Thursday, November 17, 2005

8-13 years too late

This past sunday's Boston Globe ran an article that has been percolating in my head for a few days.( note: the globe requires registration and a fee to read this article, hence no link) The article described the success and popularity of Killswitch Engage, a popular aggressive band that has been termed by the Globe as "metalcore", in fact as innovators and leaders of "metalcore". I have two grievances with this article.
The first is that it is simply naive in 2005 to term a band as an innovator of metalcore. I have used that term since i became heavily involved in hardcore in the late 90's. The article praises Killswitch for bringing melodic vocals and screaming together, as well as playing what the lead singer called, " hardcore kids playing Swedish metal." In Boston we need to look no further than Converge and Cave In, as two bands that at least since 1996 have played that exact description of music, albeit not to the refined quality that Killswitch does. Labeling that band innovators discounts the bands that really took a leap and combined aspects of metal and applied them to hardcore, most siginificantly, i think, is Unbroken. They applied the heaviness and some of the riff sturcture of real metal and put it into hardcore anthems, in 1991 no less. There are myriad other bands, Trial, Botch, etc that are long gone but made what I and my friends,eight years ago, called metalcore.

The second issue I have with this article is that it is another example of New England media ignoring what was, is and will continue to be one of the largest hardcore scenes in the world right here in our own region. Starting in approximately 1999 and lasting until possibly 2003 the biggest names and bands in Hardcore came from MA and the surrounding region. Bands like Ten Yard Fight, In My Eyes, Bane, Reach The Sky, American Nightmare were not only hugely poplar nationally and internationally they also set trends for the larger hardcore scene in general. During that period those bands were the flagship bands for the largest independent hardcore labels in the world. Labels that have gone on to carry more indie rock or dare i say it emo/screamo bands, and those labels have made quite a bit of money. These Boston bands also took two bands, Thrice and My Chemical Romance, on tour with them. Thrice and MCR now are in the top 40 Billboard chart. Yet the media has never really taken any interest in the New England hardcore scene. It is just interesting to think about and it makes me a little upset that Killswitch Engage gets a front page A&E story on a Sunday and Bane propbably still tours in a van and makes no money.

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