Black Sheep Wall - I Am God Songs (2008)
AYYYYYYY HOWDY YOU FUCKING WEEBS I WAS PERSUADED BY THE STAFFINGTON OF THIS WEBBY TO WRITE AN ARTICLE FOR Y’ALL AND I WAS LIKE “LMAO SURE WHY NOT MY BOSS IS OUT OF THE OFFICE TODAY AND IT’S BETTER THAN SPENDING THE NEXT 4 HOURS SHITPOSTING BECAUSE YESTERDAY SOME 14 YEAR OLD KID IN NEW JERSEY NAMED NOAH OR SOME SHIT PROLLY USED A ROBOT AND BOUGHT 1500000 PAIRS OF THE NIKES I WANTED AND NOW I HAVE TO FIND MEANING IN SOMETHING
IF YOU’RE READING THIS NOAH YOU’RE A WORMINGTON I HOPE YOUR MOM CATCHES YOU BLASTING ROPE TO OVERWATCH FAN ART.
(EDIT: IN THE AMOUNT OF TIME IT'S TAKEN FOR THESE WALKING BURIED ALIVE BASKETBALL JERSEYS TO RELEASE THIS FUCKING ARTICLE I’VE MANAGED TO COP 3 PAIRS OF THESE SHOES ON RESTOCKS LMAO CATCH YA MANS FLEXGOD APOCALYPSE LOOKING LIKE A MONOCHROME VERSION OF KYLE REESE ON THE GRAM @THEREAINTNOFUTUREINTHIS)
SORRY WAS THAT AN ABRUPT INTRO GOOD BECAUSE *SEGUE* BLACK SHEEP WALL’S I AM GOD SONGS HAS THE MOST ABRUPT INTRO TO ANY ALBUM I EVER HEARD IT'S JUST LIKE THIS GUY TALKING TO HIS MOMS OR SOME SHIT THEN DEREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNN
DOOON DOOON DOON DOOONE DOONE
I REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME I HEARD THAT I WAS LIKE “YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” AND THEN I SPENT THE NEXT HOUR IN MY OLD DORM ROOM PUNCHING MY WALL AND PLAYING IT AS LOUD AS I POSSIBLY COULD OUT OF MY SHITTY PORTABLE SPEAKERS BECAUSE MY R.A. LIVED IN THE ROOM THAT CONNECTED TO MINE AND SHE WAS ALWAYS ARGUING WITH HER BOYFRIEND WHO WAS A MAJOR GOON THIS GUY HAD A MOTORCYCLE HELMET WITH A MOHAWK ON IT AND AN EYEBROW RING I HATED THAT GUY SO MUCH.
LOL I HAD ONE OF THEIR SHIRTS AND I WORE IT UNDER A BLACK WINDBREAKER EVERY DAY IN THE SPRING/SUMMER AFTER MY FRESHMAN YEAR BECAUSE 2013 WAS A SHITTY TIME FOR EVERYONE.
SO BEFORE WE GET STARTED IMMA PUT IN ONE OF THOSE PARTS WHERE ITS LIKE “HERES SOME BACKGROUND INFO THAT I GOT FROM WIKIPEDIA” BUT LETS BE REAL ANY BAND WITH A WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE ISNT COOL UNLESS ITS LIKE 5 SENTENCES LONG AND OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY A BANDMATE SO HERES EVERYTHING I GATHERED OVER THE YEARS ABOUT BLACK SHEEP WALL:
- THEY CANNOT KEEP A LINE UP TO SAVE THEIR LIFE. I THINK EVERY LP THEY’VE RELEASED HAD A DIFFERENT VOCALIST
-THEY GOT THEIR NAME FROM STARCRAFT OR SOMETHING EVEN THOUGH THEY'RE NOT FROM KOREA
-THEY PLAY IN DROP G
- THEYRE LINKED TO ADMIRAL ANGRY, I GUESS THEY HAVE A FEW OF THE SAME MEMBERS AT SOME TIME OR SOMETHING?
- (MINI ADMIRAL ANGRY BUSTER MINI REVIEW: IT RULES. IT’S LIKE THE GROOVIEST PARTS OF A MESSHUGAH SONG BUT IF THEY HAD A POSSUM DOING VOCALS INSTEAD OF A REALLY ANGRY SPEAK-AND-SPELL.
APPARENTLY THEIR GUITAR PLAYER CAME UP WITH THIS IDEA OF CONVERTING 5 STRING BASSES INTO 7 STRING GUITARS OR SOMETHING WILD LIKE THAT. HE DIED BEFORE THE ALBUM CAME OUT AND IT'S UNBELIEVABLY SAD. SORRY TO GET DOWN ON Y'ALL HERES MORE DIATRIBES ABOUT A SLUDGE-METALCORE ALBUM FROM THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION)
GOTTAMN I'M BAD AT THIS IDK WHATEVER SHUT UP FUCK YOU.
IMMA JUST GO TRACK BY TRACK FOR THIS ALBUM BECAUSE I'M ALREADY KINDA LOSING FOCUS AND SO FAR I'VE ONLY REVIEWED THE FIRST 11 SECONDS OF THE ALBUM AND I'M ALREADY LIKE 600 WORDS IN LMAO
OKAY LIKE I SAID BEFORE THE INTRO TO THIS SONG IS FUCKING FIRE. THIS HONESTLY MAY BE THE HEAVIEST SONG I’VE EVER HEARD. THE “DEVOUT DIVINEEE” PART INTO THE BREAKDOWN MAKES ME WANT TO HANG MYSELF IT'S SO HEAVY. ALSO THE ENDING PART SOUNDS LIKE AN ACACIA STRAIN SONG EXCEPT IT DOESN’T SUCK.
IF I WAS A WEENIE WHO WAS TRYING TO ACT OVERLY VERBOSE I WOULD SAY SOMETHING LIKE “THE RUMBLING BASS BECKONS TO AN UNDERLYING PRESSURE TO THE LISTENER, WITH THE UNBELIEVABLY DETUNED GUITARS ACTING MORE AS PERCUSSIVE AGENTS TO ASSAULT THE EAR, LETTING UP ONLY FOR THE OCCASIONAL RELIEF FROM THE SONIC ONSLAUGHT, WHILE THE VOCALS HOWL IN A MID-PITCHED SNARL, ACTING NOT OUT OF THE PROTOTYPICAL ‘I'M TOUGHER THAN YOU’ METAL MINDSET BUT INSTEAD RUMINATING ON THE PERDITION OF LIFE, A SEEMINGLY ENDLESS ABEYANCE OF SUFFERING THAT ONE CAN EITHER PRETEND TO OVERCOME OR ACCEPT THE FUTILITY OF ACTING AGAINST IT AND SURRENDER YOUR OWN AGENCY TO THE CYNICISM OF THE UNIVERSE” BUT I SAVE BEING A GARRULOUS PRICK FOR WHEN I'M TALKING TO PEOPLE IN PERSON SO COME CATCH ME UNDERNEATH A BRIDGE IN THE VALLEY IF YOU WANT ME TO CYBERBULLY YOU IRL (THIS MEANS YOU CESAR)
CARE BY CARCINOGENIC
THIS IS THE SONG WITH THE ONE RELATIVELY FAST PART RIGHT? IDK I'M LITERALLY WRITING THIS AT WORK I DON’T KNOW THIS SHIT OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD BUT FROM WHAT I REMEMBER IT'S ALMOST A METALCORE SONG I THINK IDK THIS ALBUM CAME OUT IN 2008 I'LL FORGIVE THEM.
LOL I'M HONESTLY SHOCKED THEY NEVER SOLD ANY OF THOSE SHIRTS WITH THEIR LYRICS IN SIZE 5 TRILLION FONT ON IT
LMAO THIS SONG'S TITLE IS LIKE WHEN WE ALL HAD THOSE PHONES WITH THE QWERTY KEYPADS THAT SLID OUT? THIS IS THE UNIVERSAL “I'M FRUSTRATED” THING YOU’D DO WHEN YOU WERE 16 LOL REMEMBER THAT THING EVERYONE DID WHERE YOU’D MASH BUTTONS BECAUSE YOU’RE GETTING X-RATED TEXTS DURING ENGLISH CLASS OR BECAUSE YOUR SCHOOL RAN OUT OF THOSE FIZZY JUICES OR WHATEVER LOL DUDE REAL TALK I HAVE NO IDEA HOW MACBETH ENDED BECAUSE INSTEAD OF PAYING ATTENTION WHILE MY JUNIOR YEAR ENGLISH CLASS READ IT I WAS DOING THE AFOREMENTIONED
THIS SONG IS DUMB LONG AND HAS A REALLY SICK INTRO WHERE IT HAS LIKE A NOT-REALLY-OFF-TIME-BUT-IT-SORTA-SOUND-LIKE-IT FLOW. THIS SONG KINDA REMINDS ME OF A POST-ROCK TRACK ONLY IT’S NOT PLAYED BY A BUNCH OF SKINNYFAT DUDES WITH BEARDS WEARING PLAID SHIRTS FROM TJ MAXX. LMAO I’D CALL IT POST-METAL BUT ACCORDING TO THAT GUY FROM ROSETTA POST-METAL DOESN’T EXIST BECAUSE “METAL HASN’T ENDED YET” LMAO THAT’S A REAL QUOTE THIS GUY IS A TEACHER AT A SCHOOL I THINK (ROSETTA IS GREAT THOUGH NO OFFENSE DUDE JUST LEARN WHAT WORDS MEAN PLZ ALSO THE GUY FROM ROSETTA LOOKS LIKE ONE OF THE MYTHBUSTERS AND NO ONE EVER BRINGS THAT UP)
ALL JOKING ASIDE THIS IS PROBABLY THE BEST SONG ON THE ALBUM I THINK IDK? IT'S EITHER THIS OR “NIHILITY.” THIS ONE IS ALSO THE MOST EMO OUT OF THEM WHICH KINDA MAKES SENSE FOR SOME REASON? THERE’S CLEAN SINGING AND SPOKEN WORD PARTS AND THERE’S A BRIDGE WHERE IT'S LIKE “THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS THAT I SOMETIMES THOUGHT IT WAS NOT SO MUCH THAT I WANTED TO DIE AS THAT I WANTED TO GO ON NOT LIVING IN MY PRESENT MATTER” WHICH SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE IN THE INSTAGRAM BIO OF SOMEONE WITH A TATTOO OF A DAGGER ON THEIR ARM BUT WHO WORKS SELLING VANS AT THE MALL OR SOMETHING (SORRY IF I JUST OFFENDED THE ENTIRE MUSIC SCENE IN CONNECTICUT)
THE GUY IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS HAS THE SAME VOICE AS ME AND IT ALWAYS KINDA FREAKS ME OUT. ALSO THIS SONG’S NAME SUCKS SO MUCH IT'S KIND OF BAFFLING. TRACK IS GOOD THOUGH I LIKED THE DOUBLE BASS PART BECAUSE I HAVE A SLIPKNOT TATTOO SO NATURALLY I LIKE MID-PACED DOUBLE BASS PARTS AND WISH MORE BANDS BESIDES JOY WOULD EMBRACE THE FACT THAT SLIPKNOT IS THE MAIN REASON 75% OF METAL BANDS THAT CAME OUT SINCE 2004 EXIST AND USE THE BEER KEG/BASEBALL BAT COMBO
BRUH IT'S SUCH A SLOW DAY AT THE OFFICE I'M REWATCHING THAT VIDEO OF THE RUSSIAN NAVY SEALS WHOMST ARE ACTUALLY LIL SEALS AWW LOOK AT THOSE LIL GUYS WHEN DO YOU THINK THE RUSSIANS WILL TEACH DONALD TRUMP TO WEAR A CUTE HAT AND SPIN IN A CIRCL-OH WAIT IT'S ALREADY HAPPENED *HITCHCOCK SAMPLE THAT’S ALWAYS IN FUTURE SONGS PLAYS WHILE THE CAMERA ZOOMS IN AND OUT ON MY FACE*
TEN FUCKING BILLION
BRUH I LOVE THIS TRACK THE LAST “I FUCKING HAAAAAAAATE YOU” PART IS SO FUCKING HEAVY. I FUCKED UP MY HAND PUNCHING THE ROOF OF MY OLD BUICK CENTURY TO THAT PART BECAUSE I HAD AUBURN HAIR FOR A WHILE AND OBVIOUSLY WASN’T MAKING GOOD CHOICES.
OKAY THIS SONG IS DEF THE WEAKEST ON THE ALBUM AND THERE'S LITERALLY TWO TRACKS OF JUST STATIC AND BASS LINES. I GET THE WHOLE “OH IF YOU LISTEN TO THE ALBUM FRONT TO BACK YOU GET INTO THIS MINDSET WHERE IT’S ACTUALLY TERRIFYING” THING BUT LIKE, NAH BRUH THEY GOT PEEWEE HERMAN DOING GUEST VOCALS. I DON’T DIG THINGS THAT HAVE CAVEATS TO ENJOY, LIKE “OH YOU NEED TO READ THE SCRIPT TO UNDERSTAND WHY NOTHING RIDLEY SCOTT DOES MAKES SENSE ANYMORE” OR “OH YOU NEED TO BE SMOKING ANGEL DUST TO BE SCARED BY A 20 SOMETHING YEAR OLD METAL KID FROM CALIFORNIA MAKING DOODLEBOB VOICES OVER A 4 BEAT”
I'M SORRY IF I'VE THROWN IN TOO MANY ANECDOTES ABOUT MY LIFE BUT YOU NEED BACKGROUND TO UNDERSTAND ART MY GUY LIKE REAL QUICK IMMA SPIT SOME OSCAR WILDE KNOWLEDGE AT YOU BUT ACCORDING TO WILDE, ART HAS ABSOLUTELY NO PURPOSE OR MEANING OTHER THAN THE EXPRESSED INTENTION OF THE ARTIST SO @ EVERYONE WHO THINKS LED ZEPPELIN IS ART LMAO @ U BECAUSE THEIR INTENT WAS JUST TO GET AWAY WITH THROWING STING RAYS AT UNDERAGE GIRLS AND STEALING FROM DEAD BLACK PEOPLE (YOU CAN PUT A DISCLAIMER HERE IF YOU WANT BUT I SAID WHAT I SAID)
WHATEVER THOUGH THIS ALBUM IS SICK AND IS WHAT EVERY DEATHCORE BAND WISHES THEY COULD BE WHICH IS FUNNY SINCE IT'S NOT REALLY DEATHCORE BUT MORE LIKE SLUDGEWAVE OR WHATEVER IF YOU CALL IT DOWNTEMPO IM GOING TO KNOCK THE ADIDAS SIDE STRIPES OFF OF YOU.
I GIVE THIS 4 TEENAGERS WEARING “RIP MITCH LUCKER” SHIRTS WITH THE SLEEVES CUT OFF WONDERING WHEN GUTTURAL VOCALS COME IN OUTTA 5 OR LIKE THE LETTER GRADE OF B+/A- DEPENDING ON HOW MUCH CLASS PARTICIPATION BLACK SHEEP WALL HAS.
I FUCK WIT THE MAJORITY OF IT YOU CAN PROLLY SKIP THE LAST SONG BUT IDK MAYBE YOU’LL FIND IT FUNNY OR SOMETHING I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU STUDDED BELT WEARING DWEEBS DO WITH YOUR TIME.
The American Metalcore Project Presents: I UNIRONICALLY THINK NINTENDOCORE WAS THE BEST METAL SUBGENRE OF THE ’00s
(PICTURED: ME RN)
WHAT’S POPPING YOU WALKING VEIN WINDBREAKERS?!!?!?!1??
IT’S ME, YOUR BOY, MR. “IM GOING TO POP DANE COOK IN THE GRILL BECAUSE I DON’T WANT THAT COWARD TO EVER FORGET THAT JAMES ROLFE GOT SHOOTERS”
THIS ISN’T HYPERBOLE DON’T GET IT FUCKED UP I WOULD ABSOLUTELY HIT DANE COOK IN THE HEAD WITH A PADLOCK AND IF ANY OF YOU THINK THAT MY BELLICOSE ATTITUDE TOWARDS A MANCHILD CELEBRITY FROM 2006 BECAUSE HE INSULTED THE ANGRY VIDEO GAME NERD IS UNWARRANTED YOU ARE A PIGEON-HEARTED CASUIST AND YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT NINTENDOCORE. FUCK IT JASON SUDEKIS MIGHT JUST CATCH A FADE TOO BECAUSE HE KINDA LOOKS LIKE HIM
ANYWAYS IN MY LAST LIL ARTICLE I TALKED ABOUT HOW I WAS GOING TO WRITE ABOUT NINTENDOCORE IF PEOPLE EXPRESSED INTEREST IN MY DOING SO BUT LOL JOKES ON YOU GUYS I’M GOING TO DO IT ANYWAY. IT’S NOT LIKE Y’ALL CAN DO ANYTHING TO STOP ME I PROLLY GET MORE SHARES/VIEWS ON THIS WEBSITE THAN SOME OF THE ACTUAL WRITERS* ON HERE, ESPECIALLY THE ONE THAT HATES NINTENDOCORE BUT INSISTS THAT THE FIRST FEW AVENGED SEVENFOLD RECORDS WERE GOOD LMAO FOH IF I WANTED TO HEAR BLEEDING THROUGH COSPLAYING AS GUNS ’N’ ROSES I’D JUST LISTEN TO THAT SHITTY COMPILATION RECORD WHERE DILLINGER BUTCHERED “MY MICHELLE” AND UNEARTH FORGOT THE LYRICS TO “IT’S SO EASY”
(*ITS CESAR LMAO ILL BE THE INSTIGATOR OF YOUR FIRST LITERARY BEEF SKRRRTTT)
OKAY NOW THAT I PROBABLY LOST ALL YOUR INTERESTS IN THIS INCREDIBLY ESOTERIC SUBJECT LET ME REEL YOU BACK IN WITH SOME SCENE SETTING:
IT’S THE MID-LATE 2000s: YOUR WCW HAS COONTAIL HAIR AND A STACK OF TWLOHA BRACELETS ON HER ARMS. SUICIDE SILENCE ONLY HAS TWO RECORDS OUT AND THEY’RE NOT THAT BAD. PRESIDENT BUSH WAS THE WORST PRESIDENT OF YOUR LIFETIME. GUYS WITH GAUGES WHO PLAY DRUMS IN DEATHCORE BANDS HAVE CRUNK SIDE PROJECTS (AS OPPOSED TO NOW WHERE EVERY BAND THAT TRIED TO RIP OFF NORTHLANE HAS AT LEAST 3 SOUNDCLOUD RAPPERS IN THEM)
THIS IS THE AGE OF ZANYCORE.
WHAT’S ZANYCORE, YOU ASK?
ZANYCORE WAS BASICALLY JUST MATHCORE PLAYED BY SKINNY KIDS WHO WORE WHITE BELTS AND MADE MERCH WITH RUGRATS CHARACTERS EATING EACH OTHER OR SOMETHING AND ALMOST ALL OF THEM HADABANDNAMETHATWASASENTENCEWRITTENASONEWORD
ZANYCORE WAS A WEIRD GENRE BECAUSE IT RANGED FROM REALLY BAD MEME MUSIC LIKE IWRESTLEDABEARONCE WHERE THEIR ENTIRE SCHTICK WAS JUST “LMAO SO RANDUM1!!1 xDDDD” TO REALLY, GENUINELY GOOD BANDS LIKE DUCK DUCK GOOSE THAT WOULD HAVE SURVIVED THE GREAT SCENE PURGE OF 2013 IF THEIR BAND MEMBERS DIDN’T LOOK LIKE DEZ & NATE (IM COMPLETELY SERIOUS THE FIRST DUCK DUCK GOOSE ALBUM IS EASILY IN MY TOP 20 RECORDS OF ALL TIME AND THEIR SIDE PROJECT RAP BAND KDNPRS HOLDS THE DISTINCTION OF BEING THE ONLY RAP-ROCK BAND IN HISTORY THAT DOESN’T SUCK)
LMAO I PROBABLY JUST GAVE AT LEAST 35 PEOPLE ’NAM FLASHBACKS OF WHEN THEIR MYSPACE NAMES WERE LIKE “xMELISSAxMISERYx” OR “jasonatethelochnessmonster” OR SOME SHIT BUT ANY IDK MY POINT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THAT ZANYCORE AND NINTENDOCORE WERE LIKE COUSIN GENRES SINCE THEY WERE OSTENSIBLY THE SAME THING EXCEPT ONE GENRE WOULD HAVE SOMEONE PLAYING A GAMEBOY AS AN INSTRUMENT AND THE OTHER ONE WOULD HAVE A MYSPACE PHOTO ALBUM OF UNDERAGE SCENE GIRLS HOLDING SIGNS WITH THEIR NAMES ON THEM BUT I’M REALLY BAD AT STAYING ON TRACK WITH THESE THINGS BECAUSE TRYING TO STRUCTURE AN EDITORIAL ON THE FACT THAT WHEN I WAS 16 I REALLY LIKED CHIPTUNE BREAKDOWNS IS KINDA HARD YA FEEL ME?
WHATEVER IT’S NINTENDOCORE TIME NOW SO I’M JUST GONNA GIVE YOU THE SPARKNOTES VERSION OF THE BANDS THAT OCCUPIED THE RELATED VIDEOS SECTION OF YOUTUBE EVERY TIME I TRIED TO G OFF ON SOME HORSE THE BAND TRACK WHILE I WAS WAITING FOR MY FRIENDS TO STOP USING MY HOUSE AS A PUBLIC BATHROOM *PUTS POWERGLOVES ON BOTH FISTS AND WINDMILL MOSHES SO FAST THE MOTOROLA RAZR FLIES FROM YOUR HANDS AND BREAKS AGAINST THE WALL OF THE AMITY TEEN CENTER*
ALSO SPOILER I’M NOT GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT THE BAND POWERGLOVE AT ALL LMAO BEING VAGUELY ASSOCIATED WITH VIDEOGAMES DOESN’T MAKE YOU NINTENDOCORE; PROGRAMMED SYNTH LEADS, QUARTER NOTE BREAKDOWNS, AND VOCALISTS WHO AREN’T GOOD AT SINGING OR SCREAMING MAKES YOU NINTENDOCORE
SKY EATS AIRPLANE:
NEXT TO HORSE THE BAND, SKY EATS AIRPLANE WAS PROBABLY THE MOST WELL-KNOWN BAND IN THE WHOLE NINTENDOCORE MOVEMENT. THERE WAS A 50% CHANCE THAT THIS SONG OR THE ACOUSTIC TRACK THEY DID WAS ON AT LEAST ONE OF YOUR FRIENDS IPOD NANO. APPARENTLY THIS ENTIRE RECORD WAS DONE BY TWO GUYS AND THE GUY WHOS RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THE INSTRUMENTS OWNS A LIGHTING COMPANY NOW SWEAR TO GOD LOL
SKY EATS AIRPLANE DID ANOTHER ALBUM AFTER THIS ONE (EDIT: APPARENTLY THEY ALSO DID AN EP TOO BUT I JUST LEARNED ABOUT IT NOW) AND THAT ONE WAS LESS NINTENDOCORISH AND MORE ALONG THAT THING THAT ASKING ALEXANDRIA AND ENTER SHIKARI DID WHERE IT WAS KINDA EDM-ISH ONLY WITH LESS COMPLETELY AWFUL PEOPLE INVOLVED (FOR THE MOST PART) LOL THE LEAD SINGLE FROM THAT ALBUM HAD THE GUY FROM OH, SLEEPER ON IT YALL REMEMBER OH, SLEEPER? I’M PRETTY SURE THERE’S PEOPLE WHO WERE IN OH, SLEEPER THAT FORGOT ABOUT OH, SLEEPER
SKY EATS AIRPLANE ALSO HAD JERRY ROUSH AS A VOCALIST FOR A WHILE AND THAT GUY HOLDS THE RECORD FOR MOST L’s TAKEN AS A MUSICIAN EVER SINCE HE WAS IN 2 BANDS THAT WERE SUPPOSED TO BLOW UP BUT NEVER DID (S.E.A. AND GLASSCLOUD, LMAO GLASSCLOUD) AND ALSO WAS A FILL IN FOR OF MICE AND MEN BUT GOT KICKED OUT ONCE THE ATTACK ATTACK! GUY CAME BACK UNTIL HE QUIT AGAIN FOR LIKE THE 300000TH TIME LOL SORRY JERRY
AS THE WORLD FADES:
THIS BAND WAS A ONE HIT WONDER OF YOUTUBE LOL. THE BEGINNING OF THIS SONG WAS KINDA SICK IN 2010 BUT JESUS CHRIST THIS GUY CAN’T SING AT ALL. HE SOUNDS LIKE HE’S ON THE PHONE TRYING TO ASK A RADIO HOST THE NAME OF A SONG HE DOESN’T KNOW BUT CAN REMEMBER THE MELODY OF. IDK THIS BAND IS P. FORGETTABLE BUT THIS TRACK IS OKAY AND IT AND IN THE END OF THIS VIDEO THERE IS A MICROSOFT POWERPOINT DISSOLVE AND AN xD FACE IN IT. THIS IS BASICALLY THE MUSICAL EQUIVALENT OF THOSE RAINBOW SOUR GUMMY RIBBONS (DRAW YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS)
OKAY SO CONFESSION TIME: I KNEW ABOUT IAMERROR WHEN I WAS YOUNGER BUT JUST LEARNED ABOUT MONOMATE IN LIKE, THE PAST COUPLE WEEKS. BASICALLY WHAT HAPPENED WAS THIS GUY NAMED PETE (HE WENT BY P33T BECAUSE 2010) HAD THIS OKAY BUT NOT GREAT INSTRUMENTAL BAND NAMED AFTER THAT ZELDA NPC BUT THEN DECIDED “WHATEVER I’LL DO VOCALS ON IT AND RE-RELEASE IT” AND IT’S LEGITIMATELY ONE OF, IF NOT THE BEST RECORDS IN THIS SUBGENRE.
GRAND BATTLE IS A REALLY FUN, NOSTALGIC, AND MELODIC NINTENDOCORE RECORD WITH A BUNCH OF REALLY WELL-DONE MELODIES IN IT I’M KINDA PISSED I DIDN’T FIND THIS WHEN I WAS 15 SO I COULD HAVE TALKED ABOUT IT MORE AND NOT HAVE IT SEEM SO WEIRD
AS PIRATES OFTEN DO:
LMAOOOOOOOOOOO DID Y’ALL REALLY EXPECT ME NOT TO MAKE A CONNECTICUT JOKE IN THIS BISH!? APOD WAS THE MOST POPPING BAND IN THE 203 DURING THE SCENE YEARS AND I HATED THE SHIT OUT OF THEM FOR REALLY STUPID REASONS LIKE FAKE RUMORS AND HOW THEIR HAIR LOOKED WHEN I COULD HAVE BEEN HATING THEM FOR LEGITIMATE REASONS LIKE BEING FROM THE CITY THAT MY HOMETOWN WOULD ROUTINELY CRUSH AT FOOTBALL EVERY THANKSGIVING GO GAELS FUCK THE RED RAIDERS
APOD DIDN’T IDENTIFY AS NINTENDOCORE BUT SOMEONE CALLED THEM THAT ON A FACEBOOK GROUP AND I HAD A CONNIPTION FIT AND ALMOST BROKE MY NES BELT BUCKLE IN HALF BECAUSE I HATED THEM SO MUCH
APOD WAS BASICALLY JUST THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA BUT A LITTLE LESS JESUS AND A LITTLE MORE GUITAR LEADS. I WAS AT THEIR LAST SHOW AND I GOT A BLACK EYE FROM SOME KID IN A MEMPHIS MAY FIRE SHIRT WHO WAS ACTUALLY SUPER NICE AND APOLOGIZED AND WHEN I FOUND THE KID I WENT TO THE SHOW WITH AND HE SAW MY EYE HE WENT BERSERK. LMAO HOMIE LAUNCHED HIMSELF INTO A FLYING FALCON PUNCH AND KNOCKED OUT A KID THAT WASN’T EVEN THE ONE WHO HIT ME LOL
I’M FRIENDS WITH ALL THE KIDS FROM APOD NOW THOUGH WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT 2011 ME WOULD HAVE BURST INTO FLAMES AT THE THOUGHT OF, SO I GUESS THAT JUST GOES TO SHOW THAT MAYBE YOU SHOULDN’T BE A DICK AND TRY TO FIGHT KIDS YOU BARELY KNOW AT CARNIVALS BECAUSE LIKE 5 YEARS LATER YOU COULD BE FRIENDS WITH THEM (SORRY ERIC)
WHEN I WAS MAKING THIS LIST I WAS THINKING ABOUT HOW I HATED THIS BAND SO MUCH BUT HAD FORGOTTEN WHY. BUT WHEN I FOUND THE LINK FOR THIS SONG I REMEMBERED. THIS IS THE MOST PAINFULLY 2010 4CHAN IMAGE I’VE SEEN IN MY LIFE. LMAO THIS IS FUCKING TRASH B. THIS SOUNDS LIKE ISETMYFRIENDSONFIRE BUT WITH SOMEONE PLAYING KIRBY’S DREAMLAND IN THE BACKGROUND. I’M WILLING TO BET AN UNOPENED CAN OF CRUNK JUICE THAT WHOEVER WAS INVOLVED IN THIS PROJECT BECAME A DUBSTEP DJ AND NOW IS ONE OF THOSE GUYS WHO WEARS SHIRTS WITH HOLES IN THEM AND DEFENDS XXXTENTACION IN FACEBOOK GROUPS
DESPITE GOING AS FAR AS COVERING HORSE THE BAND (THE COVER SUCKED BTW) THESE GUYS SOUNDED MORE LIKE THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA THAN ANYTHING ELSE BUT THEY HAD SOME BANGERS WHICH IS WEIRD BECAUSE BESIDES THAT EP ABOUT ZOMBIES THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA HAS EXACTLY ZERO BANGERS. LMAO THESE GUYS TRIED TO GET SERIOUS AND PULL A CODE ORANGE BY DROPPING THE “RABBITS” FROM THEIR NAME BUT NO ONE GAVE A SHIT BY THEN LOL.
ONE TIME WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER ONE OF MY FRIENDS GOT INTO A FIGHT WITH A KID AT A SHOW WHO WAS WEARING A 100DEADRABBITS SHIRT AND THAT 100DEADRABBITS KID GOT HIS SHIT ROCKED WHICH SHOULDN’T BE SURPRISING, GIVEN THAT THE FIGHT WAS BETWEEN A KID WEARING A PARKA WITH BASKETBALL SHORTS AND ANOTHER KID WHO, AS PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED, WAS WEARING A MAGENTA COLORED 100DEADRABBITS SHIRT.
THE SONG IN THE LINK WAS PRETTY COOL BUT I WAS EMBARRASSED EVERY TIME I SAW THE BACKGROUND LMAO WHICH SUICIDE GIRL WAS THIS? IMMA COME CLEAN I NEVER GOT THE WHOLE SUICIDE GIRL THING BUT I THINK IT WAS MOSTLY CUZ WHEN I WAS LIKE 11 I WATCHED A LOT OF THAT VH1 SHOW WHERE THE GUY FROM POISON MADE OUT WITH A BUNCH OF THEM AND IT KINDA CAUSED ME TO DEVELOP A TASTE AVERSION TO IT OR SOMETHING IDK I JUST DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO THINK ABOUT BRET MICHAELS AT ANY POINT DURING COURTSHIP IF POSSIBLE THANK YOU
THIS SHIT PISSED ME OFF SO MUCH BECAUSE I GOT DUPED INTO LISTENING TO THEM MORE THAN ONCE. THESE GUYS WERE ALWAYS BEING BROUGHT UP IN THE NINTENDOCORE SUBJECTS EVEN THOUGH THIS IS JUST A NICKASAUR CLONE BAND LMAO REMEMBER NICKASAUR? I WONDER WHAT THAT GUYS DOING NOW LOL HE’S PROBABLY IN A GROUPCHAT WITH ALEX EVANS AND THE READY SET COMPLAINING ABOUT HOW NO ONE AT THE PACSUNS THEY MANAGE TAKES THEM SERIOUSLY
HORSE THE BAND:
OKAY LET ME START OFF WITH A BOLD STATEMENT: HORSE THE BAND HAVE ONE OF THE GREATEST OEUVRES IN THE LAST DECADE.
NOW LET ME FOLLOW UP WITH AN EVEN BOLDER STATEMENT IN CASE YOU DORKS WERENT READY: HORSE THE BAND IS THE MOST UNDERRATED METAL/HARDCORE BAND EVER.
NOW REAL QUICK, LETS DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN “OVERLOOKED” AND “UNDERRATED.” A FORGOTTEN GEM OF A BAND LIKE SIX GALLERY IS OVERLOOKED. THEY WEREN’T POPULAR WHEN THEY WERE AROUND, THEY REMAIN IN RELATIVE OBSCURITY TO THIS DAY. AN UNDERRATED THING IS SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT, BUT DON’T GIVE ENOUGH CREDIT TO, LIKE JOHN GOODMAN OR THAT MEME OF THE DINOSAUR GOING YEEE
EVERYONE IS AWARE OF HORSE THE BAND BUT VERY FEW PEOPLE REALIZE HOW FANTASTIC THEY ARE ONCE YOU GET PAST THE INITIAL GIMMICK. WHILE THEY HAVE A BUNCH OF SILLY SONGS, INCLUDING AN ALBUM ABOUT FUCKING PIZZA, THEY HAVE A SCOPE OF SONGWRITING THAT BORDERS ON THAT OF A POST-ROCK BAND.
I’M COMPLETELY SERIOUS THE FIRST TIME I HEARD HORSE THE BAND I WAS AT MY DAD’S HOUSE TO WATCH THAT FREE ON DEMAND THING FOR FUSE, TRYING TO FIND SONGS TO USE AN ITUNES GIFT CARD I GOT FOR CHRISTMAS ON (THAT’S A VERY OLD SENTENCE), AND WHEN I SAW THE VIDEO FOR “SHAPESHIFT” I STARTED CRYING.
I GOT TO SEE HORSE THE BAND A COUPLE YEARS AGO IN THE SAME WEEK THAT I SAW THE ANGRY VIDEO GAME NERD MOVIE AT SOME THEATRE IN NEW YORK AND IT WAS KINDA LIKE 16 YEAR OLD ME WAS BEING REINCARNATED. I’VE BEEN TO HUNDREDS OF SHOWS IN MY LIFE BUT THE MOST IGNORANT I’VE EVER BEEN WAS FOR H THE B LOL. I RAN ON PEOPLES HEADS LIKE I WAS JESUS OR SOME SHIT DURING HALF THE SET AND SCISSOR KICKED SOMEONE IN THE HEAD DURING “CUTSMAN” I WAS AN ASSHOLE LOL SORRY.
DUDE I’M JUST RAMBLING AT THIS POINT HORSE THE BAND IS SO COOL I HAD A DREAM ABOUT PAYING NATHAN WILKE $200.00 TO DO A GUEST SPOT ON A LUCRETIA SONG LOL I MAY JUST DO THAT.
TL;DR HORSE THE BAND IS BETTER THAN DEAFHEAVEN OR WHATEVER LAME BAND YOU LIKE AND NINTENDOCORE WAS SICK AND IT WOULD HAVE DONE A LOT BETTER IF THE MAJORITY OF ITS FANBASE DIDN’T CONSIST OF THOSE KIDS WHO WORE NECKLACES MADE OUT OF MONSTER ENERGY PULLTABS
NOW GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE BEFORE I SELECT-START-A-B YOUR ENTIRE EXISTENCE
And the Hero Fails - Empire Smile (2006)
The goal of the American Metalcore Project has always been to highlight overlooked and underappreciated records, but rarely is an album we cover as unjustifiably ignored as Empire Smile. And the Hero Fails are without a doubt one of the most finely-honed and stylistically assured bands we’re likely to cover, and on paper, couldn’t possibly have come and gone like they did.
Starting out as a vegetarian grind band, the shift to metalcore (and carnivorism) was incidental, a matter of changing tastes that led them to play a unique blend of Fear Before The March Of Flames and Hot Damn!-era Every Time I Die, the angularity of the latter tempered with the structural proficiency of the former. Yeah, Fear Before dropped “the March of Flames” from their name, but And the Hero Fails’s sound makes specific reference to Odd How People Shake and Art Damage in the snotty cleans and cat-screech highs of “They Came Covered In Snow” and “Trail of the Lonesome Pine,” which are almost indistinguishable from those of David Michael Marion and Adam Fisher, and are in stark contrast to the mid-range growls that dominate the album prior to “Song of the Wolf.” This interlude, too, recalls the weirdness of Fear Before The March Of Flames, being a lengthy spoken prayer (in what I presume to be Russian) that divides the album’s most straightforward bone-crunchers from more experimental fare. What’s so great about And the Hero Fails is that they have enough personality and compositional know-how to make what are really wildly different interpretations of their core sound seems like complementary halves of a cohesive whole.
“March of the Wolf” (there’s a lycanthropic motif here) is about as no-nonsense an intro as you could want. It fades in with a slightly off-center breakdown built around a crashing hi-hat and a sinister riff, then explodes into “His Imperial Victory.” Back-to-back with “A Massacre Prevents A War,” it makes for a killer one-two punch, bombarding the listener with well-executed riffing of both the mathy and Swedish variety. The same formula appears on “A Massacre Prevents A War” with the addition of some nasty, prominent breakdowns--just try to sit still when the song turns into a full-on battle anthem, replete with marching rhythms and chants of “One alive is worth five dead!” And the Hero Fails’s grind background noticeably informs the track’s adrenal fury and the following track, “Sun of Man,” keeps the band’s energy up, featuring dissonant passages at a stormier, more methodical pace, as well as a brief guitar solo.
The second half of the album could have been a jarring departure if As the Hero Fails didn’t ease us in with the first half of “They Came Covered In Snow,” which channels the aggression of “His Imperial Victory” in a more disjointed time signature, and takes its time unpacking the panic chords before the song launches into a dissonant, addictive call-and-response. FBTMOF’s influence, and the mathcore overtones it entails, are already on our minds thanks to the build-up, so the introduction of Rodriguez’s impassioned shrieks isn’t quite so left-field. The song continues layering odder and more expressive guitar lines and even slips in a couple of Deftones-y clean vocals; and although the song ends on a fade, “The Escape” feels of one piece with the experimental nature of “Snow.” The higher vocals take on another texture: a punk yelp (which is present, but easily missed, on “A Massacre”), and the one-dimensional growls descend into pig-squeals for the closing breakdown. And the Hero Fails manage to not only make this dated technique sound as brutal as it was intended to be, but even kind of tasteful.
For some reason, “Preface to Extinction” is another interlude. It’s easily the weakest of the three and consists of less than a minute of simple drumming, clean tones, and muted bass that could have either been developed into an interesting song in itself or folded into the runtime of “Trail of the Lonesome Pine,” since it ultimately serves no further purpose than to introduce Empire Smile’s closer. Whatever disappointment this conjures vanishes, as this this is easily the most varied song on the album. Many of And the Hero Fails’s heavier tendencies are subdued to make room for an emotive four-and-a-half minutes: while the song does feature a breakdown, it’s so embedded that it registers as more of a transition than a mosh-moment and is quickly overpowered by some August Burns Red-like shredding and distorted rambling. Around the three-minute mark, the song breaks into a resounding chant of “We’ll carry on without them” and chiming guitar, but the moment is swept into a back-and-forth between shredding guitars and uplifting cleans before finally resolving on a short breakdown passage.
How Empire Smile didn’t make And the Hero Fails huge is beyond me. It’s polished and technical without coming off artificial or impenetrable, and played with obvious passion, craft, and a gift for experimentation that places them above and ahead of their peers. Despite what titles like “A Massacre Prevents A War” and “Trail of the Lonesome Pine” might lead you to believe, their lyrics are neither overtly brutal or navel-gazing but thoughtful, confident, and fairly poetic. It’s a bit tragic that after all the talk of “carrying on” And the Hero Fails did not, and left far too short a legacy behind. But that, too, is par for the course with the American Metalcore Project, so enjoy what’s here and on their debut, The Mistake That Cost the World. We’re not getting more!
The Agony Scene - The Darkest Red
Can you “sell out” and still make great music?
The Agony Scene make a strong case that it’s possible. Their self-titled album is steeped in European melodeath worship, from Mike Williams’ screech to its Slaughter of the Soul riffage, sprinkled with breakdowns to remind us that it’s a metalcore album, too. In fact, the band was first conceived as a spirit-filled hardcore band a la Strongarm, Overcome, and Zao, but in an ironic twist, lineup changes secularized their message just prior to noted Christian label Solid State Records getting their hands on The Agony Scene’s demo. Apart from heavy-handed melodeath influences, The Agony Scene’s novelty at the time was that it featured a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black.” This may not seem like a big deal in a post-Punk Goes world, but you can hear now the way that cover plays to the strengths The Agony Scene would more thoroughly mine on The Darkest Red, which drops most of the melodeath for the sounds of the so-called “New Wave of Heavy Metal.”
That term probably doesn’t hold a lot of meaning today, but it was a big deal through the early ’00s. Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, Shadows Fall, Chimaira, and Unearth were generally regarded as the faces of this “wave,” although it could encompass bands like All That Remains, God Forbid, and Trivium. Further back than that, it also would have included Machine Head and Biohazard, since the term was originally meant to refer to what it seems to: a wave of American bands playing uniquely American metal. However, with metalcore’s rapid ascent in the states, the term became shorthand for the exploding New England scene, and took on a kind of stigma. Some bands considered part of the wave are groovier, some more melodic, and some more commercial, but really, a NWOAHM band tends to be a little of each, and to follow the hard verses/soft choruses format. Before entering the studio, The Agony Scene claimed they wouldn’t be stressing over genre or commercial viability. They would write what they wanted. They had also just jumped to Roadrunner Records, a prominent label for commercially-viable metalcore bands during the ’00s, but you can draw your own conclusions.
What matters is the quality of the music, and The Darkest Red is rock-solid metalcore and a better example than most of the NWOAHM. The Agony Scene’s melodeath influence is relegated to the backburner, but it comes through now and again. Some saw this change as a dumbing-down of The Agony Scene’s sound, but the album demonstrates an overall better feel for structure and progression than prior, even if some songs do adhere a little too slavishly to the verse-chorus-verse format (“Screams Turn To Silence,” “My Dark Desire”). The trade is that the band can work on the details without worrying too much about the big picture, and put vocalist Mike Williams right up front where he belongs. His screech was a distinctive piece of The Agony Scene, but like most other “AttheGatescore” vocalists, he was really just ripping on Tomas Lindberg. On The Darkest Red, however, his voice is grimy, insectile, and pretty damn unique, injecting even the album’s most generic passages with personality. The guitarwork goes straight for the throat. It’s all-American groove from the title track onward, whether the subtle bends in the chorus of “Scars of Your Disease” or the death metal inflections of “Suffer” and “Scapegoat,” the album’s most straightforwardly aggressive bangers, and an intriguing glimpse at a different Agony Scene. If one was to remove Williams’ warbly singing (serviceable, but a sore spot), The Darkest Red would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their last album in terms of sheer heaviness, although it may be of a different shade, and is certainly the most varied and experimental album in The Agony Scene’s brief discography.
Access to better production values and marketing means compromise, but what we forget is that there’s usually room for it. A little extra vocal range and sleeker guitarwork doesn’t take away from the energy of The Darkest Red’s ten tracks (well, nine and “Prelude,” a minute of noise), nor do these things obscure the fact that The Agony Scene are clearly proud of what they accomplished. Shortly after their follow-up album Get Damned, a superficially punk-influenced metalcore record, The Agony Scene called it quits. Then, around 2014, they began hinting at a new record and began playing shows again. Their setlists are culled mainly from The Darkest Red, songs over a decade old that they still enjoy playing, and fans still enjoy hearing. The Agony Scene never got as big as some of their NWOAHM peers despite doing all the same things a little better, but truly deserved more than they got. Time will tell if they still have the chops to produce another catchy, heavy slab of metalcore like this, but if they did it once, there’s a chance they can do it again, and claim their place at the forefront of the metalcore resurgence.
The Blinding Light - The Ascension Attempt (2004)
The Blinding Light are usually invoked with a very specific description: “Tom Araya fronting Converge.”
Simply mentioning Converge in the same sentence is shorthand for a particular sonic aesthetic, backed by the fact that The Blinding Light was signed to Jacob Bannon’s label Deathwish, Inc., perhaps the record label for hardcore and metalcore. The distinction of Tom Araya from Slayer means a couple of things, too: Slayer is arguably the premier thrash metal band, even more than the other Big Four under the right circumstances, because they’re the most single-mindedly destructive of their peers, favoring speed and aggression over finesse their entire career. We know what a Kerry King solo sounds like. We also know what Tom Araya sounds like, and that’s the piece that matters. His voice is as integral to Slayer as the solos, and any comparisons to his style is a polarizing matter. Does the thought of his shrill, militaristic bark over Ballou’s nimble riffing sound like the groundwork of a metalcore band worth the time?
The Tom Araya-ite in question is Brian Lovro, ex-frontman of Minnesota hardcore outfit Threadbare prior to The Blinding Light. His style was a more even mix of Drowningman-esque spoken word (Simon Brody cites Threadbare as one of his band’s key influences), aggressive shouts and screams, scarcely resembling the howl he utilizes here. From the first buzzing notes of “Wake Up/The Wind Up,” The Ascension Attempt sounds like it’s at war with itself. This intensity is its defining characteristic, and sometimes its only characteristic--from the granular guitar tone to the lack of any clean vocals or breathing room whatsoever, it’s an approach that might sink a less skilled metalcore band, but that becomes the basis for genre perfection in The Blinding Light’s grasp. Tim Munce and Chad Petit don’t fuck around: they churn out thunderous breakdown after sinuous riff after curb-stomping groove without reprieve, unless you count the off-kilter strumming on “The Wind Up,” “I Can’t Slow Down,” “Hydrant” and “Earth Razor,” moments that recall the most sinister moments of Unruh’s Setting Fire to Sinking Ships.
Out of the sulfurous firepit of The Ascension Attempt, “Routine Seizure” emerges as the clear highlight. While the thrash rings clear on “I Can’t Slow Down” and “Light,” and “Snake Killer” and “Earth Razor” touch on the band’s buried progressive streak, “Routine Seizure” is a splash of acid: over a base of harmonized panic chords, The Blinding Light pour crushing bottom-string chugs, At The Gates-styled riffing; elephantine breakdowns and bloodcurdling cries of “Down on your knees!”; death metal blasts, math grooves, and straight-up grind to cap one of the most breathlessly violent songs in metalcore. Lovro’s manic barks of “swing it to the left / swing it to the right” throughout sound less like dance instructions than death threats, and he might actually be spitting blood by the time the song finds him screaming “Twenty-four hours / three-six-five days / All rise / All right.” It’s a four-minute masterstroke with no equal on The Ascension Attempt. That “Routine Seizure” is positioned so close to the front of the album seems to indicate that The Blinding Light knew what they were doing; so rather than top it, they spend the rest of the album exploring other applications for their sound. “Hydrant” makes the most extensive use of those Converge/Unruh atmospherics, coming across like a mutant offshoot of “They Stretch for Miles” from The Poacher Diaries; a tribute to Threadbare; or even a distant ancestor to Cult Leader’s “A Good Life.”
The Ascension Attempt is profoundly negative music with no need to be more than that. It has no commercial ambition and doesn’t care whether you enjoy it. The Blinding Light’s attitude is more in line with the odium of grind than the rising metalcore scene amid which they formed, but their music champions the character of the scene they so clearly revere--or, as in the case of Lovro or ex-Nodes of Ranvier drummer Josh Ferrie, that they had a hand in establishing. The Blinding Light weren’t a groundbreaking act, but with a sound this fully-realized, there’s nothing left to innovate.
Photo from Groezrock
Up to this point in the American Metalcore Project, we’ve explored many of the forgotten and overlooked gems of the metalcore canon, largely consisting of bands with a hardcore ethos showing their appreciation of metal through their music. Wave two is a different beast. It’s in this wave that the genre becomes a household name, with bands such as Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God (yes, we consider those first three records metalcore), and Shadows Fall leading the charge of commercially-successful groups taking the genre nationwide through MTV2’s Headbanger’s Ball, hosted by Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed. These bands are separate from the first wave in the sense that, rather than filtering their metallic influences through hardcore a la Overcast, Bloodlet, and Coalesce, these second wave bands flipped the equation: by and large, these are metal bands with breakdowns. It’s that distinction that often causes a rift between fans of modern metalcore and those familiar with the genre’s beginnings--it’s heavy, it’s got guitar solos, and they play Iron Maiden-style harmonies; it’s gotta be metal, right? While this view is on second-wave bands is, more often than not, correct, it’s also dismissive of the genre’s heritage, and we certainly wouldn’t be doing our jobs correctly if we didn’t make sure to remind you, the reader, of this before diving into second-wave metalcore. In this entry, we’ll take a look at a few key bands and records from hardcore’s most influential scene - New York - in order to analyze where some of metalcore’s key musical ideas originated.
(Disclaimer: while New York hardcore is extremely diverse and full of quality bands, there just isn’t enough time in the world to go over every record from every band from the era. Some honorable mentions are Sick of it All’s Just Look Around, Leeway’s Born to Expire, Judge’s There Will Be Quiet, Indecision’s Unorthodox, Warzone’s Don’t Forget the Struggle, Don’t Forget the Streets, Killing Time’s Brightside, and Merauder’s Master Killer, which you are free to check out for an even more comprehensive understanding of the heavy music of the era).
I know what you’re thinking: “But Cesar, that record already is metalcore!” I hear you. VOD’s acclaimed debut came out on Ray Cappo’s (more on him later) short-lived Roadrunner Records imprint Supersoul in the same year that Earth Crisis came out with Destroy the Machines and only a year after Overcast’s Expectational Dilution, two records that were arguably already more metallic than Vision of Disorder. The most important piece of information in that last sentence is that the record had the distribution power of Roadrunner Records behind it. While it wasn’t yet the juggernaut it would become in the 21st century, this gave the band the opportunity to get into the hands of more young, impressionable teenagers’ hands than it would otherwise.
With this in mind, it’s crucial to recognize the key factor that sets VOD apart from their contemporaries: Tim Williams’ Alice in Chains-influenced singing. Starkweather did it first, but VOD was the band that likely made the style viable in the mid-late 90s. While I can’t be certain if it went over well with the baggy-pants-and-basketball-jersey demographic of the time, it certainly left enough of an impression on bands like Poison the Well and Killswitch Engage, who later brought it to a wider audience; so much so that the trope of the screamed verse followed by a sung chorus remains a staple of the genre to this day. Oh, and the record is absolutely fantastic as well.
Just like VOD, Roadrunner labelmates Madball’s first record, Set it Off, arrived right in the thick of metallic hardcore’s emergence, although the band was in no sense “new”: vocalist Freddy “Madball” Cricien cut his teeth in the early days of his brother Roger’s band, Agnostic Front, when they would play Sunday matinees at CBGB’s, and hardcore icon Vinnie Stigma was a member for over a decade. The band formed in 1988, dropping their debut EP, Ball of Destruction, the following year, as well as their second EP, Droppin’ Many Suckers, in 1992. These two EPs showed flashes of what was to come, but were mostly confined to the classic hardcore vein of AF or Warzone. It wasn’t until their debut full-length that the band’s now easily-recognizable New York groove could be heard.
This is apparent right from the title track, with its hard riffs and thundering rhythm section painting a harsh picture of what life in New York’s once-cold lower East Side was like. While the band was obviously building on the foundation set by their hardcore forefathers, the influence of popular metal bands such as Sepultura, Helmet, and Pantera contributed to a punchier and more aggressive sound that unquestionably set a new template for hardcore kids seeking heavier modes of expression for the next decade. Bands like Hatebreed, Throwdown, and Bury Your Dead straight-up could not exist without Madball opening the door.
I’ll be perfectly blunt here: with a few exceptions (i.e. Slipknot, early Deftones, and early Korn), I think nu metal is absolute garbage. Downtuned-for-the-sake-of-it guitars, corny vocals, cornier lyrics, and an unnecessary hip-hop influence made hard music a laughingstock and sank the overall public opinion of metal. All of this makes me even more skeptical of its recent revival, which has seen a growing number of scenecore acts incorporating its tropes into their music. Some call this “nu-metalcore,” I call it basurington, mostly for all of the same reasons that I despise nu-metal in the first place, but also because Biohazard proved it could be done much, much better almost twenty years earlier.
Biohazard (oh look, another Roadrunner band! Might be good idea to keep an eye on that label) dropped Urban Discipline in the fall of 1992, a full two years before Korn released their game-changing debut. Biohazard blended elements of metal, hardcore, and hip-hop to produce a music unlike anything any band was doing at the time. They were essentially playing a form of nu-metalcore (ugh) a full twenty years before Suicide Silence and Of Mice & Men decided that they weren’t embarrassed of their Slipknot collection anymore. The difference between those two bands and Biohazard is that Biohazard’s music has considerably more street cred thanks to the band’s roots in pre-Giuliani New York, at the time a far cry from the tourist attraction it has become. Right from opening track “Chamber Spins Three,” vocalist Evan Seinfeld’s lyrics and vocal inflections parallel golden-age hip-hop: “It's a motherfuckin' homicide, just deserts / A shotgun painted right where it hurts / From the inside, the ones you can trust / You got connected to a serious bust.” This merger of metal aggression, hardcore grooves, hip-hop bars, and a dose of nu-metal’s one, lasting innovation on “Loss” and “Disease” - the introduction of vulnerability to tough-guy music - isn’t too dissimilar from the concept of nu-metal and its offspring. Biohazard just have the grit and authenticity to make it worthwhile.
Youth of Today are probably the most ideologically important hardcore band to come out of New York. Started by vocalist Ray Cappo and guitarist John Porcelly, two straight edge kids from suburban Connecticut (which technically makes them CTHC, but the brunt of their impact was felt in the New York scene) with the goal of starting a band that was distinctly and unapologetically straight edge at a time when it wasn’t in vogue, the band basically catalyzed the youth crew movement. This wave of bands was characterized by fast, melodic hardcore inspired musically by bands like 7 Seconds, Minor Threat, and SSD (Society System Decontrol), such as Gorilla Biscuits, Chain of Strength, BOLD, and Judge.
With the exception of Judge, none of these bands, including YOT, had any discernable metal influence; what Youth of Today controversially brought to hardcore was veganism, specifically with their music video for the song “No More” off their second LP, We’re Not In This Alone. The video, which is described by Scott Winegard of Texas is the Reason as having “basically sold everybody on vegetarianism,” was the chief factor in the popularization of veganism in the ’90s. Youth of Today are almost single-handedly the reason it continues to define a large piece of the hardcore lifestyle. Think about it: Earth Crisis, Racetraitor, Indecision, and other vegan metalcore bands, while active throughout the ’90s, did not adopt veganism as a core tenet of their ideology; the fact that Youth of Today did drastically changes the message, and perhaps even the sound, of their music.
Additionally, the rawer, more accessible lyrics and sonic aesthetic the band employed made the genre more digestible to those who didn’t live in a squat on the Lower East Side. Walter Schreifels, who played on this LP as well as in Gorilla Biscuits and post-hardcore pioneers Quicksand, testifies that even though “[he] wasn’t tough…[and] wasn’t gonna hang out on the Lower East Side taking drugs,” Youth of Today provided an avenue “to be about the music and about the message.” Furthermore, the band didn’t give off the hardened, rough-and-tumble impression of many of their predecessors. Instead of dressing in overalls and wifebeaters, Youth of Today’s youth crew dressed in varsity jackets, shorts, and basketball shoes, arguably softening the transition for those that didn’t relate to the tough look of Agnostic Front and Warzone. Youth of Today created a sound and message that was easier for suburban kids to digest, inspiring those that didn’t live on the harsh streets of New York to pick up instruments and start a band.
I’m not even gonna bullshit you with some high vocabulary blurb on this one: the Cro-Mags changed everything with this record. Before it, hardcore was just a faster, more aggressive version of typical punk rock: loud power chords played at manic speeds for songs usually lasting between ten seconds to maybe a minute and a half. Even Agnostic Front followed this template on their debut, Victim in Pain, compared to their second record Cause for Alarm. Then the Cro-Mags dropped The Age of Quarrel, altering the landscape of the genre forever. While they weren’t the first hardcore band to take advantage of their metal influences (Black Flag showed their appreciation for Black Sabbath on My War about two years earlier), Cro-Mags took influence from early thrash metal bands such as Metallica, as well as Black Sabbath, to draw a crunchier and more focused blueprint for the metallic hardcore movement of the following decade. Songs like “We Gotta Know” and “Malfunction” introduced slower and more methodical pacing to a genre that was known at the time for breakneck chords progressions. Additionally, the band took influence from DC’s Bad Brains, introducing reggae breaks that created the foundation for metalcore’s most maligned and recognizable trait: the breakdown.
As we move into a chapter of the genre that hews closer to metal than hardcore ever dared before, much emphasis is placed on the influence of European metal on the American metalcore scene; and while we do see an increasing number of bands mining the Swedish melodic death metal scene for inspiration both cited and uncited, we often lose sight of the innovations happening right at home. For that reason, it seemed important to take a moment to ground ourselves in the past and take inventory of those innovations--because, in wave two and beyond, the hell that Vision of Disorder, Madball, Biohazard, Youth of Today, and the Cro-Mags raised in New York will have just as important a role in the evolution of metalcore as At the Gates and In Flames across the pond. We’re only about a third of the way into this journey through the history of one of the most important genres in heavy music, so we hope that you’ll continue on with us. We have such sights to show you.
Racetraitor - Burn the Idol of the White Messiah (1998)
The moment a band releases a song or statement that might be perceived as “political,” I guarantee an influx of otherwise silent fans complaining, on whatever avenues available to them, that the band have somehow overstepped their boundaries as musicians. These kinds of complaints--“stick to what you know,” and all variations of--frequently and hilariously disregard the fact that the people in the band are people who, more often than not, are as affected by what goes on in the political sphere as their listeners. It also disregards the possibility that politics and government may, in fact, be what the band know--and to that end, has there ever been a band for whom this was truer than Racetraitor?
If their name and the title of their debut album, Burn the Idol of the White Messiah, didn’t state the point clearly enough, Racetraitor are a band for whom political statements are not confined to moments of reactionary activism, but an ethos by which they strictly abide. Their name, “a pejorative term...used by white American racists” to mock individuals who use the “social and economic privilege” granted them by their race “to create a more egalitarian world,” was claimed as way for the band to subvert the term and diminish its power, as they used it as a moniker under which to espouse their fiercely progressive, egalitarian worldview. In addition to issues of racial injustice, Racetraitor were also outspoken on matters of corporatism, sexuality, and colonialism, and were aligned with both straight-edge culture (the militant variety, of course) and taqwacore, a subdivision of hardcore music played by Muslims with the intent to interrogate the culture of Islam through the lens of punk music. Some of the album’s most electrifying musical moments occur on “Dar Al-Harb,” whose Arabic title is tricky to decipher, but illuminating: on one hand, its direct translation seems to be “house of war,” but the term can also connote a place where the rule of Islam goes unpracticed. This, in turn, connote a “place of heathens.” Most interestingly, some interpret the word as “house of the west,” whose meaning requires no explanation; and which, when conflated with these other definitions, paints quite a negative picture.
This is basis enough for a disputative following, but Racetraitor weren’t shy about meeting the controversy they courted head-on: live shows often turned to “heated arguments” between audience members or the band and audience members, and Racetraitor were known to encourage fans to write to and raise funds for controversial political activist, suspected New Black Liberation Militia member, and convicted arsonist Fred Hampton Jr. while serving prison time in the 90s. They were known to call audience attendees “crackers,” too, although the band clarified that this was in reference to “those who ‘crack the whip’...those who simply perpetuate racism and exploitation in their day-to-day lives” rather than an evocation of racial tension--although, one imagines that to be a very narrow line to walk in the emotionally-charged hardcore scene.
Although the band broke up after a brief, tumultuous career that saw only one EP following Burn the Idol of the White Messiah, they carried their ideologies into future projects, sometimes intact, as for frontman Mani Mostofi:
Mostofi briefly played in a Chicago band called the Enemy that recorded but never released a full length on Indecision Records. When members of the Enemy joined Rise Against and Shai Hulud, Mani formed the Kill Pill. After the Kill Pill, he went on to complete an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He continued his activism in the anti-war and Palestinian rights movements and traveled to the Middle East extensively. More recently, Mostofi earned a JD at Fordham Law School in New York with an emphasis in international law and works as a human rights researcher and advocate.
Sometimes, it went on in more sublimated fashion. While guitarist Karl Hlavinka went on to play with Killtheslavemaster and then Pittsburgh cyber-mathcore freaks Creation Is Crucifixion, Racetraitor’s drummer and fill-in bass player switched gears to found a successful pop-punk band. Their third record included a song based on the trial and conviction of Fred Hampton Jr., arranged so that the verdict appears wrongful. This is that song. Take a minute. Mm-hm. As difficult as it may be to wrap your head around it (it certainly came as a shock to me), Fall Out Boy are direct descendants of Racetraitor through Andy Hurley and Pete Wentz. The family tree extends even further than that, as Wentz also fronted metalcore band Arma Angelis, alongside some other notable names the American Metalcore Project will cover a little later. Hurley currently plays in Sect XVX with Chris Colohan of legendary Canadian sludge/crust outfit Cursed, proving that his stint at the top of the charts hasn’t diminished his passion for forward-thinking heavy music in the least.
And, for their time, Racetraitor were ahead of the game. I don't think there's much use in trying to differentiate these tracks sonically, as they're all of an arid, scorching piece with one another; but listening to them in the current metalcore climate, you’ll hear how Burn the Idol of the White Messiah precipitates many of the sludge-drenched hardcore bands currently making waves, such as Jesus Piece, Left Behind, Heavens Die, God’s Hate, and more. Even exceeding our reach a little to peek into Racetraitor’s demo, their early fusion of grind and powerviolence is remarkably similar to the trends of only a few years ago, when bands like Weekend Nachos and Full of Hell were setting fire to the scene. White Messiah plays like a demolition in seven parts, one crushing breakdown after the next, interspersed with the sort of hardcore riffing that is so fast and punishing that precision falls by the wayside. The lack of variation from track to track can be grating, but nothing about Racetraitor, from their ideology to the style of hardcore they play, should be anything less than difficult listening--even their production is lofi and raw, reducing Andy Hurley’s snare to a vicious popping, like distant gunfire, and their guitar tone to garrote-wire. Metalcore vocalists are rarely as frightening as Mostofi, whose venomous roar sounds as if it's bursting through an overdriven PA system. While the 2017 remix/remaster does a lot to clean up the overall sound of the record, the shell-shocked production of the original disc is too aesthetically appropriate not to experience.
Racetraitor were the political metalcore band, and remain one of the very best at aligning message and music into a cohesive, corrosive whole. I pay attention to artwork--especially for a band like Racetraitor, for whom the manner of conveyance is historically just as important as the message conveyed, the images they choose to represent them speak volumes as to their disposition. The cover of Burn the Idol of the White Messiah is a close-up of a bone joint and Arabic script over a red background, divided by the band’s name; fitting for an album of lurid contrasts and ugly exposure. At the time this entry of the American Metalcore Project was conceived, Racetraitor’s discography spanned only their demo, this full-length, and the Make Them Talk EP, but has since expanded to include the By the Time I Get to Pennsylvania flexi disc in September 2016, and the Invisible Battles Against Invisible Fortresses EP, which dropped in July. Pennsylvania’s cover depicts snake handling, and Invisible Battles, the Battersea Power Station. Religion and the ruin of capitalism are still in Racetraitor’s crosshairs, but there are many more insidious forces still to confront.
Undying - The Whispered Lies of Angels (2000)
Although it’s been some time since anyone has accused Between the Buried and Me of being a metalcore band, they certainly once were. You’d have to backtrack to The Silent Circus and their self-titled to really hear it, but even then, it’s disguised in so much prog and technical dazzle that it’s never more than a foundation laid and filled in on two previous projects: Prayer For Cleansing, and Undying. Dyed-in-the-wool metalcore bands, Prayer For Cleansing are an intriguing project in their own right, but both Tommy Rogers and Paul Waggoner, Between the Buried and Me’s longest-running and arguably best-known members, got their start in North Carolina’s Undying.
The band’s flagrant use of melody set them apart from the onset, but it’s got very little to do with the Gothenburgization of American metalcore Killswitch Engage ushered in. Although Killswitch were one of the first metalcore bands to openly embrace major chords and clean vocals in the context of vitriolic hardcore, Undying provide an alternative route that begins in the propulsive vein of Strongarm and strays close to Swedish guitar heroics without quite crossing the threshold into European worship. If there’s a Swedish band they do seem to reference, it’s more Dissection than At the Gates or In Flames. In fact, there’s a bit of a spiritual kinship between Undying and Dissection, as they’re both a little offbeat in relation to their respective music scenes--vocalist Timothy Roy’s frantic rasp sometimes even pushes Undying in the direction of the melodic black metal Dissection built their name on, although this seems more accidental than intended, evidence of a similar creative spark at work in a parallel medium.
Don’t expect the hyper-technical bombardments of Waggoner’s later project or to hear Rogers sing or play keyboard: Waggoner sticks to the metalcore framework of big leads, shred riffs, and breakdown (although there is a refreshing lack of guitar chugging), and utilizes major chord progressions very frequently. Rogers, on bass, is less audible--more a consequence of limited technology thanks to the album’s DIY recording, but also an early sign that the age of the inaudible bass guitar was dawning in 2000. Even more so than in Between the Buried and Me, then, Waggoner is the dominant force in Undying, establishing the tone of the record from “Echoes” onward and guiding the listener along the cutting edge of melodic metalcore in the early '00s.
Undying were both vegan and straight-edge, lifestyle choices that hardcore bands generally seem to have a hard time keeping to themselves. But you’d never know, as even a glance at the lyric sheet doesn’t give much away. Their worldview is cleverly submerged in the austere terminology of black metal and obscured by its sonic footprint, as in the following excerpt from “The Company of Storms”:
when nighttime stars flicker with grief and despair
and dusk threatens senses too dazed to stay clear
their heavens will beckon,
and angels will whisper my name
wings of scarlet hue, their truth soaked in blood
And what is that worldview? From the title of the album to a tracklist that includes such doomsaying as “Tears Seven Times Salt” and “The Coming Dark Age,” to their fusion of dramatic melodeath harmonies with brash hardcore sincerity, the band’s vegan/straight-edge beliefs form the basis for a very blunt artistic statement: through the poisoning of our bodies, our callous disregard for the natural world, and our insistence on using up rather than making do, we're destroying ourselves. The hidden track at the end of the album seems to reinforce the point: apart from being a great song in its own right, their cover of My Dying Bride’s “The Cry of Mankind” is a sort of philosophical exclamation point that's rather short on hope:
I will make them all lie down
Down where hope lies dying
With lust, you're kicking mankind to death
We live and die without hope
You tramp us down in a river of death
As I stand here now, my heart is black
I don't want to die a lonely man
It's performed in Undying's signature black-metal-meets-melodic-hardcore style, and excels: the original's lonesome keyboard is transmuted into a downright elegiac guitar melody, and the song's runtime is halved from twelve minutes to six, making it more digestible without sacrificing its eerie power. Although it lacks the fervor of earlier tracks, it's shocking how well the song's miserable tread fits the Undying sound (and vice versa). Through the prism of this song's epic condemnation, rather than the uplifting empowerment or anger of their contemporaries, the major chords and upbeat nature of The Whispered Lies of Angels take on fascinating new dimensions. Very few bands nailed this frills-and-all style of melodeath-inspired metalcore as well as Undying, and it's hard to say whether anyone ever quite managed to do it better.
Buried Alive - The Death of Your Perfect World (1999)
If you have taken even the slightest step into the modern world of punk and hardcore, you have heard of Terror. Vocalist Scott Vogel is one of the most recognizable frontmen in hardcore; his unbridled passion for the genre and sense of humor (in the form of his trademark “Vogelisms” - look them up) make the band’s live show something to behold. His passion for hardcore didn’t just come from anywhere; and Terror, while Vogel’s most successful and prolific band, was not his first. Vogel was originally in Slugfest and later Despair, two bands that took the patented New York hardcore style of the late ’80s and early ’90s and experimented with more groove and metallic influences. When both bands fell through, Vogel formed Buried Alive with some of his peers from the Buffalo scene. While still rooted in a hardcore sound, this new band took cues from the more dissonant hardcore bands that were popular at the time, like Converge, Turmoil, and Snapcase, and soon enough, the band signed to the now-infamous Victory Records and released their magnum opus The Death of Your Perfect World in 1999.
The band’s most notable musical quality is the incorporation of dissonant leads and chords within a crushingly heavy, hardcore-rooted sound. Dissonance was nothing new the metalcore by 1999, but Buried Alive were one of the first to foreground it in their songwriting and tap into its versatility. The breakdown on “Watching You Die” is as brutal as its title, sounding like something ripped from a Converge record thanks to its plentiful use of dissonance, but the lightly picked minor-second lead on “Kill Their Past” presents the technique in a different light, using it to create an unsettling sonic aura that was fairly innovative at the time of The Death of Your Perfect World’s release.
Many bands over the years have tried to write a record that is a lesson in nonstop punishment and brutality, but The Death of Your Perfect World is a cut above thanks to Buried Alive’s experimentation. It’s absolutely relentless in the way that every riff seems to lead into the next without sounding samey or contrived--case in point, the seamless transition into the two-step in the middle of opener “Watching You Die.” It’s the sort of thing that makes you want to yell Vogel’s lyrics right back at him before the song shifts and you’re suddenly picking it up. The breakdown on “Empty Sky” feels like it comes out of nowhere with little to no build-up, a trope that plagues many bands playing this style of metalcore, but that Buried Alive turn into a strength: its abruptness makes you want to perform horrific acts of physical violence to the person next to you, which is what a good breakdown should do.
Buried Alive’s diverse sound, relative to other “tough guy” hardcore like Hatebreed, allowed them to tour with an equally diverse range of bands during their time together. One weekend they could be on a show with bands like All Out War and Skarhead, and playing with Zao and Nora the next. They’ve shared the stage with bands that sound almost nothing like them, such as H2O, Hot Water Music, and Kid Dynamite. In the world we live in, where mixed bills are becoming more and more common, this might be taken for granted; I obviously wasn’t around back when Buried Alive were playing shows with these bands, but I’m sure that their open-mindedness toward playing shows with bands from virtually every hardcore and metalcore niche must have been a key factor in their popularity.
Lyrically, the record isn’t too out of this world, but Vogel’s bluntness and carefully directed anger makes them manage to not sound as “tough guy” as one would expect. “Six Month Face” is a great example: directly calling out those who only spend their time within the hardcore scene until they eventually tire of it, lyrics like “slowly shed your skin / convictions fucking fade / another six month face / inside you’re dead,” delivered in Vogel’s larynx-shredding scream, come from a place of righteous indignation a little more grounded in reality than the sort of empty posturing that’s always plagued hardcore lyricism. To some, these lines may come across no less goofy than your average hardcore proclamation, but the music goes a long way in convincing the listener that Vogel’s sentiment comes from the heart.
As someone who got into metalcore and hardcore well after Buried Alive’s time, their reunion set at this year’s This Is Hardcore is extremely exciting, but it’s hard not to imagine the heights Buried Alive could have reached had they not left as quickly as they arrived. On an episode of Shane Told’s (of Silverstein fame) podcast, Lead Singer Syndrome, Scott Vogel attributed personal differences towards his decision to leave the band (and Buffalo) following a tour with Death Threat, which led to Vogel moving to Los Angeles and founding Terror. So, while Vogel is not wanting for a successful career in music, given the band’s diversity and Victory Records’s prominence in the ’00s, it’s not a huge stretch to say that Buried Alive could have been as big as a Hatebreed or a Killswitch Engage, if not at the very least bigger than Terror is now. The last line of the last song on the record, “To Live and Die With,” rings eerily true: “we are our own disease / and we will never be what we could be.” Buried Alive may have never become the band that they could have been, but as long as kids continue to shed their six-month faces and explore the roots of the music they love, there will always be a place for them in hardcore.
For The Love Of - Feasting On The Will Of Humanity (1998)
New Jersey doesn’t get the credit it deserves, so the American Metalcore Project would like to take this introduction to formally recognize the home state of Rorschach, Deadguy, Burnt by the Sun, and The Dillinger Escape Plan as one of metalcore’s preeminent scenes, deserving of the same accolades Massachusetts enjoys. Whether they’ve achieved popular success or not, the hardcore and metalcore of New Jersey, especially the New Brunswick area that Deadguy and Dillinger both hail from, has contributed as much to metalcore as Boston by giving a platform to one of the most ferocious underground scenes in metal.
At the forefront of the state’s original hot streak but hardly brought up now were For the Love Of. Despite a modest discography consisting of only a full-length and an EP, their reputation as one of the hardest-working, hardest-playing bands in the scene, and as purveyors of one of the most batshit-crazy live shows in metalcore history (they were known to bring “a sledgehammer, pitchforks, an anvil and a gong on stage” with them, which sounds like some kind of urban legend) cements them as a glaring omission from the metalcore canon. Feasting on the Will of Humanity matches its title note-for-note in misanthropic fury, setting a clear tone on opener “Crawl To Hide” that they are not to be fucked with. Every subsequent track simply underscores this point, right on through “Fractured” and The Amityville Horror sample that ends the album with a disembodied voice hissing “Get out!” While there are plenty of heavy and angry bands, few can match the clinical precision with which For the Love Of clobber their listeners into submission, and even fewer of their peers had such a capable grasp on the dynamics of metalcore.
While it’s hard to argue that For the Love Of are entirely original, amid a scene that was still firmly rooted in hardcore, they were one of the first to incorporate metal tropes like the shreddy riffs that appears midway through “Silent Isolation” and dominate “Further the Shame,” or the twisted guitar lines of “Millennium,” taking great pains to keep their music as lean and vicious as possible. “All Will Be Rid Of” is perhaps the most well-rounded song on Feasting, displays surprisingly accomplished guitarwork that runs the gamut from panic chords to technical journeys along the neck of the guitar and houses some of the album’s wildest breakdowns. The album sometimes strays closer to hardcore (see the gang chants on “Flatline”) and sometimes closer to thrash or even death metal (“Immerse”), but Feasting On the Will of Humanity is unmistakably metalcore in a way that even listeners only familiar with later-wave acts would be able to identify, perhaps by the most superficial distinction: the use of movie samples. It’s not necessarily a new technique--plenty of other bands we’ve covered in the first-wave were doing it before For the Love Of--but it’s a gimmick unique to metalcore and proto-metalcore bands of at the time; one that Eighteen Visions would turn into a staple of the genre through its second wave. Perhaps they, too, like God Forbid, found a little inspiration in For the Love Of.
Structure is where For the Love Of shine, although it’s rather difficult (at least for a non-musician, like myself) to explain. They keep clear of verse-chorus-verse-bridge templates, but each song maintains a distinct orderliness, introducing a main riff, layering a different riff underneath it, and smashing both apart with a breakdown, after which the song detours into passages of shred or larger and more sinister breakdowns. The main riff(s) is braided back in at some later point, and usually ridden out to conclusion. It’s not a terribly inventive approach now, but it’s a stable and satisfying progression not so dissimilar from what second-tier acts like Unearth, Dead to Fall, and God Forbid were up to. Coincidentally or not, God Forbid are an East Brunswick-based metalcore band whose first few records, Out of Misery, Reject the Sickness, and Determination, bear more than a passing resemblance to what For the Love Of were doing with Feasting, and their eventual breakthrough with back-to-back Gone Forever and IV: Constitution of Treason offers a possible career trajectory For the Love Of might have followed if they’d kept together after their final EP, In Consequence.
Not long after their split, as far as these things go, For the Love Of borrowed Nora’s Mike Olender on vocals for a one-off reunion at Hellfest 2004, and again at New Jersey’s Gamechanger World in 2015. Neither show saw the return of the equipment of their heyday, but the band’s energy is as electrifying in that clip of their 2015 set as I imagine it must have been in the late 90s. Even more striking is the enthusiasm of the crowd, especially when you put it in context: for a band that released one album and an EP seventeen years prior, that’s a lot of activity and whole lot of lyrics getting screamed back. It’s hard to imagine many bands formed after For the Love Of exhibiting that sort of staying power, which is not to speak badly of their successors, but in praise of For the Love Of’s “it” factor. Who knows what led to such a high quotient of quality bands in the state, but we fully support whatever led to New Jersey’s late-’90s metalcore scene--and we hope that, with the imminent end of The Dillinger Escape Plan, arguably the state’s finest musical export, they have another renaissance on the way.