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Seb Alvarez of Meth leaves his comfort zone in noise-centric collective Virgin Mother

Chicago group Meth are known for their big and burly scorched-earth mash-up of mathcore, noise rock, and ambient music, which they execute with surgical precision. At the center of their dissonant sprawl is vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Seb Alvarez, who started Meth as a solo project before developing the current six-piece iteration. The band put out […]

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In their second incarnation, Racetraitor find a progressive movement ready for their politics

After Chicago political hardcore powerhouse Racetraitor disbanded in 1999, a fog of legend grew in their wake. Motivated by their frustration at the bilious 2016 presidential campaign cycle and the fury and urgency of the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement, the band reemerged with a fiery reunion a couple weeks before the election, but they […]

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Chicago’s Nequient want to rile you up with Darker Than Death or Night

Chicago’s Nequient hit the ground running in 2015 with the EP Infinite Regress. By the time of their 2018 full-length debut, Wolves at the Door, they’d solidified into a brutal, versatile metallic-hardcore unit. They’d also established their studio methods and favorite producers (Pete Grossman at Bricktop Recording), and they accumulated some DIY touring experience. The […]

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Oakland’s Kowloon Walled City return after six years with a noise-rock masterpiece

Oakland’s Kowloon Walled City formed in 2007 as an intense postmetal outfit who tipped their hat to fellow Oaklanders Neurosis, who’d helped pioneer the fusion of hardcore and sludge. During the 14 years since, the band have slowly pulled back on the aggression and fury, settling into creeping, deliberately paced noise rock. Kowloon Walled City’s […]

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Chicago band Porcupine explore hardcore’s potent possibilities on The Sibyl

Chicago hardcore five-piece Porcupine use society’s fetid underbelly like a renewable energy source—they must know they’ll never run out of cruelty to drive their outrage. Their new album, The Sibyl (New Morality Zine), opens with “Pederasty,” sung from the point of view of an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse who’s still haunted by trauma; […]

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Hardcore, metal, and punk bands unite for Shut It Down: Benefit for the Movement for Black Lives

When Racetraitor formed in Chicago in the mid-90s, their uncompromisingly antiracist politics weren’t always warmly received in the hardcore scene, but after their breakup in 1999 their influence continued to spread (especially once drummer Andy Hurley joined occasional Racetraitor bassist Pete Wentz in Fall Out Boy in 2003). More than a decade later, the burgeoning […]

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Xibalba plunge into new depths of metal and hardcore on Años en Infierno

Named after a Mayan term that roughly translates to “place of fear,” Southern California trio Xibalba have been blending strains of metal and hardcore for nearly 14 years. They’ve increasingly leaned into their Latino heritage (they sing in both Spanish and English) and their death-metal influences, while expanding into new moods and song structures; on […]