Welcome to No Heroes in New England, a new feature on Heavy Blog where we give a nod to some of the newest and relatively undiscovered hardcore talent coming out of New England. The word “hardcore” is a term with a bit of history, so we’ll be covering anything within the hardcore genre, whether it’s punk, metallic hardcore, or post-hardcore. As long as it tears faces off with its aggression and comes from New England, we’ll cover it. New England has been one of the capitals of hardcore music since bands like SS Decontrol and DYS broke out of Boston in the 1980s, and in the last thirty or so years it’s cemented its status, giving the world groups like Converge and Killswitch Engage who have indelibly changed the face of metal and hardcore music for the better. To ignore this part of America is missing a crucial chunk of music today, as even relatively new acts such as Trap Them and The Great American Ghost hail from New England.
Void of Heaven
First up on today’s docket is a recently released demo from a band called Void of Heaven, who, according to Toxicbreed’s Funhouse, have some connection to metallic hardcore pioneers Earth Crisis. Demo 2016 accounts for about ten minutes of music, but holy shit, is it a heart-pounding, teeth-crushing ten minutes. Ever single song has a riff that is made to mosh to, and the production is incredible—both crispy and heavy as fuck. (The guitar tone sounds a lot like a Boss HM-2—the pedal favored by metal greats like Entombed and, more recently, Black Breath. Suffice to say it’s beefy, like a teamster’s fist through your face.)
Void of Heaven’s vocalist—a man solely known as Brian, courtesy of purposely vague Bandcamp and Facebook personnel—is a powerhouse, bringing some serious yells to the table, without completely giving over to growling vocals, making this band truly a great blend of metal and hardcore.
I personally found Void of Heaven’s approach to songwriting to be pretty interesting. The track “New Burdens” features a riff that sounds very influenced by Slayer—incredibly apocalyptic and doom-laden—but stays relatively slowed down, letting the full evilness of said riffs really shine through. Even the other tracks that don’t as obviously pay homage to thrash greats are still powerful in their own right. The opener “Insecurity Immortal” starts off with a riff that almost feels like it’s going to be a mathcore sound, a la Dillinger Escape Plan, but then goes into more standard hardcore territory.
So, if you want something in the vein of Great American Ghost, or a slower Trap Them, this is definitely worth looking into. It’s more on the hardcore side of things as opposed to metal, but both genres are well-represented overall.
From my neck of the woods (i.e. New Hampshire), Crystal Methodist bring their A-game, and they bring it hard. They’ve got some angry, bitter music with roots in a myriad of hardcore subgenres that never ceases to let go once you’ve hit play. And, hey, their first self-titled release is free on Bandcamp, so that’s just a plus!
Jeremy Cunningham—the band’s vocalist, is probably the most notable aspect of Crystal Methodist. He has an incredible, yet strained, scream that literally and metaphorically screams hardcore, but isn’t afraid to simply yell when appropriate. Best of all, his vocals, while raw and emotional, can be understood relatively well, which make the general theme of this release (from what I could tell, that is)—commentary on modern religion, specifically Christianity—stand out all the better.
As I said before, this is a band bringing a lot of different influences to the table and mixing them all together in a tasty hardcore stew. Tracks like “Give a Fuck” and “TFM” toe the lines of powerviolence (and even some grindcore and thrash thrown in for good measure) with hard-hitting riffs and Usain Bolt-fast speed. “Abyss” and “Fixed Fight” have more of that traditional hardcore sound that you expect from bands like Earth Crisis and Converge—not a lot of guitar frills in favor of having a streamlined and aggressive sound. The entire album, though, is wrapped up in some really well-done feedback squeals that remind me a lot of the noise used on, say Trap Them’s Seizures in Barren Praise, courtesy of (and I’m guessing here) guitarist Logan Miller.
If you want a little more speed—and a lot more hate—on your hardcore, than Crystal Methodist is for you.
Sporting the most material out of all our bands today (with a grand total of two albums to their name), Haste are ready to put a steel-toed boot up your ass.
I particularly like Haste’s approach to their music; they wear their influences very blatantly on their sleeves, playing punk that sounds almost straight out of the high points of hardcore punk in the 1980s, but they don’t just simply rip it off. In fact, it’s more like an evolution of the hardcore punk sound that launched bands like Minor Threat and Jerry’s Kids into our collective hearts forever. You’ve still got the typical power chords and hardcore punk chord changes, short songs, and a great use of gang vocals, but there’s more on top of all of that. It’s distorted and crunchy as hell now, and that essentially acts as new layer of aggression. It’s as if Adolescents had toned down the whiny vocals a little and then cranked all their instruments up with all the awesome distortion technology we have now. And, like any hardcore band today, Haste doesn’t skimp on the feedback, even using it in an almost surf-rock manner in the beginning of the track “Untitled.”
Probably the best example of 80s hardcore punk surviving today, Haste is basically a soundtrack for wanting to go out to fight in the streets.