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.”
These posts are written by: Jake Tiernan
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.
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.
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.
In 2012 Converge released their most recent full length, All We Love We Leave Behind. The album was a tremendous banger (for lack of a better word) from start to finish, highlighting all the greatest aspect of Converge’s sound in one gargantuan assault. It was a peak for the band, both emotionally and musically, and showed a more diverse and channelled Converge than ever previously heard before. Fans and critics alike praised the album, clamoring for more Converge, but were instead presented with about a billion re-releases. A growing curiosity over the future of new music began to arise in the face of a lack of news, and some (me) began to worry slightly about the future of the band.
There are some punk bands that still manage to subvert the grand cliches, both musical and stylistic, that overtook punk. One of those bands is Canadian hardcore/punk/experimental heroes Fucked Up, a band who has never shied away from pushing punk to its very furthest limits, effectively achieving the goals punk initially set out to accomplish. Recently I was lucky enough to talk to their drummer Jonah Falco about exactly what inspires Fucked Up to constantly push the boundaries of punk music, as well as their most recent release, Year of the Snake.
To simply sum Darkest Hour up to yet another ATG-core band would not only be insulting, but wildly inaccurate as well. The band has been different ever since their inception, as they started much more closely in line with the hardcore-metal crossover of their heyday in the mid-90’s. Eventually this would change, of course. The band began to overlay their blistering metallic-hardcore with melo-death riffs galore, showing that they were not only impassioned Integrity fans, but At The Gates fans as well. The hardcore always lingered though, driving their sound to blistering speeds and intensities that other bands simply could not keep up with. At the time it was remarkable in its own right, the perfect marriage between death metal and hardcore, but soon it led to just as many bands trying to rip them off as closely as many before them had tried to rip off In Flames.
We here at Heavy Blog are right there with you and to help ease your pain we offer you this playlist of screamo smash hits to help you really wallow in the loneliness. So put on some headphones, buy yourself some vegan chocolates from your favorite local spot, and settle into the soul crushing loneliness of it all. God knows the rest of us will be, so enjoy it while you can.
Sloth Herder never falls back on pop hooks or choruses, but instead chooses to conjure massive, misanthropic atmospheres in all of their songs. In doing so they may blast through crusty, grinding sections during one moment, then launch into sludgy, haunting post metal sections in the next. The styles may seem drastically different, and realistically are, but Sloth Herder always manages to tie it together with a slew of death metal riffs and a vocalist that wouldn’t sound out of place in a black metal band. Truly, they proved themselves to be a chameleon of sorts on their debut and on their follow up, No Pity, No Sunrise, they only continue down that path.
Below you can find the exclusive streaming link to their crushing second record, a record that I highly recommend peeping.
At the Drive-In was unlike any else I had ever heard; they had a sense of angst that was so perfectly channeled that it barely seemed angsty somehow. It was raw emotion, but wrapped in ribbons and bundles that allowed it to be easily digestible, even more so than the Dischord Material I idolized (and still do). The band was artful and careful with how they did everything and, at the time, it seemed revolutionary. Now, some 4 or 5 years after that first initial meeting, I am sitting here re-visiting their discography in full, struck not only by its timelessness but by the band’s sonic evolution from release to release. Below is an exploration of those releases, their inner workings, and why they have retained such heavy, influential status among the post hardcore community.