Orange County, CA, has long been regarded for its contributions to the ever-expanding international hardcore scene, from the positive youth anthems of Insted to the fiery declarations of Inside Out. It's a tradition that has been carried on by Throwdown, a no-holds barred, mosh pit-conducting crew of straight-edge musicians whose lyrical self-determination is as uncompromising as their heavy music. Not afraid to attack in song those who have left their scene and its ideals behind, Throwdown isn't a band that writes "parts" intended to incite the dance floor: their songs are nothing but pure, unadulterated, stomping mosh from start to finish.
Throwdown formed in the summer of 1997, releasing their debut, self-titled 7" single that same year through Prime Directive Records. The lineup for that EP consisted of guitarist Tommy Love, bassist Dom Macaluso, singer Keith Barney, drummer Marc Jackson, and guitarist Javier Van Huss. 1998 saw the emergence of Throwdown's first full-length album, the blistering Beyond Repair, the product of a new partnership between the band and Orange County-based label Indecision Records. After the album's release, Van Huss was replaced by Brandan Schieppati. The following year, the band unleashed the Drive Me Dead 7"/CD EP, also through Indecision. Schieppati was next to leave the band (to concentrate full-time on his other band Bleeding Through), being replaced by Dave Peters.
In 2000, Throwdown put out their sophomore album, You Don't Have to Be Blood to Be Family. They also recorded a tongue-in-cheek metalcore version of Sir Mix-a-Lot's hit song "Baby Got Back" for Radical Records' Hardcore Takes the Rap compilation, which also featured Candiria, Stretch Arm Strong, and the Movielife. Drummer Jackson was then replaced by Eighteen Visions skinsman Ken Floyd. The special relationship between Throwdown and the far flashier metalcore act Eighteen Visions is worth noting. Not only have the bands shared stages together on many occasions, but they have often shared members as well. Van Huss, Schieppati, Peters, Barney, and Floyd have all at one point or another been a part of Eighteen Visions, a band that, while straight-edge like Throwdown, has a decidedly separate musical identity, persona, and agenda.
Next becoming a part of the reputable Trustkill family, Throwdown resurfaced in mid-2003 with Haymaker. The album saw the band's fan base noticeably expand, and earned them a second-stage spot at 2004's Ozzfest. 2004 also brought the release of the DVD Together. Foever. United. Guitarist Love amicably exited at the year's end, and the group soldiered on as a four-piece. Throwdown's follow-up, Vendetta, was issued in June 2005. They co-headlined nationwide dates with the Black Dahlia Murder in early 2006 before heading out as openers that spring for In Flames. A brief Warped Tour stint followed that summer. By this time, the band's lineup consisted of vocalist Peters, bassist Matt Mentley, drummer Ben Dussault, and guitarist Mark Choiniere. Venom & Tears arrived in summer 2007. ~ Ryan J. Downey