Thursday, March 13, 2014

Texas Hardcore


  Growing up in central Texas, just west of Austin, the self proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World”, seeing live music shows was often what me and my friends did for entertainment on the weekends. Thank god our parents were ok with us at only 14-18 going to the city by ourselves night after night to go to these shows or I don’t know what we would have done. The main genre that we went to see, and one that was very dominant in the area, were those of Post-Hardcore and Metal as well as all of their constantly emerging subgenres. The best part about these shows was the variation of bands that played in a single concert, the first usually a local artist that was trying to make it big. Many of my friends were in groups like this, so when we weren’t at big shows, we were watching them play.
  The scene in Texas has evolved to produce just about every subgenre of post-hardcore and metal, such as Pantera, Scale the Summit, Juggernaut, and Helstar, who is considered influential in the evolution of Power Metal, for metal bands and it’s sub-genres. Then there is Texas in July, At the Drive in, Flyleaf, and Upon A Burning Body for Post-Hardcore, all of which are from Texas and most of which are from central Texas, such as San Antonio and Austin. Many of the groups of today coming from the area are somewhat of a mix of these two genres in one way or another. Metalcore, death metal, grindcore, Technical death metal, Melodic death metal, Melodic hardcore, Progressive hardcore, progressive death metal, screamo, Thrash metal, and others are all represented. Over the years, these genres have all evolved from hardcore punk bands like Scratch Aid, who was one of the original hardcore punk bands that sprouted up in Austin and was a vital part of the push forward to create post-hardcore that we hear today.
   Many people think that as punk artist’s such as Scratch Aid, moved forward in their career’s, they wanted to advance their music as well, adding more technical aspects and styles from other genres for more of a challenge as well as to create sonic elements that broke the rules of what was expected of them, an idea that lied at the core of the entire punk culture. They often times booked their own shows, acted as their own management, paid for their own recordings, and did everything themselves. This explains why they worked so hard to keep making music that was essentially unique to that group, because they wanted to stay away from that “generic” sound that comes with an official labeling of a particular genre, such as the umbrella-like-genre that post-hardcore has become, encompassing so many different sounds.
   This broad labeling of sounds has led to lots of controversy among the bands themselves and how they are labeled. Many of them hate the way that they’re labeled or just don’t give a shit. This fact and the similarities between sub-genres make it almost impossible to truly label a group under one title, and causes lots of arguments throughout the fans, especially region to region. For example, areas such as Chicago, D.C., and San Diego all underwent a movement that was considered a major step forward for the genre overall. The most recent of which was the San Diego Sound movement that contributed to making post-hardcore sound the way that it does today, or so the media thinks.
   Metal music is similar to many post-hardcore but can be identified by the low, deep growls and gory lyrics, as well as socially aware lyrical subjects, which is the issue of some philosophical debate that is for another discussion, as well as occasional high screams, mixed with fast-paced, technical guitar pieces, and deep heavy bass. Like I mentioned, some of these traits, such as fast, technical guitar rifts, are shared with post-hardcore, causing some confusion about where to place most groups and has thus furthered the controversial debate about the sub-genres of this style of music. 

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