like Enkindel, Elliot, and By The Grace of God were well received, and well loved. Even though BSF did not hail from the emo capital of the world, Louisville, they had a style that fit in well there, perhaps also helped by the fact that they were on Initial.
Unlike most re-releases these days, BSF and Equal Vision did not remaster The Day…. The result of this is in hearing all the so-so guitar tones, and the original quality of the album that cost a mere $1200 to record. But if you're like me, you wouldn't want it any other way. This album is perfect just the way it sounds. Could it, with current remastering, be much clearer, crisper, and just better overall? Sure. But it doesn't NEED that. Furthermore, it is better without. You get all the feel, all the passion, and all the angst now that was conveyed when they recorded the album 8 years ago. This was one of the best releases of 1997, and even now, it is still one of the all time great hardcore albums out there.