1997 was the year in which hardcore rediscovered itself. When the US-American legends Better Than A Thousand released their milestone “Just One” back then, it was the sole starting point for the resurgence of the Youth Crew and the Straight Edge movement. Acts like Kid Dynamite, Ten Yard Fight or Bane followed this path, but Better Than A Thousand remain unforgotten as pioneers. More than 20 years later, the band members release reissues of both “Just One” and its successor “Value Driven“ together with End Hits Records, giving fans the chance to experience these immortal records in a completely new splendour.
If you want to understand the creative power behind Better Than A Thousand, you only have to look at the biographies of the individual members. Frontman Ray Cappo, as the singer of Youth Of Today, is a veteran of New York hardcore and invented Krishna Core with his band Shelter. He is also (co-)founder of the still influential hardcore labels Revelation Records and Equal Vision Records. Drummer Ken Olden and guitarist Graham Land are known as the masterminds behind hardcore punk heroes Battery. Furthermore, in the early 90s, Olden did pioneer work with Damnation A.D. for the metalcore genre, which is still flourishing today.
Better Than A Thousand were born in 1997 out of the love for hardcore. After the dissolution of Battery, Olden and Land want to continue to work together on their music. Cappo, who is at the peak of his career with Shelter, is looking for musical fulfilment away from the major label circus. The result is the eerie, intense hardcore explosion “Just One”, which Better Than A Thousand recorded in just five days during a one-week tour break from Shelter. You can clearly hear the efforts of his touring life in Ray’s voice. Again and again his massive vocals collapse under the strain – a circumstance that makes the record’s rawness and intensity all the more apparent. The spontaneous side project quickly turns into more and Better Than A Thousand play three world tours and gigs at huge festivals within only two years. They never lose their inimitable DIY spirit during this time: Ray is not actually allowed to produce the second album “Value Driven” because of his contract with Roadrunner, but the band still secretly records the record in Ken’s bed and bathroom and then self-releases it as a bootleg.
Guitarist and drummer Ken Olden remastered both albums for the Reissues and even recorded additional guitar tracks. Besides the regular album tracks five rare bonus songs were added. The albums are released in different versions both digitally and on vinyl (with poster and download code) and CD (limited to 500 copies).
(End Hits Records/2020)