Subject: Hardcore

Designs for Automotion, the current album from Buffalo's Snapcase, is pure hardcore. While labelmate Earth Crisis has broadened its base, moving its own brand of hardcore a step toward the mainstream, Snapcase hasn't budged an inch. Rather, as evidenced by the new disc, the band pulls the mainstream toward it, using riffs and phrases that could have come from any rock era and expressing them with undiluted force.

Snapcase is a live live band. The guitars of Jon Salemi and Frank Vicario are crunched to the point of creating nearly physical waves, while Dustin Perry (bass) and Tim Redmond (drums) move closer to the fore, unfettered by the seemingly omnipresent belief that all hardcore acts must be steeped in treble. Add Daryl Taberski's vocals, a raw, bleeding roar delivered with a sense of mission, and you have one potent live force.

For anyone who sees the band as a group of blowhards, drummer Redmond describes a process by which people can and should "unlearn everything that society has taught us about race, gender, dietary habits, economic pursuits and personal behavior" and instead think and develop "opinions for ourselves." This message of individuality and self-realization is projected through nearly all of the band's work. "Your mind is unsung because you're not driven," sings Taberski on "Energy Dome," off the latest. "You need to rise up and personalize your existence / You need to wake up and activate the dreams of your soul….Your hero is yourself."

Snapcase's willingness to lead through music helps keep the live show upbeat and entertaining, rather than pedantic. Such attributes are particularly valuable in the package tour environment. Given that festival fatigue can set in, bands must be engaging or else risk being forgotten.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Smith