Men As Trees were a four-piece screamo/post-rock band from Auburn Hills, Michigan that were around from 2003 to 2009. When hearing that genre blend, certain greats immediately come to mind such as Envy, City of Caterpillar, and Funeral Diner. Though lesser known, Men As Trees mastered that sound, crafting gorgeous, extensive ambient moments of genuine serenity before exploding in a chaotic onslaught that brought these songs to new emotional levels. With a good portion of their released songs stretching past the 10-minute mark, Men As Trees are one of few bands capable of maintaining a sense of entrancement through a song's multiple movements. Their output is relatively small, but definitely worth a listen. The band reconvened a few years after their dissolution to form Locktender. They are another incredible band that has put out a steady amount of material in the past few years, and are also worth your attention. Enjoy.
Thursday, 30 September 2021
Sunday, 26 September 2021
Plunger were a four-piece emo/hardcore band from Crofton, Maryland that were active from 1993 to 1996. Starting out, they took influence from the hardcore sound of bands like Swiz that had originated in DC a few years prior to their own formation. This is mostly evident on their debut demo release, which is a straight-up melodic hardcore album, with only a few hints of what their sound was evolve into. Their debut 7" is feedback-laden, discordant outing, with some of the most devastating vocals of the band's career. It's the perfect culmination of their early sound, with "Aspire To Be" being a good hint of where they were going next.
Following the EP, they released a few splits and a bonafide classic LP. They take the origins of their energetic, chaotic sound and push it into something darker and heavier. They began experimenting with a sound similar to what fellow Maryland band Moss Icon had done just before them. They incorporated harrowing bass lines, clean arpeggiated guitars, and trembling, mostly spoken vocals, with poetic lyricism. They would alternate between this quiet, meandering sound and build into massive crescendos of melancholic distorted chords and desperate screams, bringing the hardcore influence back to the forefront. Their self-titled full-length in particular is highly recommended, as its 7 tracks make for an incredibly emotional listen, which each song offering something new. "H.S." in particular is fantastic, and is definitely one of the most underrated songs in the grand scheme of 90's emo.
They put out a handful of releases in their initial time together, and an all-encompassing discography boxset a few years ago. The discography was released by Vermin Scum (who also put out albums by Maryland legends Moss Icon and The Hated). The first disc contains all their previously released material (EP, LP, and split tracks), the second disc contains the demo, as well as compilation and unreleased tracks. The third disc contains live songs and a few self-recorded demo tracks. Thankfully this band's incredible output was finally made available in one high-quality release, as the music they made is far too powerful to be lost to time. Enjoy.
Saturday, 25 September 2021
Weak Ties are a four-piece hardcore band from Bielefeld, Germany that began in 2016. Following a few releases of solid powerviolence, they put out their 2nd LP earlier this year, Find A Way, This is what really caught my attention, as its a very unique-sounding record. The fast-paced powerviolence influence is still present, but with a heavy dose of old school hardcore punk, like something straight out of the early 80's. It's the gap between Infest and The Adolescents, essentially. The production and guitar tone is absolutely incredible on this. It's crisp, raw, organic, and really just needs to be heard to be appreciated. The band brings a new, unique kind of energy to their sound, and makes for one hell of a fun listen. Highly recommended stuff, and Find A Way is definitely one of the coolest hardcore albums you're going to hear this year. Enjoy.