Imagine for a second that you’re in a constantly touring band and one of your members suddenly had to call in sick for the remaining dates of your Southeast Asian tour due to some health issues that suddenly occurred along the way. While most other bands would’ve very easily cancelled the rest of their tour dates until their sick member is totally fit to perform once again, Maryland noisegrind quartet Full of Hell decided to soldier on and visit the country while performing last Tuesday night over at Selda-Dos as a trio which – while a bit of a bummer that guitarist Spencer Hazard had to unfortunately drop out after experiencing some sort of mental breakdown while in South Korea – is more than admirable enough.
Too bad though that the originally scheduled show opener Red John didn’t get to perform at all as their vocalist told yours truly that their drummer got confined in the nearest hospital on that very day itself due to dengue fever (hoping their drummer has fully recovered by now though can’t help but wonder if November is presumably the start of sick season). As a result, Rizal-based band Conformist had to open the show proper instead.
Conformist delivered a lot of riffs that recall Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch and similar bands mostly from the heyday of metalcore back in the early 2000’s possessing a certain knack for doing songs with a strongly angular bent (one of their guitarists, Brucher, is also in associated band Cadenzabler, so there’s that). In a climate where a huge chunk of songs from local metalcore bands all sound as if their aim is merely to outchug each other, a band like Conformist is totally more than welcome to breathe new life into an increasingly stale subgenre.
Since last Tuesday night’s show was co-presented by Still Ill and Sleeping Boy Collective, two from the former’s stable of bands still doing the more traditional 90’s hardcore sound were also included in the lineup – namely, Veils and Value Lasts.
But first I’ll let you in on a secret… … … I brought someone along with me last Tuesday night who’s entirely new to the dynamics of the local hardcore punk scene – or at least a certain branch of it that includes those who strongly believe in bringing people from different walks of life closer together instead of your stereotypical chest-beating tough guy fight club macho crap that passes for “hardcore” these days. Hell, I was even more surprised that a couple of other folks (online friends to be exact) who aren’t usually the type one sees quite often at hardcore punk shows were actually there as well (even if their main goal afaik was to meet mutual Facebook friend Francis of Beast Jesus in person, but still, their presence there was most welcome). A handful of fresh faces last Tuesday night is something I honestly found rather unprecedented (job well done, Sleeping Boy Collective!), proof that local hardcore punk shows can actually achieve a noticeable degree of inclusiveness regardless of gender and/or “street/punk cred”. That someone I was with last Tuesday night was all eyes and ears to both Veils and Value Lasts – but even more so with the latter (the reason for that is anyone’s guess as I chose to keep my Full of Hell show companion’s identity a secret for privacy reasons 😉 ).
Was actually expecting Empty to perform right after Value Lasts but the former was a no-show for some reason I do not know of at all. In lieu of them, a relatively new project composed of veterans from the local hardcore punk scene called Arm Thy Fear took the stage with their 80’s-style speed and crossover thrash metal. What I found interesting was that aside from having three people take turns doing vocals, their rendition of the Motorhead classic “Ace of Spades” got my companion’s head bobbing. Arm Thy Fear has a digital album out for some time already so might as well take a listen to it after this show review has been published.
The one opening act that my companion was actually really looking forward to last Tuesday night was Beast Jesus. As evidenced by the band’s recently released debut single “Scoliosis Backbrace”, Beast Jesus is pretty much hellbent in defying the expectations of almost everyone in the local hardcore punk scene. I mean, where else can one find a local band that seamlessly throws hardcore punk, noise rock, shoegaze, sludge metal, post-rock and even surf music into their overall sound, right? Totally digging as well how the band would always start their live sets with a song that sounds passively happy (almost jangle pop-sounding so to speak) in its first few seconds until the aggressive riffs start kicking in. Definitely can’t wait for their debut EP to come out sometime this year.
And last but definitely not the least was Full of Hell whose sound that night was noticeably a bit lacking in oomph which was most probably brought about by the lack of Spencer Hazard – which is not to say it ended up being a shitshow. If anything, Full of Hell still totally ripped the place apart with their unholy marriage of grindcore and power electronics – though because of the really terse nature of the former as a whole, the band’s entire set clocked in at a mere 21 minutes. Here’s footage shot by local punk archivist Crapsalad for those who unfortunately missed out on last Tuesday night’s massive mayhem:
I just wish the venue’s sound system was mixed to perfection as both Beast Jesus and Full of Hell’s respective sets felt a bit muddy. Other than that, last Tuesday night’s show was a massive success all in all. Everyone had a great time, nobody got hurt, and my companion that night even had a photo op with FoH vocalist Dylan Walker.
Looking forward to more shows and related activities as well from both Still Ill and Sleeping Boy Collective in the upcoming year and so on…