Champion "Promises Kept"

Champion is a straightedge hardcore band hailing from Seattle, Washington. Vocalist Jim Hesketh and guitarist Chris Williams first formed the group in the spring of 1999 with the intention of having some fun and playing hardcore with lots of heart. After a few months of insane shows the group decided to take it to the next level and pumped out their first demo which was followed by a short West Coast summer tour. Although the demo was well received and the trip was a success the band eventually became plagued with constant line up changes which slowed its momentum. Despite struggling with a revolving cast of members, Champion was able to regroup in 2000 and put out their 2nd demo which received an excellent response. “Come Out Swinging” was released on Phyte Records and Germany’s Platinum Recordings.

Review by Jordan A. Baker:
Much like their labelmates in STAND AND FIGHT, CHAMPION have brought back the spirit of 97 (which was busy bringing back the spirit of 88...), and have taken a page directly out of the IN MY EYES school of awesomeness. This all comes down to a blazin' dual guitar attack, often with one racing against the other; shout-it-out gang vocals with finger-pointing posterity; and manic drumming that shows no remorse. CHAMPION's sound is 100% familiar, but oh-so-good on these ears. With negativity so unfortunately pervasive among the punk/hardcore/indie set these days, the positivity, passion, and thirst for life of a band like CHAMPION in unquestionably the pinnacle of their existence. When you listen vocalist Jim Hesketh describe his goals, his ideals, and his conviction for straight-edge, it's a thing of beauty that places him on par with BANE's Aaron Bedard. I've always found inspiration in song lyrics, and the following verse to the fourth song just makes me smile: "They're the best days of our lives / Why waste them standing in line? But there's always a path you can take / Break free and take pride in decisions you've made."
Although I get the feeling that the twelve songs on "Promises Kept" would sound just as amazing if they were played on instruments made of tinker-toys, CHAMPION goes for broke with this disc getting the royal treatment from Kurt Ballou and his God City studios. I don't know if Ballou has some kind of "old-school" setting in his studio where he flips a switch and everyone suddenly has Nike high-tops on, but for something so thoroughly modern, the recording quality is undeniably hardcore, and nothing else. Finishing off this release is a sharp insert booklet with great pictures of kids going nuts. The back cover to the booklet features a group photo that has the band arranged in similar fashion to one of MINOR THREAT's long-lasting photos.

Track Listing:
01 Promises Kept
02 Looking Back
03 Next Year
04 Decisions Made
05 Miles To Go
06 The Truth
07 Perspective
08 Failure
09 The Decline
10 The Break
11 Different Directions
12 Every Word

Click here to check out pictures I took of of Champion