Welcome to another entry of No Heroes in New England, where, if you haven’t already succumbed to tinnitus, you soon will. Every week we scour the North East (in reality, BandCamp) for the newest bands tearing the hardcore scene to shreds, and give you a taste of some pissed off New Englanders.
Last week’s article covered Campaign Committee, Handsome Mansion, and Sunshine Ward, and can be accessed by clicking here.
Let’s buckle up!
I can’t say I’m a big fan of melodic hardcore; at best it’s a hit-or-miss genre for me. I can stomach groups like Touche Amore because they’re so damn good at what they do, but I usually don’t venture much into it.
I only bring this up because Boston’s Kimachi plays a style of hardcore that has a slight—though noticeable—tinge of the melodic without becoming melodramatic in its presentation.
Really, though, to place Kimachi wholly into a genre doesn’t quite capture who they are as a band; they’re very much a melange of the various sounds hardcore has to offer. Parts of their music—like a lot of their 2015 EP Nowhere to Run—have a distinct feet-on-the-floor, brutal hardcore vibe—lots of chunky guitars, slow(er) tempos, things like that. In their latest EP, Still Spinning, there’s a tiny bit more emphasis on the noisy side of hardcore, with the band channeling a sort of Norma Jean style.
But, on top of this, embedded in every song, however small, there’s a bit of melodic tension to Kimachi’s music. The guitar, while always hard-hitting and tough-as-nails, sometimes gives way to a few strums of sad-sounding power chords, and the vocals seem to pick up on that and harness it expertly.
What really made me decide to put Kamachi on here, though, is how congruent all these sounds are. I might’ve just split their styles up for the sake of description, but the band manages to put all these styles together, and instead of having tracks coming off as certain subgenres they homogenize incredibly well into a pretty distinct approach to hardcore. It won’t be as distinct as the next band on our list, but to the seasoned hardcore listener, Kimachi brings a nice little twist to the genre.
My original plan was to include OUT in last week’s article, but considering the overall weirdness (awesome weirdness, mind you) of Campaign Committee, I thought it best to save it for this week.
Comparing Campaign Committee to OUT isn’t particularly helpful or accurate, though. (As often is the case, you can’t really place two experimental bands side by side, because they more often than not have completely different approaches to their music.) While Campaign Committee keeps songs generally short and, in a sense, weird for weird’s sake, OUT’s only album to date, Oms has songwriting chops that sort of put the band just outside the general circle of hardcore.
Like Kimachi, the band is able to play a variety of styles, from noisy hardcore to traditional hardcore punk to what almost seems like mathcore in some places, and essentially everything in between. The title track of Oms—a twenty-one minute track, by the way—starts off chaotic and feedback-ridden, as if they’re about to burst into a great impression of Converge or Dillinger, but instead opt for some generally odd hardcore (complete with spoken word) that, after some time, gains a sort of pop punk and 80s hardcore vibe a la Descendents and Bouncing Souls. If that wasn’t enough of a change, there’s some really cool, free jazz-ish saxophone parts to add some change to the sound.
The rest of the album is essentially a blend of traditional hardcore punk mixed with some well-done noise rock elements (with a few doses of mathcore here and there), though these tracks are a lot shorter than the title track. Still, though, it’s a cool listen; lead singer Jake Martin’s voice stays pretty clean, which I particularly enjoy just because of the skate punk aesthetic that brings to the table.
Musically, this is a solid band. OUT knows exactly what they’re doing when it comes to songwriting, and it’s very, very well done.
If you’ve been reading through this article waiting for something that will bash your brains in, look no further than our final entry today, Poured Out. This is…this is just brutal.
For some reason, Poured Out uses tags like “metalcore” and “pop punk” among others to describe their sound. I can’t really see either, though; when I think of “metalcore”, I tend to think of melodic metalcore like As I Lay Dying, which this is absolutely nothing like, and pop punk is most definitely not this band, and I mean that in the best of ways.
I’d suggest just listening to this and being amazed at how head-banging good hardcore can get, but if you want to be lazy and take my word for it, Poured Out is as if a seasoned deathgrind band decided to start playing hardcore instead. There’s lots of feedback, vocals that would sound perfect sportscasting a city-wide riot, and, frankly, some of the best songwriting I’ve heard from a band playing this style of hardcore.
Most of the time these type of bands rely on the groove and energy created from relatively simple songwriting to push themselves forward, but Poured Out puts a lot of time into every song. Their guitars use that chug-chug hardcore, sure, but there’s a lot more on top of that, and none of it sounds superfluous—it all works really well. The band isn’t afraid to speed things up and even get a little showy with their guitar work, yet they are guaranteed to play some slower jams just so you have something to mosh to.
Basically, Poured Out is perfect for working out, whether that includes rioting, moshing, lifting scraps of metal at the junk yard, or just hitting the weight machines.