Flesh & Bone Records, based out of Chicago, is an indie label that should be on the radar of anyone interested in ambitious, creative heavy music. This year alone we have already debuted tracks ranging from the brooding slowcore of Brady, to the upbeat, “posi-djent” of HARM LESS, the lush and loud shoegaze of Trench, and the outside-the-box art-rock mayhem of OroborO. The label (which has also been home to the highly-regarded post-metal collective Au Revoir, as well as Greet Death, who just released a great new record with Deathwish, Inc.) has passed from the rising star founder of Flesh & Bone Design, Brian Morgante to Dylan Hulett of Lume and Audiotree, and now it rests in the hands of Jake Morse, who also plays the role of drummer for three very exciting bands, the aforementioned Brady, the Chicago slowcore group Dead Sun, and the Salt Lake City shoegaze outfit No Sun.
The fifth band to premiere new tunes with Heavy Blog in 2019 brings yet another unique vibe to the table. The Washington, D.C. quartet Sideshow Cinema, who made their debut with Flesh & Bone in 2018 with their LP Palace, employs a warmly welcomed brand of balls-to-the-wall, throwback metalcore that breathes fresh life into this sometimes-maligned subgenre. Their chaotic sound should settle comfortably in with listeners raised on healthy doses of Botch, Norma Jean, Coalesce, and The Bled. The band includes among its members Mackenzie Gallagher, who co-owns the Flesh & Bone Records with Morse.
“Slime Forever” kicks off the duo with regularly-shifting guitarwork and frenetic pacing, keeping the listener enjoyably off-balance as it bobs and weaves through breathless stream of consciousness shredding accented by the energetic screaming of vocalist Josh Saleski. It’s followed by “Bend,” which doesn’t offer much letup as it tears along, bouncing back and forth from chaotic riffing to powerful grooves with an occasional moment of pit-opening catharsis. It’s not until the final minute that the band allows a few moments to come up for air, as “Bend” concludes with a slow dissolve into ambience.
Over the course of eight minutes, these two tracks serve as a reminder of why metalcore won the hearts of heavy music fans back in its early days, before oversaturation and considerable bloat opened the door for often-deserved derision. Sideshow Cinema shows that there is still plenty of punch left in this arm of the metal genre, and it draws its power from sticking to what works and doing it well. You can pick up previous releases from Sideshow Cinema via their Bandcamp page