When Aging Hardcore Kids <s>Attack</s>Get Nostalgic

Sep 18th, 2007 // 10 Comments

This paean to the late-’90s birth-of-metalcore/proliferation-of-modern-art-metal must mean there’s something loud-and-growly in the air, because I just recently pulled out Cave In’s Until Your Heart Stops and Botch’s American Nervoso after a long mothballing for drunken nostalgia purposes. Without getting into the writer’s fan fave choices, I do have to take issue with two of his assertions.

One: fair enough on the limp heartbreak pop-punk of the Promise Ring–if I bought the played-out idea of calling something a “guilty pleasure,” their cutesy, tuneless Xtian la-la-la’s would probably be at the top of a list crowded with similar indie/emo crybabies–but emo roots/keyboards or not, the VSS were, like, heavy as fuck. Two (as he seems to intimate further down in the comments): I get nostalgic for the salad days of the late ’90s too (and not just for the metalcore), but even notorious haters (and lapsed fans like shameful me) have come to a universal agreement that heavy metal, whether the sweater-vest “Neurisis” art school variety or the hairy suburban loners moving to the sticks to homestead with the forest trolls while cranking out endless lo-fi black metal missives, has been in way robust health over the last few years. Even if that last Cave In record made me tear up a little for my lost youth with its badness.

It Was 8 Or 9 Years Ago Today [A.V. Club]

  1. klondikedog

    I have no idea how he found similarities between VSS and the Promise Ring. Both have keyboards maybe? Released some good singles? That first VSS record still melts my mind.

  2. Vince Neilstein

    Agreed on many points. This is a really good article, Jess. It’s important though, “genre-classifications-are-stupid” rhetoric aside, to note that a lot of the above are hardcore bands, not metal. I personally love Cave In, but the distinction is important. The hardcore stuff always had more of an appeal to the hipster crowd — or whatever the late ’90s equivalent of it was — whereas the more purely “metal” stuff has traditionally been looked down upon at meat-headed.

    I think the general assertion of this article, however — that HEAVY music (if we can lump metal, hardcore, and metalcore/whatever into that category of “heavy”) is in a very healthy state right now — is right on.

  3. Ned Raggett

    Incredibly healthy and I’ve barely come to grips with it all still. Probably never will fully!

  4. Paperboy 2000

    Yeah, Jason’s definitely off on some stuff…
    You are absolutely right that the VSS was heavy as sin. Their low end in a live setting was absolutely devastating. It knocked the ceiling tiles out of the venue I saw them in.

    But talking about Kiss It Goodbye and The Haunted…what about their precursors Rorschach and At The Gates? I knew tons of people listening to those bands in the early 90′s (not to mention all of the heavy apocalyptic sounding stuff out of Canada: Union of Uranus, One Eyed God Prophecy, Drift, etc.; the full on double bass pedal using Germans: Acme, Mörser, Carol, and Systral.) All of those bands were strongly supported in the HC scenes I was around: Columbus, Ohio, Indianapolis, Tampa (Assück/Reversal of Man/Combat Wounded Veteran!!!), Little Rock, Southern California, and on and on. And Integrity in the same sentence as Neurosis? Yikes.

    Cave In was the first band to re-inject pop into metal. I remember the first time I heard Cave In’s Flypaper 7″. It had the most heinous Joe Satriani repeating guitar riff in it, and it split a lot of people right down the middle. I specifically remember playing it for a friend who said, “WTF is this? Journey?”

    All I’m saying is whatever 24 month span he’s trying to inject into this is pretty off. Cave In was just a Converge follower band who found out about Pink Floyd and went for it. Then they signed to a major. Hydrahead got super popular (much like Southern Lord these days) and a lot of kids quit listening to all that Revelation and Victory crap. The music wasn’t new it just had better distribution.

  5. musicquizking

    I can’t wait for the Idolator post about the power violence scene.

    -carlos (ex-black army jacket)

  6. klondikedog

    Amen to that. Also I often forget to include some of the heaviest of all Unwound, Engine Kid, Godheadsilo and of course Karp. Sure the case for Unwound is kinda hard to make, but the despair they brought to music… What about Steelpolebathtub? I saw them and my ears hurt for days.

  7. mackro

    The big elephant in the room everyone is ignoring is the Melvins. They’re been just as influential to hardcore/metal as they have been to “grunge” since before either.. and they’re still going strong, now with band members formerly in Karp and the Murder City Devils, two bands that were 90s spawn of the very heavy rock referenced in the article.

    Then again, I’m seeing Melvins and Big Business tonight live, so that might be another reason they’ve been on my mind.

    That said, I have been listening to my Unwound collection on my pod a lot, and it’s weird to hear it as nostalgic now. There really hasn’t been a band like them before or after.

  8. mackro

    Speaking of Steel Pole, Dale is now living in Minneapolis. He’s still doing his drawings, and is probably plotting his next band, if it isn’t The Nein.

    Darren is back in Seattle and is in a band with former Mr. Epp member Smitty in a band called Cardboard.

  9. Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee

    @Vince Neilstein: The hardcore stuff always had more of an appeal to the hipster crowd — or whatever the late ’90s equivalent of it was — whereas the more purely “metal” stuff has traditionally been looked down upon at meat-headed.

    Bingo. Every single hardcore kid I knew in college followed the same track:

    1. They all started eating meat.
    2. They all started drinking/smoking pot.
    3. They all started listening to Sabbath/Blue Cheer/Captain Beyond/Whatever.
    4. They all started acting like they had been listening to Sabbath/Blue Cheer/Captain Beyond/Whatever since FOREVER.

    It pissed me off to no end. All of the sudden, dicks who had been scoffing at my taste in music and criticizing me for drinking/eating dairy products/listening to Sabbath were doing the EXACT same thing I was.

    Ugh. Fuckers.

  10. Paperboy 2000

    @Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee:
    Big ups to Captain Beyond for being totally ace, though.

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