There’s really no denying that hardcore, in its noisiest, heaviest, most brutal form, has been on a genuinely exciting and creative run over the last couple of years. Of course, it’s been well documented here that Code Orange get the majority of the credit for starting the metal scene’s fairly newfound obsession with this genre, but the likes of Turnstile, Vein, Employed To Serve, Jesus Piece, Knocked Loose, .gif from god and Incendiary all deserve plaudits. And, with excellent bands like Sugar Horse waiting in the wings, the well shows no sign of running dry any time soon.
What all this means is that local scenes that may have just remained an underground concern are now being eyed by a far wider audience in the search for what might be the next great modern hardcore band. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home of Code Orange, is one such place that bears all the hallmarks of a burgeoning hotbed for talent, and, for those on the lookout, 156/Silence wouldn’t be a bad place to start. The youthful quintet have only been together for five years, but their follow up to Undercover Scumbag, their promising 2018 debut, has definitely put them in a position to challenge for that ‘next big thing’ tag.
Irrational Pull is a great metallic hardcore record, pulling in influences from the golden age of metalcore, when Converge, Poison The Well, Drowningman and Botch were boiling down the bones of hardcore and extreme metal and reconstructing it into their own twisted, savage Frankenstein’s Monster of noise. Second track, God’s Departure, is full of Kurt Ballou-esque, feedback-drenched fretboard mangling. Taste Of Ashes takes a glorious beatdown, a riff that is tonally as scalpel-sharp as Dave Knudson’s guitar on Botch’s classic We Are The Romans album and the kind of frenzied vocal tics that The Chariot used to inflict on us. Upset, Unfed then steams in sounding like a one-band Trustkill Records greatest hits collection. So far, so good.
The album takes a tiny breather at the start of Lost Visual, coming across like Calculating Infinity-era Dillinger Escape Plan if they had been listening to Integrity instead of Miles Davis. It’s very brief, though, as vocalist Jack Murray immediately begins to scream himself raw while his band chug away behind him.
As the record continues the references come thick and fast, mostly from that very specific era when hardcore was at its most creatively free; Cave In, Himsa, Coalesce, The Hope Conspiracy, Shai Hulud and Turmoil all spring to mind throughout Irrational Pull’s run time. For those who remember that period with a fondness, you’ll struggle not to be seduced by hearing a group of young musicians so clearly enamoured with that scene that they have re-imagined the blueprint for these times.
The caveat is that you do feel like 156/Silence could take the inspiration from those bands even further, or look across town at, you guessed it, Code Orange, and try to move the goalposts of hardcore a bit themselves. But, that’s for the future; for today, Irrational Pull does more than enough to keep our thirst for new hardcore alive.
156/Silence’s Irrational Pull is out now