Washington, D.C. may be the birthplace of the straight edge philosophy as articulated in song, but it certainly hasn’t been the wellspring of straight edge hardcore that many would think it would be. In the nearly forty years since the term was coined Boston, Southern California, New York City, and even Cleveland and suburban New Jersey have laid claim to the mantle of straight edge hardcore mecca. All the while, D.C. would sporadically spit out a band or two, but never one able to lead the way on the national scene while maintaining the root elements of this distinct musical tradition. Protester emerged about five years ago as a one-man-band, a study in the isolation that such a lifestyle inevitably leads to. “Hide From Reality”, their debut LP and first release as a full band, is their definitive statement as a group ready to raise the profile of D.C. hardcore to new heights. Free of the empty anthems and melodic intrusions of the worst of the genre, “Hide From Reality” is equally informed by the more nihilistic side of punk while retaining the harder edge of the fiercest in their class. With the top grade musicianship that only years on the road can bring, this record forcefully asserts their place at the top of the heap.