Hell on Earth
Historically, New York hardcore has been a style closely tethered to its Manhattan roots. However, the burgeoning Long Island scene has begun making substantial contributions to the state's mosh-ready exports.
"You could play shows in Long Island, but it didn't mean as much as when you played in New York City," says Rick Jimenez, guitarist for This Is Hell, one of the isle's front-running outfits. "You have that drive to make people from other areas notice. That's where I feel like I got my work ethic from."
NYC's proximity gives hardcore acts excellent opportunities to hone their manic craft, endowing them with a P.O.V. much fiercer than similar groups from other states.
"If we were from a place in California, we would have sounded different," says Jimenez. "The vibe there is so much more laid-back than New York."
Imagining This Is Hell's oeuvre as "laid-back" is quite a twist on the band's current methods. Appropriately, This Is Hell's sound is hell — a war zone ravaged by destructive breakdowns, dilapidated riffs and the prophetic screams of the condemned.
While the crux of This Is Hell's music is undeniably hardcore, they're open to seizing references beyond genre lines. For gloomy 2006 debut LP Sundowning, Jimenez cites Pantera and Queensrÿche's Operation: Mindcrime as conceptual cues. Currently in between stable label homes, the quartet will release the Warbirds 7-inch on Florida-based Think Fast! Records in late August.
"We're definitely evolving," notes the guitarist of the new material. "It's very thrashy. There's a lot of old Metallica influence."
In the interim, This Is Hell is part of the 10 for $10 Tour, a hardcore feast that trades an Alexander Hamilton for a packed lineup headlined by heavyweights Poison the Well, Madball and Bane. This Is Hell is unfazed by the possibilities of intra-bill competition; instead, they're looking forward to the camaraderie.
"We get to spend all summer making friends," says Jimenez. "If we have to be essentially competing with other people to come to our shows, there are loads of bands that people want to see every night [on this tour].
"Such a good show happening for $10 is a gift to everybody."
Get ready for a whole lotta Tontons. The bluesy Houston indie-rockers have scheduled a whole passel of events surrounding next weekend's release of their first full-length, The Tontons. The quartet is hosting a listening-party preview 7 p.m. next Friday at Montrose slider stop Little Bigs (2703 Montrose), and plays the official release party the next night at Caroline Collective (4820 Caroline) with guests Fat Tony, Giant Princess and Little Joe Washington (who would make a helluva duet partner for Tontons singer Asli Omar). Last but not least, the Tontons, who are nominated for several Houston Press music awards, perform as part of the annual HPMA showcase 8 p.m. Sunday, July 26, at Martell's (308 Main).
On that note, this is the next-to-last week to votein the Music Awards. See the ballot on p. 44 or at www.houstonpress.com.
1836 Richmond, 713-666-5555
1. Rusted Shut, Dead LP/CD
2. Heavy Winged/Inca Ore, Ring Mining LP
3. Obituary, Darkest Day CD
4. Dinosaur Jr., Farm LP/CD
5. Pestilence, Resurrection Macabre CD
6. Loop, World in Your Eyes 2XCD
7. Sonic Youth, The Eternal LP/CD
8. Grouper, Cover the Windows and the Walls CD
9. Wardruna, Gap Var Ginnunga CD
10. Nurse With Wound, Alice the Goon CD
KILT (100.3 FM)
Top songs, July 9
Data from www.yes.com
1. Taylor Swift, "You Belong With Me"
2. Brad Paisley, "Then"
3. Alan Jackson, "Sissy's Song"4. Darius Rucker, "Alright"
5. Lady Antebellum, "I Run to You"
6. Zac Brown Band, "Whatever It Is"
7. Keith Urban, "Kiss a Girl"
8. George Strait, "Living for the Night"
9. Kenny Chesney, "Out Last Night"
10. Reba, "Strange"
(lists compiled by Chris Gray)
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