These posts are written by: Jake Tiernan

DIY and the Issue With Social Capital

In the past year as I stood around at a house show, engaged in my normal Saturday night rituals of alternating between watching whatever band was playing and socializing, I heard a statement that disturbed me deeply. Among the casual chatter it was delivered as a light hearted quip, one not meant to shock but rather to gently tease. It came as someone recognized my friend but could not put a name to the face. My friend, casually joking with the stranger, said “just remember me as the one black guy who goes to shows”. They both laughed and I did as well at the time but something about that statement rubbed me in the completely wrong way.

Wildspeaker – Spreading Adder

As of recently, it seems as if black metal and crust punk are stuck on somewhat of a collision course. The two, finding natural company in their respective fringe existences, slowly began to adopt one another’s aesthetics. Eventually, this led to the realization that not only were both genres built on a bleak, misanthropic visual representation, but on a shared musical basis as well. Soon, both black metal and crust punk began to openly embrace one another, taking cues from the other on how to make their music the maximum level of pain. Such is the case with Wildspeaker and their electric brand of environmentalist neo-crust.

Grind My Tears: Portrayal of Guilt

It is in this new generation of emotionally charged, horrendously heavy music where we find Portrayal of Guilt. The band, hailing from Texas, does not play in the more direct style of thrash and emo, however. Instead they opt to play a far more brutal combination, blending the hectic, crazed pace of screamo with harsh black metal. It is a frightening combination, one that draws on the emotional torment inherent in both genres, and mixes them together into a truly pained form of musical catharsis. Add to that a little bit of 90’s metalcore in the vein of Coalesce and Converge, and you have one truly hectic blend of music.

Grind My Gears: Death Vacation

From the beginning grindcore and d-beat crust had a bond that seemed almost unbreakable. It was a beautiful bond, an everlasting one. A bond of the most steadfast kind, one built on a common devotion to total sonic assault presented always at breakneck speeds. Soon, however, this bond developed into something more. It developed into the two genres bleeding into each other, feeding off of each other, and birthing a generation of grind acts infused with heavily d-beat tendencies. And, eventually, these two styles bleeding together would lead to the birth of a new grind act, coming from New Jersey, known as Death Vacation, the crust/grind act hell bent on total sonic destruction.

Shadow of Doubt – No Mercy

Some bands manage to find that sweet spot where they can emulate their heroes while still introducing some sort of new energy into the music. Unfortunately, it does not seem that Shadow of Doubt is one of those bands, nor is there debut, No Mercy, much more beyond your standard NYHC-in-2017-emulator fare. Truly the gang’s all here on this one, be it from the overly forced gang vocals to the mid-tempo “grooves” to those ever so (lovably) cheesy mosh calls. And, fortunately for those digging into this EP, one does not need to look any further than track two, “No Mercy.”

Grind My Tears // Fleshborn & Ostraca

I present to you Grind My Tears, the cleverly named screamo and post hardcore centric counterpart to our series Grind My Gears. Below you will find a slew of the most promising screamo acts and records that have caught my attention in the past year or two. The first featured spot on this segment belongs to probably one of my favorite releases of this year (so far), the split LP between modern screamo mainstays Ostraca and Fleshborn. Titled Faces of the Moving Year, the split works well to showcase both bands unique takes on screamo, highlighting the vast differences within screamo itself, as well as playing off the tension created between the drastic contrast of the two bands.

Grind My Gears 2: Electric Bugaloo

Believe it or not, Heavy Blog has not only one writer who chooses to focus on grindcore (and all associated subgenres), but multiple. Why multiple people do this to themselves I still do not know, as the music generally sounds like it was recorded on an Easy Bake Oven. But alas, I am one of those people and I would have my music no other way than delivered to me in the same way I get my microwavable cookies. And, more importantly, it is with this that I bring to you my (and not Matt’s) take on our formidable Grind My Gears series, introducing the ever formidable second grind post of the day, “Grind My Gears 2: Electric Bugaloo.”

Starter Kit – Youth Crew

Ah yes, it’s finally that time. I’ve discussed my love for the “edgy” forms of hardcore often, constantly citing powerviolence, screamo, fastcore, and crust as the superior forms of the genre. After all they’re the least “bro”-y of all the styles, less full of Hitler-youth-esque guys in Nike Air Maxes in camo shorts than the other genres (PV has always been more of a “you bet there’s a skull drawn in my notebook” type look). In fact I’ve often embraced those styles due to their rejection of the hardcore bro, their ability to remain fiercely independent in the face of senseless 90’s worship and rejection of some of the more intense aspects of straight edge. That is, however, all about to change as we delve deep into the style that spawned all the horrible hardcore “fashion” that so many awkward 20-something men, fresh off their warped tour phase, have adopted in a vain attempt to prove their masculinity. I’m talking of course about Youth Crew, where shirts aren’t necessary but the incessant need for gang vocals and floor-tom heavy breakdowns are.

Hey! Listen to Dimmer!

Back when I first started my Penn State career I knew just about nobody (one whole semester ago). I felt kind of awkward at a lot of the DIY shows, was uncomfortable with the idea that nobody was really moshing, and just generally wasn’t vibing with the overwhelming number of acoustic acts I was seeing. But still I kept going to all the shows, slowly meeting more people, but still failing to find that one local that really blew me away from a musical and performance perspective. That was, of course, until I saw Dimmer (that show actually helped me find my other favorite local, Palmlines, too, but that’s gonna be it’s own post) in a cramped ass living room. It was hot, uncomfortable, and I barely had room to stand. Ultimately I was extremely (again) uncomfortable and unhappy at that show, but Dimmer played with such an immense amount of energy that I pretty much forgot my underwear were riding up in an uncomfortable sweat wedgie.

Woe – Hope Attrition

Starting about a year ago signs of life began to stir once again on the Facebook page of Philadelphia black metal band Woe. At first, they only promised shows. Another chance at seeing a band who’s delicate blend of crust and black metal formed a uniquely progressive style all their own. This was exciting news to the wider Philadelphia area extreme music scene as the band was a long time favorite of many, sort of a source of pride. However, soon the murmurings of shows for the summer went silent, and fans were left wondering if it had all just been the hopeful ramblings of one member.