Kankakee band Doghead make clean, controlled emocore whose energy draws on a wide spectrum of heavy music, not just old hardcore—they owe more to recent artists (D.C. flower-power group Give, much of the roster of Chicago label New Morality Zine) than to the genre’s 1980s beginnings. The professional polish of their debut EP, last year’s Silver, allows them to emphasize that heaviness as expertly as they do their melodies. The EP’s burliest sections feel like a stamping press smoothly exceeding its rated power—you can feel the weight moving as the band travel through the song, with hurricane-force guitars and throaty screams barely contained by tight, steely rhythms. On “Wick Splitter,” a cyclone of riffs threatens to swallow the vocals, but when the guitars tip the balance by throttling back to expose the churning drums, the song’s emotional core—angry, repentant, hopeful—takes over from the instrumental momentum. This galvanizing moment gives Doghead a second wind, and makes it feel like they could demolish any obstacle.
Doghead The Tear Garden Collective, Deary, and Act of Retaliation open. Sat 1/28, 6:30 PM, Subterranean downstairs, 2011 W. North, $15. 17+