Friday, October 26, 2007

Post-hardcore descends on the river city

Tooth and Nail, Victory and Equal Vision Records showcase their acts at Emo's tonight

By Tito Belis

Nowadays, hardcore is the recipient of various labels that might have the tendency to confuse those who simply feel the genre should be lumped into its own designated category. Since post-hardcore came onto the scene, it appears that most outfits wanting in on the action are finding unique ways to texturize their music in an attempt to knock down the walls previous styles have built up. As part of a way to keep preserving the spirit of post-hardcore, labels Tooth and Nail, Victory and Equal Vision have assembled a massive summer tour in order to give diehard fans something to look forward to during these extremely humid times.

Influenced by the work of the playful children's author Shel Silverstein, the boys of Silverstein continue to carry on the tradition that the province of Ontario, Canada, has been know for over the years such as Grade, Jersey, and Moneen. With the work of their predecessors and present musical peers, Silverstein is taking its finely crafted hybrid of emo, hardcore and punk to break into American markets that just can't seem to get enough of this sound.

After releasing its second EP, Silverstein was lucky enough to have it make its way over to the offices of hardcore imprint Victory Records. Now on their latest offering for Victory, "When Broken Is Easily Fixed" finds the band using its various influences, molding them into something completely their own. With vocals heard from the depths of the deepest confines, and a melodic instrumental edginess different than what's currently being flaunted on the West Coast, Silverstein's brand of post-hardcore carries with it a refreshing punch absent in most other outfits trying to attempt this sound today. Having had the chance to tour with acts such as A Static Lullaby, Armor for Sleep and From Autumn to Ashes, Silverstein is now set to take center stage with this tour that features other notable acts such as fellow labelmates Hawthorne Heights.

As one of Victory's latest signings, Hawthorne Heights is the definition of an outfit that is able to spark one's forgotten love for sensitively sung lyrics and abrasive hardcore all over again. Equal parts melody with dueling screaming/soft vocals juxtapose the emo and punk-rock foundation Hawthorne Heights has decided to base its music on.

"The Silence in Black and White" is the band's new record, and it reveals a maturing band figuring out different musical methods in order to give fans something more than the all-too-predictable breakdown. Recorded at the infamous Smart Studios with Sean O'Keefe (Spitalfield, Fall Out Boy), the new record has a polished feel, yet presents a vehemence rare in the music, especially in the scene that has adopted Hawthorne Heights as a group to be on the lookout for.

"The recording process this time around was an experience within itself," said drummer Eron Bucciarelli. "We got to take our time and experiment a lot more than we've been used to in the past. Sonically, this record is such a step up from anything else we've done. We are very proud of the finished product.

" Released on Tuesday, "The Silence in Black and White" is the perfect album for someone who adores engaging melodic punk/biting hardcore with frustrated subject matter and intensity fraught from the first track to the last.

Switching gears, the last time Emery came through Austin was for a short performance during the Tooth and Nail showcase at South By Southwest. Through The Backroom's darkness, Emery took the stage and began its set with the track "Walls" from its latest Tooth and Nail A-bomb, "The Weak's End." From the start, the band took on an unlikely personality that contradicted their dress and mannerisms on the microphone when the time came to address fans between songs. Damaging everything in their path and crisscrossing each other in the most chaotic of fashions, Emery performed a brutal yet emotionally charged set before a crowd of kids awaiting the sweet serenade from labelmates Mae.

As part of Tooth and Nail's growing post-hardcore roster, Emery is coming to be known as one of those bands whose poplarity is mainly realized through massive word-of-mouth. But when actually seen live, Emery is able to ignite passionate devotion from fans due to their unbelievable stage presence and thunderous "heartcore" stylings.

With an assemblage of sing/scream cuts outlining their album, "The Weak's End," the user-friendliness of the record is apparent and can be accessible to the fan interested more in the heavier side of hardcore, those who prefer a more angular and challenging technique or even to the sensitive emo fanatic who clings onto every word a vocalist is muttering through their microphone.

Easily, this showcase is destined to deliver some of the most pulse-pounding music to be heard all summer long. Whether you like a variety within the hardcore you choose to listen to or prefer a much more straightforward style, Tooth and Nail, Victory, and Equal Vision will certainly have you leaving the show with a smile on your face.

Hawthorne Heights, Silverstein, Emery and Alexisonfire play the early show at Emo's tonight.

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