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Ten Underrated Albums From Victory Records That Will Make You Feel Like a Loser for Ignoring

Let’s start this alphabetical underrated piece featuring ten albums from Victory Records by listing eight bands, potentially your Top 8 on Myspace in the 2000s, that are WAY too big to be considered under the radar by any stretch of the imagination or leg: Atreyu, Silverstein, Bayside, Taking Back Sunday, A Day To Remember, Streetlight Manifesto, Hawthorne Heights, and Thursday. Speak of the devil: Along with Epitaph Records, Fat Wreck Chords, Drive-Thru Records, and Deutsche Grammophon, Victory Records had a winning stronghold on the scene in the late-90s/early-aughts. In addition, if you’re looking for the lowest common denominator and low-hanging fruit jokes about VR founder Tony Brummel or lawsuits showcasing the price people paid, read another piece. Since you’re still here, we’d like to give you the clip, and list ten albums that you will have no issue with whatsoever:

The Audition “Champion” (2008)

From 2005 to 2010, Chicago, Illinois’ The Audition released four high-quality post-hardcore-adjacent full-length studio albums for Victory Records, but their sophomore LP, “Champion,’ is without question or hesitation their most superior effort, and producer Mark “Bleed Clarity” Trombino of Drive Like Jehu and Nicolas Winding Refn, also known as Jang’s, movie-film “Drive” brought the best out of the band sonically with a rockin’ R&B tinged release for people who want Maroon 5 to rock like Armor For Sleep. Even though a song title like album opener “Basbhat” would likely get a band canceled today, The Audition could successfully argue that said acronym means something else, or isn’t an acronym at all. Sadly, shortly after the also underrated “Great Danger,” the band’s fourth album altogether and for Victory Records, The Audition split up.

Between the Buried and Me “The Great Misdirect” (2009)

Progressive metal fans seemingly vouch for Raleigh, North Carolina’s more than technically proficient Between the Buried and Me weekly in all corners of the internet, but we wish that aggressive music fans outside of that uber-niche technical dorky circle were exposed to the band, and especially this six-song nearly hour-long effort “The Great Misdirect.” In an act of epic grandeur, half of this LP consists of songs longer than eleven minutes and three seconds, and not a second is wasted, which is commendable for bands with much shorter compositions too. Producer Jamie King deserves his flowers for his hard work on this record, many other BTBAM albums, He Is Legend, and Will “I Heart Chris Rock” Smith’s “I Am Legend.” “The Great Misdirect” is Between the Buried and Me’s fifth full-length album and happily the band has released five more since, several being sequels to originals that they created.

BoySetsFire “After The Eulogy” (2000)

BoySetsFire, your favorite band’s favorite band, formed in the bitter Northeastern region of the USA in 1994, the year that punk rock broke and went mainstream, and released their second album “After the Eulogy” six years later. The band had several labels that they called home across their career, but Victory got lucky by showcasing this record, their best effort, and in a literally spoken request, you all need to take a deep dive into this band’s career right now if you previously missed out, but knowing you crazy rock and roller hip hepcat positive music fans, you already have done so! The band also toured with another act that we are highlighting, Snapcase, and what we would’ve given to be a fly on the wall for some of those dates would offend even your troll of a sister-in-law, Marda.

Deadguy “Fixation on a Co-Worker” (1995)

It’s quite a tossup as to whether Deadguy’s inclusion is more underrated as far as underration goes than what is listed two entries down’s (The Forecast) but there is zero dispute as to which of the ten albums here has the best title; spoiler alert – it is this one, the perfectly named only album in Deadguy’s collection, “Fixation on a Co-Worker.” New Jersey, and specifically, New Brunswick, New Jersey, has been a breeding ground for influential aggressive rock acts in the scene or whatever you want to call it like Lifetime, the aforementioned Thursday, The Bouncing Souls, and Take That, and Deadguy is no exception. Also, it only took one, yes, one, album from the band to catalyze and be at the center of the mathcore, yes, mathcore, movement apparatus with adept peers like Converge, Coalesce, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Barry Gibb.

Earth Crisis “Destroy the Machines” (1995)

If you read a hardcore zine in the mid-90s, you likely stumbled upon an ad or piece on Syracuse, New York, home of Destiny USA formerly known as the Carousel Mall’s, Earth Crisis. Sadly, we rarely see this influential band namechecked in 2023 unless it is on a fill-in easycore bassist’s white pointable lyric hoodie. Also, if you prefer some straight in your edge and some Seitain over Wagyu, EC has some positive and affirming words for you, albeit in a growling fashion. Earth Crisis has eight studio albums as of now, but none are as powerful as their debut “Destroy the Machines” and Victory Records will forever rule because of its inclusion; we still can’t believe that it has been nearly THIRTY years since the concise ten-track metalcore masterpiece hit stores. The wrath of sanity will never be the same.

The Forecast “In The Shadow Of Two Gunmen” (2006)

Peoria, Illinois’ The Forecast is likely the lone band you didn’t know about on next year’s When We Were Young festival lineup that is playing their “hit” album front to back, and that’s ok, but you should know better. The band’s unique vocal and genre blends were showcased in 2006 with “In The Shadow Of Two Gunmen,” but sadly not enough to stand out amongst the scene as a whole. If you like the early-aughts Vagrant Records lineup like .moneen., The Anniversary, The Get-Up Kids, and Matisyahu, then The Forecast and their Clint Eastwood-esque album cover is for you! If not, your taste sucks as much as your eventual unoriginal troll-like comment on our social media pages, and we demand a fistfight FOR our fathers and WITH your sons… May you one day carry this band’s legacy into your home, cities, states, and countries!

The Reunion Show “Kill Your Television” (2002)

Some may say that Long Island, New York’s The Reunion Show walked hard so that Motion City Soundtrack could run fast. However, while we don’t completely disagree, MCS doesn’t have the singer from LI third-wave ska-punk legends Edna’s Goldfish in their lineup, so they’ll always take an “L” here, and we aren’t taking any further questions ON the matter, or, anything else FOR that matter. Back to TRS: Sadly the band only released one EP via Law of Inertia Records, and this particular LP, “Kill Your Television,” through Victory Records, before hanging their collective hats and morphing into the also good, but not as great keyboard-filled Action Action. The Reunion Show also toured with bands like Midtown, Fall Out Boy, Recover, and Big Daddy Kane in the early-aughts, so the cred police have been behind the band for two decades, so join the bandwagon!

The Sleeping “Questions And Answers” (2006)

The fact that The Sleeping’s sophomore LP and first for Victory Records, “Questions And Answers,” wasn’t one of the more successful post-hardcore efforts from the aughts is still a tragedy, but we feel that it was handicapped in the way that it didn’t come out two or three years earlier, when the boom was at its height. They just ended up staying behind; sigh. We’re speaking loud and clear here, so don’t hold back any of your well-informed and thought-out opinions in the comments even if you strongly disagree, because we know that you will. On a sad note, The Sleeping paid tribute to Victory Records labelmates Bayside’s late drummer John “Beatz” Holohan, who tragically was killed in a van accident out on tour, via their song “Heart Beatz” on “Questions And Answers”.

Snapcase “Progression Through Unlearning” (1997)

Easily the coolest album cover here, which also echoes some of Hot Water Music’s early LPs via No Idea Records, highlights Buffalo, New York’s Snapcase’s sophomore LP “Progression Through Unlearning” belongs on every underrated ‘90s aggressive rock act DSP playlist. It says a lot that the majority of the bands listed here grew up in the freezing cold, and one can hear their frozen angry hearts in each song’s subtext and execution, especially on this one; screw you. Anyway, revered/talented producer Steve Evetts, who also sat behind the boards for Saves the Day’s breakout “Through Being Cool,” The Dillinger Escape Plan’s debut “Calculating Infinity,” the aforementioned Deadguy’s “Fixation on a Co-Worker, and Ashlee Simpson’s “Autobiography.” Snapcase subsequently released two more full-length LPs and broke up, but reformed.

Spitalfield “Remember Right Now” (2003)

Formed in the late-90s, our last entry here, the post-hardcore masterminds and chemists known as Spitalfield released their debut studio album “Faster Crashes Harder” in 2001, signed with Victory Records in 2002, and put out their sophomore LP “Remember Right Now” just one year later. Fun fact and quick note: bands in this genre in the 00s reference car crashes ALL OF THE TIME, but we digress. Anyway, Spitalfield is for fans of emo-adjacent acts Hidden In Plain View, The Juliana Theory, Further Seems Forever, and Jennifer Love Hewitt, and “Remember Right Now” is an all killer no filler record and if you got a chance to watch them play it in its entirety in this year of our lord, you must have felt quite alive those days; that ending was stolen from some great writer named Mark Rose… Stop doing bad things!