Ace Stallings doesn’t live in Richmond anymore, but he remains a powerful advocate for Richmond hardcore. Stallings hosts the great interview podcast Forum Of Passion, runs the Richmond Hardcore Shows Instagram feed, and books shows around Richmond, including the upcoming Big Takeover festival. Ace, who I know well enough to say hi at shows, is also the singer of Mutually Assured Destruction, a newish hardcore band that draws on the swaggering, burly melodic sensibility of ’90s metal. MAD has been stomping ass for a few years now, and they’ve just announced their debut album.

Mutually Assured Destruction released their three-song debut single in 2019, and they followed in with the 2020 EP Fever Dream. Next month, they’ll come out with Ascension, their first LP. For the first single, Ace — who used to lead Break Away, and who also sings for the hardcore supergroup Sentinel — shares his microphone with Randy Blythe, lead singer for Richmond metal giants Lamb Of God.

It’s a cool pairing. Blythe is big enough to headline festivals these days, but he started out in punk and hardcore, and he did a Forum Of Passion episode a couple of years ago. On Mutually Assured Destruction’s new song “Spirit Liberation,” both Ace and Blythe wail hard over huge, monstrous stomp-riffs, and it sounds colossal. Below, check out the Ascension tracklist and bang your head to “Spirit Liberation.”

01 “Seven Crowns”
02 “Got A Light?”
03 “Gates Close At Dark”
04 “Haint Blue”
05 “Spirit Liberation” (Feat. Randy Blythe)
06 “The Struggler”
07 “Sorcerer’s Ride / The Siege”
08 “Scroll Of Doom”

Ascension is out 5/18 on Triple B Records.