The Mothership Tour landed in New York City some days ago, hitting Webster Hall with acts Dance Gavin Dance, Hail The Sun, Good Tiger and The Contortionist. Check out these shots from that night and, if you haven’t yet, check out all of the bands’ latest releases, including DGD’s brand new record, Mothership.
“All my heroes went to hell.”
Knocked Loose just made my iPod the heaviest thing I own. Their debut EP Laugh Tracks is the hardest thing you’ll be part of this year. Kentucky just went from zero to brutal with these guys.
Detroit is still producing American made things these days. The latest export from the Motor City is a boiling maelstrom of old school hardcore for today’s problems. Turncoat is true to the ideals of the scene holding nothing back in their self titled debut EP. The need for self-respect, hard work, and honesty is thrown in your face, while the disenchantment in the delusion of the American Dream is shoved down your throat.
WEBSTER HALL, NYC – On the last day of their tour together (April 17th), I went to see August Burns Red, Between the Buried and Me and Good Tiger. I’ll be honest and admit that I didn’t do my homework. I had no clue what Good Tiger was, who was in it, or what they sound like. The groovy, almost funky, sometimes metalcore, always catchy sounds came fast and unexpectedly. Elliot Coleman’s high pitched singing mostly stayed constant even when the instrumentals started picking up the pace. This was the perfect melodic opener to Between the Buried and Me’s rhythmic brand of progressive metal.
We did a lot in 2015. We photographed acts like Sworn In, The Plot In You, and Defeater and ranted to you about what we thought were some of the most fantastic records and some of the biggest flops. We got to chat with local bands and big names alike, from hanging out with Zoumé at punk landmarks on St. Marks Place to chatting with Mike Hranica of The Devil Wears Prada backstage at Mayhem Fest. Not only have we worked hard and had a lot of fun, but we’ve gotten the opportunity to see some amazing shows and meet inspiring people. After all that, we closed the year not only by giving you our Top 10 HXC Approved Albums of the year, but we also attended NYC-based metalcore band Surfacing‘s album release show at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. Check out some photos from the band’s set after the jump, and be sure to check out their debut record, Chaos Through Clarity.
New York City, although glamorous in pop culture, can truly be a dark and often broken down, sprawling concrete hell. Metalcore newcomers Surfacing invite us to the depths of this New York they call home. Their first full-length album, Chaos Through Clarity, is many things, including more polished than you would expect from a first release (and rightfully so, as it was a five year journey from start to finish). It is agonizing, furious and fast. It is also slow, hopeful and, of course, chaotic.
Surfacing’s first record is an eccentric combination of metalcore sounds. Songs like “Pitch Black” and “Circles” offer formulaic, softer sounds with alternating clean and growling vocals that are more common with many of the current top bands of the genre. They are the weakest parts of the album. But the genericness of these moments serves to make the rest of the album stand out as stronger and more creative.
“Thank You For The Inspiration” is a very odd song, but I don’t mean to say it isn’t good. It has some frenzied riffs that seem misplaced and a symphonic section coming out of nowhere, plus a wide range of vocals. It’s all over the place, but Ryan Mayorga (vocals) makes the different styles work. He transitions well from singing into a maelstrom of shrieks and unintelligible anger in this song and throughout the album. The intensity rises and falls until it grinds to a halt with the intro of “In the Wake Of Armageddon.” Slow and melodic, the soft melody heralds in the drums and the vocals. It is pleasantly surprising.
At first, the dizzying mixture of sounds suggests that Surfacing is trying too hard to appeal to everyone with their first album. Then it seems as if they went overboard with musical elements that don’t belong. And then, when you get to the end and you realize that title track “Chaos Through Clarity” boasts what its name implies. Surfacing took half a decade to get to this amalgamation of metalcore. The spectrum of vocals and styles is puzzling, but somehow, for the most part, flows well from song to song. There are little pieces of music that don’t need to be in this album, but with them in it you get an organized madness. Surfacing is refreshingly different from the majority of their contemporaries and this record proves they can compete.
by David Marulanda
In the cozy, dim, musty room known as The Studio at Webster Hall, a frenzied soldout crowd gathered on December 12th to let loose and blow off steam to the varying hardcore sounds of Kublai Khan, Fit For An Autopsy, Counterparts and The Acacia Strain on their Tune Low Die Slow Tour. Leaving out the inefficiency of the venue’s staff, which kept concert goers waiting to enter for over forty five minutes, The Studio is the perfect host for shows like this. There was no shortage of stage climbers, crowd surfers and mic grabbers. The low, crowded stage and the lack of barricades help make shows here intimate, family affairs.
My night began with Kublai Khan, although local New York band Newcomer was supposed to have played ahead of them. I will never know. The opinionated Texan band named after a merciless Mongol emperor blasted their hopeful message of change and togetherness without over-the-top showmanship. As much as I love watching manic stage antics, Matt Honeycutt’s (vocals) onstage presence is enough to hold anyone’s attention without it. This band is about what needs to be said, and Honeycutt says it well. Bodies went flying and when Kublai Khan performed “Color Code” there could not have been more energy flowing through The Studio.
Fit For An Autopsy came on next and the room could not have felt smaller. The eclectic combination of deathcore blast beats and melodic death metal grooves saw the pit expand and consume the vast majority of the space. You could feel the anger radiating from it and the stage. There was no room in The Studio for anything other than the palpable disgust in humanity that is a mainstay in FFAA’s music.
Fit For An Autopsy’s endurance is remarkable. Joe Badolato (vocals) steadily released thunderous low growls as his bandmates furiously played their speeding instrumentals through the set with minimal pauses, one of which was to call a fight that had broken out as “pussy shit” that no one wanted to see, and another to announce “Out to Sea” to a cheering crowd.
The cheers continued as the lively, bouncy Counterparts excited The Studio with their relentless energy and upbeat sounds. I didn’t know what to expect from the Canadians, but I wasn’t disappointed. Their metalcore sounds were in cheery (well, cheerier) opposition to the lower, heavier bands before them. The most impressive aspect of their set was the crowd’s insanity. I can’t remember the last time I saw a band that wasn’t headlining make the entire venue move.
The crowd turned it up almost to the ceiling when Massachusetts deathcore veterans The Acacia Strain unleashed their hopeless, godless and ruthless auditory punishment. Vincent Bennett (vocals) lugged around the stage with an empty, crazed stare spitting up and down, throwing water on the crowd. When he spoke between songs he sounded honest and caring. During songs, he was the embodiment of hate. When he bellowed, “I am the end of the world,” he was surrounded by fans on stage shouting it as rabidly as he was. Other songs played were recent and old favorites including “JFC” and “4×4” as well as songs from Coma Witch. When you’re only playing hits the crowd, will always lose their shit.
Bennett walked off stage leaving the rest of the band to cool down the crowd with instrumentals. As I walked out I passed a guy with a blood-covered fist showing a friend, claiming none of the blood was his. That’s what an evening in a cramped room with hardcore bands will do to you. The tour is now over, but three out of the four bands are on the rise. Keep an eye out for Kublai Khan, Fit For An Autopsy, and Counterparts while you continue enjoying The Acacia Strain.
by David Marulanda
Some bands give the impression that they are trying too hard to be something they’re not with a strained sound suggestive of poor attempts at mimicry. Others try too hard to recreate the things that gave them prior success; their previous hits could have been the result of a one time creative flurry of greatness. Born of Osiris, thankfully, are not trying too hard with their latest full-length, Soul Sphere. Unfortunately, it seems as if they’re not trying much at all.
The album, as a whole, blends together and without paying close attention it’s hard to notice when one song ends and the next begins. The tracks are all melodic and fast, which is what you’d want from a metalcore band that’s more metal than -core. There is an overabundance of synth with many of the songs having an orchestral feel. There’s a lot going on all at once, but it’s as if BOO found something they liked and threw it into the majority of the record. At least the instrumentals are catchy.
That doesn’t mean that all of Soul Sphere is entirely mediocre. There are some standout sections. “Warlords” takes the repetitive sounds of the record and makes them work. It’s one of the few songs on the album that hones in on something less generic with hope for a more innovative future BOO release. “The Other Half of Me,” “Throw Me In The Jungle,” and “Free Fall” among other tracks offer nothing new. An average album is hiding under relentless drumming and excessive guitar effects with glimmers of a good album hidden beneath that. Born of Osiris were once innovative, and that offers hope for something much better than Soul Sphere. Once something new comes along this will be off your playlist if it ever got there in the first place.
by David Marulanda
Saturday the 24th, on a most pleasant October evening at the Gramercy Theatre, Stray From The Path unleashed their frenzied, opinionated brand of hardcore. Opening acts Deez Nuts, Major League, Being As An Ocean, and Comeback Kid had the crowd riled up and on their feet first.
As soon as “Outbreak,” Stray From The Path’s set opener, came on, fists and kicks started flying. The energy in the pit was nothing other than rabid and the atmosphere was violently endearing. There was a cozy, familiar vibe. The audience was having fun, and so was SFTP.
A little less than half of SFTP’s stage time was devoted to tracks from Subliminal Criminals, while the remainder was reserved for old hits. “Badge and A Bullet” and its sequel made the cut. So did “Bring it Back to the Streets,” as performed by Comeback Kid’s Andrew Neufeld and Stray From the Path’s Drew York. “Outbreak” and “Damien” were also in the mix. York was passionately moving and jumping around the stage, but his voice wasn’t projecting much. Every now and then he’d burst out of an almost mumble with furious and loud lyrics that reminded me of why I like the band in the first place. It was disappointing to not have him be as clear and enunciate as well as he does on record, but you don’t necessarily go to a hardcore show for the singing. The music is important and so is feeling comfortable letting out pent up anger. Stray From The Path deliver accordingly.
“First World Problem Child” was a crowd pleaser, eliciting shouts of “shut the fuck up” to assist York with the chorus. At every opportunity to get in on the action, the crowd was jumping over itself to reach an outstretched hand to the mic and add their voices to York’s. The evening ended with one more song, but it was Stray From the Path who offered to perform an extra one instead of the crowd demanding it. All in all, the performance suggests this is a band you want to see if you’re a fan of punishing pits along with loud and fast hardcore beats. It’s not a band you want to see if you are expecting them to sound like their recorded works, lyrically or even musically. The sound is much, much rawer live.
by David Marulanda