I can say that I am about three quarters of the way through Burning Fight and really am pleased. Let me preface that with the fact, that its not so much that I find the content or band selection perfect, but just that there is a book nearly five hundred pages devoted to the music that I grew up with is pretty remarkable. When you're used to some of your favorite bands being forgotten, or given a one line shout out as an influence in some kids' blog, it almost makes me giddy to have such documentation of that era outside the zines that are sitting in my closet collecting dust.
Were there band omissions? Absolutely. Were some bands extemporaneously included? Yup. Too much Midwest and not enough late 90s? Did some bands not get enough coverage? Sure, but like Brian Peterson, the author states, it's from his perspective. To me, the book feels like a zine on steroids and that is a good thing. This was clearly a personal project that morphed into something greater and it is a great read (nws?) to get some perspective on bands from a very unique period of hardcore. It would be very easy to dive right into writing about the bands, but I like the way the stage is set at the beginning with the different essays on veganism, straight edge and spirituality. And while everyone can argue how they would tweak the line up that Peterson includes, it doesn't hurt to get back stories on bands that otherwise I wouldn't pay much attention too. I would have loved a longer Integrity chapter and I wish all the bands went into more detail like 108 did, and maybe at least include Floorpunch or Ten Yard Fight, but overall, I get Peterson's approach and am very glad that he decided to take up the mammoth task of trying to explain 90s hardcore.
Because I entered later in the nineties rather than earlier, it bums me out that I was only a year or two away from seeing bands like Burn or other early 90s hardcore acts. But also, I think natuarally a book like this paints the picture of the scene with rose colored glasses. Looking back, I think about what a great time it was for me and how incredible the time period was, but hindsight is definitely 20/20. No matter what style of hardcore you like, the 90s was the start of the influx of just so many different bands. For every Undertow and Unbroken, there were countless imitators. For every Ten Yard Fight and Floorpunch, there was a Pushed Too Far or some other Youth Crew revival band. What I mean is, that time has made it easier to seperate the good from the carbon copies and I really feel that this era was the beginning of the band explosion where you could find at least twenty bands doing all the different subgenres of hardcore.
If you have any interest in 90s hardcore, this is a must read. To anyone that has things that they would have done differently with the book, I feel the natural response would be, they you do a book. If that era has taught me anything, it is that if you want something done, do it yourself.