Video Interview: Varials

Varials, a Philadelphian metal core unit, has been making some fucking waves the past year. Hell, they’ve managed to gain enough traction and attention that the likes of Fearless Records have recently decided to sign them. A signing that is responsible for the manufacturing of Varials’ latest powerhouse of a record, Pain Again. Fitting title least to say because this record is a malevolent reckoning of despair and thronging self-affliction.

Below is an intimate interview conducted with Sean and Travis of Varials and our dear friend Anthony Vitale. Anyway, we’ll keep the talk short and let our homie Anthony do the rest.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out the record release going down this weekend over at Voltage Lounge with Left Behind, Mercy Blow, and Vicious Embrace. More information and where to purchase tickets can be found by clicking this link.

M4P Presents: Desolated’s Final U.S. Tour

It’s been quite a few years since Desolated last graced us with a U.S. run. If memory serves correct, it was back in 2014 when they headlined (the now defunct) Wild Bull over in Paterson, New Jersey with a slew of malicious talent both national and local. For those that weren’t there? A lawless response within the confines of a crowded room filled with both hate and harmony. Ignorance, or a better way of expressing it.

Thankfully, that’ll all change come this Wednesday at Mexicali Live. The U.K. heavyweights will be ripping it across America with Purgatory and Easy Money as supporting acts for what will be one massive swan song. Fuck, even the local talent on this tour package is going to be stacked high over here in the northeast. So, what’s in store for the Garden State you may be thinking? Well, we’re glad you asked because we have one hell of a bill to announce for y’all living under a fucking rock….

Mosh for Paws is proud to announce Desolated’s last New Jersey show in Teaneck, New Jersey. Right over here on the other side of the Hudson boys and gals so either hit the Port Authority or snooze because there is no NYC date. Jersey just does it justice sometimes. . Anyway, the event will be held on Wednesday, August 23rd over at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, New Jersey. The New Jersey date comes exclusive with famed support from Billy Club Sandwich and local power house unit and Staten Island’s own, Time Spent. Fuck, this is sure to be a hell of a banger.

For those continually out of the loop, this is North Jersey’s “new” and premier venue for punk, hardcore, and metal. Fucking hate to sum it up to such simplistics but this hall is housing some serious acts in the soon to be “near future.” Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that Mexicali will be rebranded as of September 12th by the name of Debonair Music Hall. We’ll get you more information on that at a later date and with a more appropriate article.

For now, let’s take a second to lay the spread. Tickets are only $12 if you purchase them prior to the day of the show. These can be bought at their box office or online (beat the surcharges, bring the cash baby). Otherwise, it’s $15 at the door and you just lost out on an extra PBR or Sprite you could’ve downed . Remember, this is an all ages venue so do keep in mind one might want to have proper ID and be above the age of 21 if intentions are to drink. Watch where you swing that fist, treat the venue like it’s your home, and lastly, don’t forget to tip your bartender.

In the meantime, be sure to check the interview below that was conducted by Matt with Rich from Desolated. See everyone at doors.

Interview Set

HEAD WALK: Been a minute since your last trip overseas. Especially in regards to that wild show over at the now defunct Wild Bull back in 2014. How has everything been since then?

Rich: That show was crazy, man. One of my favorite shows I’ve ever played, to be honest, I miss that level of ignorance. Everything has been good, we did a few more tours after that and released a record. Can’t believe it was that long ago though time fully flies.

HW: What went into booking this tour? Why the decision of putting Purgatory and Easy Money on this nationwide bill?

R: To be honest I can’t make it sound more impressive than it was, Travis Porter hit me up and we had some time before we stopped playing shows so we just jumped on it. As for Easy Money and Purgatory, we just wanted to play with hardcore bands and especially ones that have some momentum, so when we got asked about them we were pretty excited.

HW: After nearly a decade of writing, touring, and influencing drones of bands with your relentless style of deafening reckoning, why the decision to call it quits? With that, what will become of everyone involved with this project?

R: I think, it’s hard when you’ve been playing non-stop for the past five years and to continue at that pace. We all have like very big things going on with our own lives and personally, I’ve always never liked the idea of slowing down and fading out so we decided to just stop for the time being.

We’re not sure if we’re going to play again at the moment but if we do, we want to make sure we come back with the same momentum. To continue it properly rather than playing a load of half assed shows a year. Another reason is when you play as many shows in Europe as we did, it gets to a point where you feel like kids just need a bit of a breather.

As for other projects, I think Paul will do something and Jake has War Machine but as for me and Drew, we’re kind of just going see how it goes.

HW: Any other bands these days that seem to catch your attention or believe we should check out?

R: Malevolence always catch my attention and they are blowing up. I saw that Guilt Trip band for the first time the other week and they were pretty rad as well

HW: Last words & plugs?

R: Come hang out one last time state side and chill with us because it’ll be good to see some friends. Definitely, check out the Malevolence record; best metal record since Ashes of the Wake.

Review of Just’s First Full Length, II

Every once in a while, a band emerges within the hardcore community that shatters expectations and raises our level of enjoyment, encourages our self-worth, and promotes a sense of pride of what this community can produce. Personally, there are three things that any giving project must have in order for it to have a successful run. Originality to break the mold, dedication or the drive to continue, and talent because that’s a fucking given. It seems as if these days hardcore has reached a mindset that forsakes most, if not all, of these unwritten and arguably unnecessary prerequisites. It’s almost as if kids care more about image or reputation more so than providing their fans with a raw, respected, and impassioned deliverance of music. Personally, I’m glad to see that people are out there giving music a chance but can we please do it for the sake of personal creativity and self-expression and not towards boosting one’s ego or image? This is hardcore, there are no winners in this game, baby.

Speaking of which, the band we are quite stoked to bring forth to your attention is an act that will soon be played heavily on your playlist after reading this article. Just, a Brooklyn based hardcore unit is comprised of members of various other projects from several genres spanning over 15 plus years of influence. This is inherently true upon first listen as this band mixes a heterogeneous collection of musical direction stemming from a multitude of styles. Seriously, at one point you can hear the tumultuous anarchy of 1980’s hardcore punk while the next minute you are in a diazepam daze of reverberating glare that only the 1990’s was ever able to produce accordingly.

An integral point that should be laid out before the listener is that this isn’t just another hardcore project nearly as much as it is an art project. When asked about the direction of this band, it was said that Just is “all his brain, his pen, and his art.” You may also know of his other project, No Honeymoon.

Hardcore has always been more than glaring guitars, screaming heads, or the violent discourse it tends to manufacture in a live setting. It is an art that takes the innermost sentiments of which we love and expresses the hate within our problematic world in a manner that is both poetic and artistic. Instead of dropping a fire merch collection or worrying about the band’s’ image or adhering to public demands, Just only cares about producing something worthy of its true self.

II is the second self-titled record and first in terms of bringing forth a full length to light. A vibrating warmth of tonal clarity matched with aggressive undertones that possess a lyricism style that is rather vengeful in nature. Furthermore, the attitude is fucking spiteful with topics that range from existential thought (Dream) to battling the demanding stress and pain of living life in the big bad city (Dusk). As I said earlier, this formation of music is paired with multifarious sounds and influences. All without sacrificing the simplicity and energy that punk offers us. No song stretches for more than a minute or so and the writing was constructed with both a professional and fervent mindset.

“Mostly, we’re influenced by fun times and the macabre, punk, Raymond Pettibon, and 1980’s hardcore.”


It can be a tricky task in combining dissimilar genres for the sake of creating something fresh and original. Often times, it ends up with something that sounds distasteful or shitty for a lack of better terms. Fortunately, this was not the case on Just’s freshmen full length as they were successful in producing a seven inch that orchestrates the use of harmonious leads while combining disorderly rhythm sections in the writing of II. With such forceful tracks like October or Trick, the craving desire that makes you want to put a head through a wall or call someone out on their bullshit becomes tenfold. You know? That anger that rests anxiously within each and every one of us. Regardless if we wish to admit it or not, this record has a tendency to express such an emotional outpour of aggravation on the opening track alone…

What is Just?
Just is that feeling in your gut
What is Just?
Just is a compass collecting rust
What is Just?
Just is an equal share
What is just when you just don’t give a fuck?

On the same token, tracks like City or Gut yield a melodious sense of reverberation that more and more bands seem to find as a gratifying addition to incorporating to any given piece. As for as personal opinions go, far too many bands are cheaply mimicking the gorgeous echoes of glaring reverbs and the saturated chorus of the 1990’s. Now, I’ll never call a band out for their failures or misfortunes because nobody is above that. What will be said is that very few bands are able to draw a distinct line between influence and inspiration. Carry a sense of due diligence with your writing that neither undermines your own talent or completely constricts your sound to the likes of someone else. For “hardcore’s sake,” projects such as the ever popular Turnstile or West Coast riff train, Mizery, were efficacious in bringing forth an intoxicating sound of harmony paired immaculately with a loaded tone. As is the case with Just so please do give the open eye and open set of ears on this banger because it still holds roots to a punk sensibility. This isn’t an aesthetic nearly as it is an art project focused on raw, energetic and impassioned music. More importantly, punk-hardcore.

Oh, and for the record, Just sounds entirely separate and distinct from those mentioned above.

The Plug

II was engineered and mixed over at Barbershop Studios (New Jersey) by Kevin Kumetz with support from Mike Kalajian over at Rogue Planet in mastering this fucking gem. The record dropped last Friday as an independent release and with no external support. Seriously, the DIY mentality is fucking perfect and leaves no doubt or question that these young men are in it for the right reasons.

This isn’t just another hardcore band, this is Just.


Review of Scary Stories’ Rope

Rope, a vicious six track record of hectic proportions, dropped on July 7th off of Black Numbers. The New Jersey hardcore based quartet Scary Stories have outdone themselves on this cut, my friends. Rope is an ungovernable force. It is an emotional delve of personal affliction. A reigning torment that only few could ever understand. I mean shit, it takes a whole different breed of character to listen and thoroughly enjoy a hardcore or metal record.

Well, let’s get down to business and talk shop about this furiously enraging 7″ that the boys in Scary Stories have proudly unleashed upon us.The lyrics within this abhorrent record are that of an abysmally dwelling consciousness focused on the negative repercussions of surviving in a postmodern society. Rope plays like a cruising behemoth that is hell bent on self-destruction. A borderline nihilistic outcry towards death’s cold grip and the implications surrounding this seemingly despairing existence. From the filthy bigotry of our nation (White Plague) to the endless amount of “witch hunts” within this society (More Weight), Rope is anything but quiet or typical.

At times, the record spins like a malicious fit of rage fueled by personal discontent towards implications arising from one’s decisions regarding any manner of existence. An existential crisis would be far too much of a cliche as the intent of Paul’s lyricism dives far into the deep end of our emotions. The place where heartache, pain, and despair lay dormant. A place colder and more crushing than the darkest depths of the farthest reaches of the deep blue sea. Then at parts, it becomes resentful yet yearning while expressing anger in a manner that excretes passion. Chaotic in nature, the intention of this record is a pairing of dwelling poetry and boisterous music structure. Coming from a fan with a sincere love for The Chariot and Converge, this latest bit of anarchic music is sure to satisfy such a taste.

Credits: Grab Shot Promo

To sum this record up with a definitive statement, I would say that this second release by Scary Stories is a lawless rampage fueled by an innate distaste of our society and the contradictory standard it holds. There are far too many underrated bands within our scene and it kills me to know that Scary Stories is but the best of many.

As said earlier, Black Numbers is responsible for putting this record out and physical copies can be bought at their Merch Connection page. For those that were fortunate to attend the record release show, there was a limited tie-dye colorway that was being sold so I’m a bit jealous least to say the least. From what we heard the show was a straight banger with support from Ides, What of Us, Devoidov, and Concussed fucking killing it at Backroom Studios. Speaking of which, what better place to christen this record than by where it was produced? Scot Moriarty, front-man of Organ Dealer, was the man behind the helm of this project. Once again, Scot provided a bang up job in bringing Rope to life. Not a lot of folks know what it takes to produce a great record let alone have the ability, drive, and talent to make it actually happen. When you find a great relationship with an engineer, it would be wise to continue such a connection because chemistry can be a mother fucker. Great to see such an outcome between artist and producer and I’m looking forward to what comes next between these two parties.

Anarchic in fashion while mutinous in nature towards conformity. Grab a copy, download it to your phone, or just give them some love. The scariest story you may have ever heard could just very well be your own life

Credits: Matthew Glodek

Control Releases New EP Entitled “The Lonely”

Control is a four piece New Jersey-based collective that focuses its writing towards mid-90’s post-hardcore and emo. A sound that incorporates a contemporary style for this generation based on erstwhile sounds and aesthetics some years ago. Their music’s influence resonates strongly against bands such as The GetUp Kids, Quicksand, and Fugazi. An inherent take away that many should come to hear upon their first listen. More importantly if I may note, is that this quick demo presents itself with a modern sensibility that neither constricts them towards nostalgic listening or prevents their music from adhering to modern demands.

Hailing from Ogdensburg, New Jersey this band is comprised of members from Earth Stood Still and the former hardcore outfit, Captives. The original intent of this project was “playing hard, melodic, post-hardcore music with a complete DIY ethic” so we can see how this local act has strong roots towards creating original and impassionetly driven music. With a full length and several EP’s under their belt their newest release, entitled The Lonely, is one that will separate themselves from their past discography.

The Lonely is a jaded self-realization that our problems aren’t necessarily as bad as they seem. A proclamation fueled by self-loathing that says we are all destined to die and to die alone. Clocking in at just eleven minutes, this third EP and the first bit of music since 2015 is one that is nearly a decade in the making. It is both an easy listen and a deep delve of conscious thought as the lyrics are underlined by poignant melodies and a saddened prose.

An endearing appreciation goes out to Bedside Manner Collective for bringing this talented act to light to my own regards and self-interest. This is a New Jersey based record label that centers its ethos around a DIY perspective while producing limited run batches of records, tapes, and discs. Great label for those that are keen on local acts and collecting limited and small batch records. Definitely, keep in line with those guys as they are sure to bring that ear candy.

Interview Set with Mike Belveduto

HEAD WALK: The maturity and emotion within The Lonely seems more developed and fulfilling compared to your previous endeavors. Would you say this project has grown from its original consideration as just a post-hardcore outfit into what it is now?

Mike Belveduto: Totally! I’d say we have grown as musicians and as people in general. It can take some time to find yourself and it could take even longer to find your musical style, or groove if you will. You may never find either! (Laughs)

But really a huge part of our writing, in the beginning, was influenced by our former drummer Kevin Carafa. Kevin is such a great talent and it was a lot of fun to write with him over the years. He’s one of those guys who plays a ton of instruments and really gets how to write music. Most importantly, he listens and sees the big picture. After he left we sort of just threw in the towel for a bit until we came back with our good friend Kellene and our buddy Ryan. Our style has definitely changed a bit due to the changing of drummers but also our own influences have changed a bit as well.

HW: The lyrical content is one that strikes a chord of interest for myself as it reflects keenly on what a great “emo-tional” record ought to sound like. Where, if any, do you find your artistry towards writing and with that; what track stands out the most in terms of personal appreciation?

MB: As I have gotten older, I feel as if my writing and lyrical influence has changed quite a bit. I used to write about books I’ve read or something I may have seen on the news, or mostly towards some science fiction thing I was watching on television. Lately, I have unintentionally been writing about things like loneliness, anger, depression, a pinched nerve in my neck (that one I wrote about intentionally). I may have some built up feelings brewing inside that hopefully won’t explode one day. I have never seen a therapist before so I would say music is my therapy. Writing, listening, it’s the cheapest and most effective therapy I can think of honestly.

As far as a favorite song? I can’t really say. I kinda dig all three as a whole. There have been times I could pick a favorite easily, not this time.

HW: How was the recording process for The Lonely?

MB: It was a great, fun, and tedious process (laughs)! We tracked drums and bass over at Portrait Recording Studios in Pompton Plains New Jersey with our buddy John Ferrara. Then we took the tracks back to our home studio to track guitar and vocals. It’s always a fun experience being at Portrait, and then it’s always hard and tedious work finishing it up at home (laughs)! I’m just so damn picky when it comes to my vocals and I really don’t consider myself any kind of “professional singer” so it would really cost us an arm and a leg with all the time I take to do my vocals. We had it mixed by our old friend Chris Badami at Portrait Recording Studios. He’s our guy and we love him. Then we had it mastered by Dan Coutant at Sun Room Audio. This has been our formula for our last two releases and we are very happy with it.

As far as guitar gear we used our own stuff. Either an Orange AD30 or a Marshall JCM 800 head alongside some Marshall 1960 cabs. Not too many pedals get used because we are a pretty straightforward band. On this last one, I think all we used was a Boss Chorus and a Boss DD6.

Back in the day, we used to track everything with our drummer Kevin. He would mix and master it all. Our first couple EPs and Obsolete Through Automation were done like that as well.

HW: Control has been a band for nearly a decade now. Being the well-seasoned band that you are, how would you say being a local level act has been over the years? Is it easier or harder to play shows as the years go by?

MB: I’d say it’s about the same. I’ve been playing in local bands for about 18 years now and I’ve always given it my all. Regardless of whether it be a big crowd or small crowd. I feel like playing music is pretty much like everything else, the more you play the more you learn. I’ve always felt the key to “success” is just showing up with a positive attitude. If you keep showing up, playing your heart out, and continue doing your best? Someone will wanna see you.

HW: What can we expect from y’all this summer and have you any plans for tours or announcements you’d like to publicize?

MB: As of now there is not much going on this summer. We really wanna focus on writing and actually making a plan for the future. It’s been awhile since we’ve done that. Sometimes life can really get in the way of the things you love to do, that has been the case lately.

HW: Lastly, shout outs and final plugs.

MB: #defeatthemainstream #listentocontrol

Mosh for Paws Presents: Culture Killer’s Final Tour

Apparently, Kevin hasn’t thrown in the towel with booking righteous gigs over here in North Jersey because we have one hell of an announcement today, folks. Culture Killer, a violent act of anarchic proportions, are leaving their Floridian territories in search of violence and destruction one last time. You can thank Mosh for Paws for putting together this banger.

Yup, this is it my friends. The last time any of us will ever be graced by this lawless sense of musical disorder. It surely has been a minute since the boys in Culture Killer last made their way up north so do expect a rather tumultuous gathering of degeneracy.

Well, let’s keep this short and to the point…

Head over to Mexicali Live on July 19th to witness an onslaught of talent from the likes of Culture Killer, Phantom Pain, Refuge, and our family in On Sight. Tickets are only ten dollars if you get them the day before the show. If you want to beat the surcharges and fees, just swing by the venue to pick these tickets up. You’ve spent far more on much worse so don’t give us a fucking excuse as to why you couldn’t purchase them. If you’d rather buy tickets from home then head over to this link to cop these bad boys.

With that in mind, I would like to take a quick second to note that this will be one of the last Mexicali Live shows. What does this mean you ask?
For starters, it means that there will be a new face for music in North Jersey. A premiere venue curated, especially for hardcore, punk, and metal. As of September 12th of this year, the venue will be operating under the name Debonair Music Hall. This rebranding will be bringing bigger and better acts while disassociating itself from its former bluegrass and folk-based roots. In other words, more rock n’ roll and fewer hippies smelling the joint up.

Lastly, we had a chance to sit down and chat with Dylan and Hunter from Culture Killer about their decision to break up while discussing their forthcoming final record. Check it out below and be sure to save the date. See y’all at the rock show.

Interview Set

HEAD WALK: Gavel, your recent and seemingly last display of work, was a rather hard hitting demo. What went into the recording and engineering process of your most recent release? More importantly, would you care to explain the intention and meaning that this viciously hitting demo aims to present towards the listener? The message is rather clear but please do elaborate.

Hunter: The recording process was very simple and straightforward. I had some downtime with an engineer friend of ours and wanted to put out an “anthem” type track. It was just Ryan Harvey and myself banging out a track in a few hours. Ian, our former vocalist, contributed lyrics to the song as well. I originally put vocals on “Gavel” for demo purposes, but those takes are the same ones we released. Regarding the lyrical intention, it stands for exactly what it says. There’s no hidden meanings or exceptions.

“A.C.A.B, Calling all pigs in the P.D.”

Dylan: Culture Killer has never been a silent act. Lyrical displays of personal resentments against police brutality, inherent corruption within government, and an overall distaste of social and political factors seem to stem from your music. What is it right now within our society that needs to be resolved or at the very least, be brought to light?

I’ve got a huge problem with social dependency. People say they want a revolution but won’t make a move unless someone else makes one first. In a sense, Culture Killer was that first move. Like, “Okay you’re mad about something? Us too. Let’s fucking do something about it.”

By no means are we the first band to do it, but I’d like to think that we’ve left a print in the sand. At least for our generation.

HW: Why the decision to throw in the towel? Was it entirely due to an inability of maintaining a steady line up or in part of financial woes or the other reasons expressed in that facebook post? Do you feel that there will ever be a rebirth or is this all for the best?

Dylan: There’s a time and place for everything, and we feel like this is the time to pinch the flame for CK. It’s not that we don’t love the music we write, or what we do because we do. But on the other hand, it’s draining when you’re trying to have fun, while also having to constantly sort out unnecessary bullshit. Losing members was one thing, and don’t get us wrong, we pulled the plug on multiple people. But by no means are we ever going to beg for someone to be in, or stay in our band.

I’d say it’s for the best. It’s better to burn out than to fade away.

HW: Speaking of which, you expressed that you guys have been finalizing what looks to be your last release as a band? What can we the listener expect from Culture Killer’s swan song?

Dylan: Our final EP is by far the most violent thing we’ve put out to date. Listeners can expect a lot of bitter rage. The lyrics are pretty personal to me, as this album is OUR closure. This last album, lyrically, says everything that we needed too. Nothing more, nothing less.

Hunter: I really feel like I wrote “Throes of Mankind” for a much older audience because of the pressure of signing to Metal Blade. At the end of the day, I love the record BUT, I recognize where my head was at that time.

This last EP feels a lot more natural to me than “Throes.”

HW: Will anyone be chasing music after the split or is back to the nine to five?

Hunter: Dylan and I have another project, that has been in the works for the past year. It’s definitely something that we’re taking our time on.

I know Dylan Boyer (Oscar) is starting a couple projects as well.

HW: Any last words you’d like to say before we depart?

Exterminate Filth, Motherfuckers.

Review of Concrete’s New Record “Everything Ends”

If there’s one facet within hardcore or metal that is unsettling, it is that there is a high degree of selfishness these days as the focus more and more becomes of egotistical wants and needs. The individual craves attention, a desire for recognition and self-worth. Unfortunately, our desires inevitably become cravings stemming from morally depraved actions set forth by disdained beliefs against humanity. A set of convictions that we hold blindly within ourselves in order to find whatever meaning or depth this reality may have. No, we become consumed by how people view us or how our identity plays a role in this dismal existence we call our life. For what it’s worth, this often misconstrued realm is frequently disregarded or abused by many hapless souls. Actions create events while conflictions induce collisions. Pain is spilled from our the hands as to stain the cloth of the bearer who spilled it. Days, weeks, and months can go by but those endless nights awake will still leave you thinking how that stain never ought to be there.

We all have something that keeps us awake at night. When we were children it was about what imperiling entity lurked in the shadows or of some simple displeasure we noticed about the day. It’s not to say anything has changed as nearly as it has become more imposing that this is one big bad world. Death is inevitable and deceit is guaranteed. For many in this society, every day is a fight for survival and as cliche, as that fucking phrase is, there is no doubt that the mind has a tendency to stir our thoughts into a whirlwind of self-loathing and despair. Fuck, I’ve sure as hell spent many a night laying motionlessly in bed while ingested by a state of piercing anxiety. Nothing but harrowing thoughts whilst dwelling on every bad hand that was ever drawn by my part.

If there was ever a band out there right now that was able to sincerely respond towards those feelings and misanthropy? The maliciously impending hardcore unit better known as Concrete, have found one hell of a soundtrack for the demons that keep your peace at bay.

For those who have yet to know, Concrete is a New York based hardcore outfit straight out of Albany, New York; a prominent scene that delivers quite the punishing style of music. The album that I have had the pleasure of spinning has been their second and highly maturing contribution of work titled Everything Ends. A tormenting record that expresses life’s miseries and the strength needed in order to live through it. For what it’s worth, Everything Ends is sure to be a staple point of what will be a healthy discography. Shit, these boys are pumping out music faster than most bands can even get time to practice.

If there is one statement I’d like to open up this review with it would be that the transition from 2013’s Deadlock is one of personal growth and musical progress. Like any project, one’s first delivery of music is often met with inadequacy or control. In better terms, a lack of proper songwriting and fluidity in constructing a record as a whole piece. Now, is this to say that Concrete’s debut should be considered unfavorable or critical to fault or error? Absolutely not. However, when we present their initial work towards a comparison to Everything Ends, we the listener can hear a drastic difference between these compositions. The maturation is inherent within the introductory track, Pure Strength, as it lays the foreground of what is truly a crusading behemoth of a fucking record. Each track plays as a separate and distinct identity with very little room for confusion or similarity against one another. At the same time, this harrowing bit of sound is able to present the listener with an unmistakably pronounced tone. A haunting sound due to none other than the formidable force known better as Concrete. Elements of thrash, power violence, and variants of metal and hardcore are found throughout this record. It is as if the members of this band came together to create something that they themselves could enjoy without a care in the world of what others may or may not think. That mentality alone aided in producing what is undoubtedly a well-crafted hardcore record centered around vengeful riffs and roaring drumming. The influences within this composition are varying so do take the time of day to pick this one apart.

In terms of strings, the riffs are charged with fury and aggression. A down tuned level of bellowing lows and crunching mids that produce various levels and speeds of heaviness throughout this rather ranging record. Out of anything, I am just fucking thankful for a hard hitting record that nailed the recording, mixing, and mastering process for the drums. It fucking hits and I am just glad that there seems to be quite a chemistry between the strings and skins on this project.

There is quite a bit I’d like to break down from this record but due to time and content as restricting factors, we will keep this rather short and to the point. So let’s appease the writer that I am and the please the reader that you are and wrap this up by reflecting quickly on the lyrical outpour of emotional distaste found within Everything Ends. The lyrics are that of Concrete’s frontman Lenny and the dwelling thoughts that consumes his rest. Topics of suicide, animal cruelty and the selfishness of humanity is persistent throughout these songs inspired by what truly keeps us up at night. These aren’t just words, they are both the cries and screams against the throngs and woes of this hellish reality. You can feel the resentment and pain from this record while feeling an enormous amount of strength and perseverance within your heart and soul to take a stand against torment.

Everything Ends is slated to drop on June 30th off of Irish Voodoo Records. From the numerous listens I have given this sophomore release, I can easily say that this mortifying twelve inches of record is one that will separate themselves from the rest of the pack. A distinction of sound and character that lacks in comparison towards the lot of fakes and washed out acts that fail to present something half as authentic than this tough as nails of a record. The interview below will answer questions in regards to touring and the future of what is sure to be a steady rise to the top.

Interview Set

HEAD WALK: Where did the band go to record this monstrous ripping behemoth of a record? Was it an easy process or were there headaches during the recording process? With that, how has Irish Voodoo Records played its part as a record label towards releasing your music?

Jon: We recorded at The Wild Arctic in Portsmouth, New Hampshire with Dean Baltulonis. He recorded Ill Blood and a ton of other iconic hardcore records. I know he just did Cruel Hand and was recording the new Backtrack the week after we were there. Then we had it mastered by Brad Boatright of Audiosiege in Portland, Oregon.

Dean knows what he’s doing, so for us, we really just had to go in there and play our instruments. He’s very laid back and while we have no idea how he does what he does, we couldn’t be happier. With a band like us that can’t spend weeks at a time in the studio, we just have to go in and crush it as quick as possible. It’s always cool hearing what you’ve been working on for months, come together.

As far as Irish Voodoo goes, we put out our split with Hammerfist, through them in 2014. Irish Voodoo isn’t the biggest label in the world but Joey (Irish Voodoo) cares about hardcore and punk. He works hard for his bands and helps them in ways you don’t always get with bigger labels. For instance on a West Coast run, he helped print some merch for us on tour, saving us shipping costs and helping us with what we needed to make it through the tour. He also did the physical release of our last record. It was kind of a no-brainer to go work with him again because he does exactly what he says he’s going to. His roster is also an incredible mix of bigger bands and bands that are on the up and up. He does it because he loves the music and really what else is there? He’s been nothing but supportive of us and he works his ass off.

HW: From hints of power violence to crushing hardcore and blistering metal, Everything Ends has a seemingly fitting mix of combining all of these above-mentioned elements. Who, or what, do you find an influence on how you write, construct, and create this music?

Jon: We all listen to a lot of different types of heavy music. From old NYHC to thrash metal and death metal, we’re fans of it all. A lot of the writing came from Lenny and I sitting in a room in my house listening to different albums and trying to recreate the feelings we got when listening to our favorite records. Other days Derek or Dave would come to practice with their own riffs or even Ryan would have new drum patterns that would just change the entire dynamic of the song.

We spent a lot of time rewriting and evolving the riffs and beats until we got what we wanted. It is definitely a mix but it’s a mix we like. We used to come up with riffs and say “Well that is cool but it isn’t CONCRETE.” Somewhere along the way, we decided “Fuck it, if we like it? Let’s do it.” Why limit ourselves and make it boring?

HW: In comparison to your previous releases, how was the process of choosing a recording studio this time around? Was it the same spot or did you venture elsewhere?

Jon: This was the first time we ever returned to the same studio to record. We were really happy with how the last record (No Dawn) came out and even though this record is completely different, we knew Dean would make it to what it needed to be. He used some new mics on this and I think it worked out well with the heavier sound. He also suggested Brad, of Audiosiege, for mastering. In the past, we had used Alan Douches of West West Side and while he was always incredible for us, it was time to try something new. Brad made it huge and was also easy to work with.

After our van accident last year on tour and trying to get it ready for this year while recording a full length- money was also an issue. Dean and Brad have worked on some of our favorite records by some of our favorite bands and were also super affordable for bands on a budget. Everything they turn out is incredible and they don’t sacrifice anything. Whether they’re doing something for some of the biggest bands in heavy music or a smaller band like us.

HW: Lyrically, this record is rather fucking sound. Every track is but an honest reflection of the writers crushing reality and the pain it inevitably holds. What were the intentions behind writing this record’s lyricism?

Lenny: The majority of the lyrics I write are written at three in the morning or later. My mind goes into this weird place where the lines of emotion and reality are very blurred. Some of the stuff was so strange and violent that the guys had to ask if I was really ok. Tried my best to stick to certain subjects that I really wanted to touch on this time around. For example, “False Master” is about animal abusers, particularly these assholes that partake in dog fighting. I wrote “Mortality” after seeing the horrific video of that very young girl, Kaitlyn, that hung herself on Facebook live. I’ve suffered for many years with a strange form of manic depression, so the words were written as if she and I wrote them together. “Everything Ends Now” symbolizes our disregard of genres or specific sounds & styles. I wanted to have no boundaries and nobody’s desires in mind but our own. The lyrics are very dark and straight to the point of it all.

HW: Graphic Nature put together one hell of a tour package for y’all to jump on. What should people expect as the opener of what will surely be an explosive and high energy ridden tour?

Jon: Absolute Suffering has been friends of ours for a while and they’re fucking heavy. We were hanging out at a show we played together back in October I think, and we talked about touring together. We were already booked in April for a run with Additional Time, from Germany, and Absolute Suffering had a much busier schedule.

Yet, neither of us knew what summer was going to bring. In January I hit up Luke (Absolute Suffering) and asked him if they were down to do this run and that was it. We’re really excited to be on the road with so many good bands every night and it’s definitely going to be an intense string of shows. We’ll be playing mostly songs from the new record and we’re excited to be setting it off. We like being the opener cause it’s like being the underdog. We’re going to go hard every night and hopefully leave people asking “What the fuck was that?” In a good way (laughs)!

HW: What’s the plan for Concrete after the summer? Any plans to tour off of the new material a bit or do you have anything else in the works?

Jon: We’ve got some other shows which are currently unannounced. We were supposed to be playing a fest with Cold As Life, King Nine, and Absolute Suffering in Puerto Rico, but the promoter ran into some trouble so that was just recently canceled. We’ll be playing a couple fests and seeing how the record takes off. Then be back touring in the winter/spring and summer again. We’ll also be writing again ASAP.

HW: Any last words or shout outs before we wrap this up?

Jon: For the people that have supported us or checked us out, thank you. I think a lot of times people complain about all the fakes and issues in hardcore but forget to look at the good shit.

There are so many good people and good bands out there that you might not know of because they aren’t playing the huge shows. Support your locals because they may end up being something bigger. Too many bands to name everyone here, but again, thank you.

New Music Premiere: Empty Medicine by Franchise

For those who once frequented the New Jersey music scene and all of the halls, stages, and theaters it presented, there was just something about our scene and the energy it presented that was unlike any other. From the Garfield American Legion to Archer Hall, bands such as Senses Fail, Madison, Folly, Houston Calls, and dozens of other acts once graced us with their impeccable taste in music. An era that filled our hearts with passion and a decade that will forever grest in our hearts.

Time has passed and the days have changed since we once logged onto Myspace or Pure Volume in hopes of finding a new listen or gig to attend. People have grown, faces have aged, and these hearts of ours have bled and pumped for quite some time.
The band we are presenting here today is one that seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Franchise, an impassioned style of music comprised of several veteran musicians that yearn to present something that we as listeners have longed for over the years.

For those that remember, this act is made up of members from such bands as Yours Truly, The Murder & The Harlot, Ender (active), and Lady Radiator. Yes, a diverse and eclectic range of music but nonetheless a phenomenal production of music that sways between post-hardcore and melodic driven music.

Empty Medicine is an enticing trance of self-affliction; a poetic prose of validating one’s self-worth and the pain that weighs heavily from existing. Life presents moments where we must decide to put ourselves first or before others. Regardless of whatever personal sentiments we may or may not have towards any given thought. Sometimes our decisions leave us filled with regret or left with a sense of uneasiness. Fuck, we are only human and for what it’s worth? We are but just another creature destined to fail and tire in a world that is both beautiful and relentless.

As of now, Ghost Light is slated to drop on July 14th without any label support. Jesse Cannon of the Cannon Sound Foundation, a prominent and published sound engineer, has led the tireless job alongside Mike Oettinger of recording what is sure to be a nostalgic five track record.

Interview Set

HEAD WALK: Since the days of Lady Radiator, you have displayed an eloquent style of lyricism within your writing. Often, the melodies that are crooned from your warm voice leaves many in awe and mystery. What is it about this project that separates itself from past endeavors? More importantly, what message, if any, are you trying to convene to the listener off of this new Ghost Light?

Kenny: Through my experiences, these past several years after being in Lady Radiator and transitioning into Franchise, I matured a lot with my overall outlook on life and through my lyrical content. I think what separates itself from my past endeavors is that I’m able to articulate my experiences and I’m able to allow myself to be more vulnerable through my words allowing the listener to really get a chance in knowing me more.

With our new track Empty Medicine, I wanted to write something that told a side of me that I wasn’t able to express in my early years. I think the reason being is because I was still growing up. So with this song, it tells the journey of learning from my past mistakes and allowing them to break me down and to define my character. I think sometimes in order to learn certain life lessons you need to experience the consequences of the mistakes you make.

HEAD WALK: Franchise is still a rather young outfit comprised of some seriously well-aged talent. How did this project come to light and how has everything been since the release of Santa Muerte back in 2015?

Mark: So Franchise actually started in the winter of 2013. I was in a weird place in my music career, my band, Ender kind of dissolved after being on the road for about two years or so. I had temporarily thrown in the towel to pursue a career in advertising and to settle down with my long time girlfriend (now wife). Once things calmed down I realized how much I missed playing shows and writing music. Not playing music regularly was really making me go crazy. I wanted to do something new, something fresh and experiment creating music with some of the friends I have made over the years in the Jersey scene.

Before Ender started we were a band called Yours Truly. When I joined YT in 2007, Mush was the guitarist in the band and we had always clicked. I loved the way he would write riffs. During YT he was creating some really interesting pieces in his down time under the moniker “The Girls.” He had left YT around 2008 to concentrate on that new project which unfortunately never got off the ground. Didn’t hear from Mush for about five years but, I never forgot how unique his playing was and obviously always considered him a good friend. I knew that I wanted Mush to be a part of this new venture.

The next piece of the puzzle was Corrado Rizzi, our drummer and one of my best friends. His project, Drift Division was also beginning to dissolve and timing just worked out, as we have been talking about doing a new project together. Corrado and I grew up together in Nutley and played in a project called Bears and Balconies. Corrado is one of the best drummers I have seen play around our area. I knew that he would pair really well with Mush’s unique style. Franchise evolved over many G-Chat conversations that Corrado and I have had over the past four or five years. As far as vocalists go, our first singer, Tony Cincotta (Ex: Throw the Heat) wrote & sang on our debut self-titled release which came out in September of 2014. A few months after the self-title dropped, Tony moved out to California to fulfill his dreams of living on the West Coast. We completely supported his decision but, didn’t want to put an end to Franchise. Being in bands is all about timing and it was actually on our side this time around. Kenny, formerly of Lady Radiator was actually moving back up to Jersey after living down in Baltimore for a few years. Kenny and I had reconnected a few months prior to Tony’s departure. Corrado, Kenny, and I actually all went to high school together in Nutley and were all very familiar with each other’s skillsets. During a conversation, I had told Kenny about Tony leaving and he was all about filling the role. We really didn’t have any downtime while switching up our vocalists, we knew what Kenny could do and he was a shoe in. We got right to work in creating material for what would become Santa Muerte.

The recording process of Santa Muerte turned out to be crucial to the future of Franchise. After the release of Santa Muerte, we played a hefty amount of shows in support of it. A lot of things have changed with us since Santa Muerte was released in 2015 and the team behind that record is the same team behind Ghost Light. Without them, this new version of the band would not exist.

HEAD WALK: What are the plans for Franchise this summer and is there anything slated to drop in terms of a record release show next month?

Mark: So as mentioned in the previous question, the state of the band is pretty unique right now. Unfortunately, at this time there are no immediate plans for any release shows for Ghost Light. Kenny lives in Tallahassee, Florida and is also expecting his first child in September. He does come back up north here and there and when that happens we’ll give Ghost Light a proper celebration. In the meantime, the goal is to start demoing new material. We all are itching to get some fresh ideas demoed for the next release.

Do keep a close eye on our social media accounts though because you never know when a Franchise show is going to pop up. I promise they will happen and they will be very sporadic in terms of when they will be released.

HEAD WALK: Any last words, shout outs, or plugs before we send you off?

Mark: Well most importantly, thank you to everyone for still giving a shit about Franchise. We hit some bumps in the road over the past year but, everyone who has supported this band from the beginning is still there and are just as excited about this new release as we are. We do apologize that it took so long but, I feel like we have found some crucial firm ground to stand on given our situations, which will allow us to continue as a band and to continue to make records. Speaking of which, a HUGE shoutout to our producers and engineers, Jesse Cannon and Mike Oettinger. These are two of the most professional and knowledgeable dudes in the business. I promise all of you that this band would not exist without these two guys behind the scenes. So if you are looking to make a solid record and want to learn from some of the legends from the NJ scene? Hit these guys up.

The members of this band come from different corners of the North Jersey scene and our styles have clashed in a really cool way. If you listen to each record you can hear us formulating our sound and growing as a unit. Since the beginning we made a pact that we wanted to use Franchise as a unit to never stop making music, to never give up the dream. We’re going to continue our growth and get cracking on another record. In the meantime, keep an eye out for some new videos & tracks off of Ghost Light!

Ghost Light drops on July 14th and since we don’t have any shows planned right now, we can use all the help we can get from people who dig it by sharing these songs with their friends.

Controversy & Conversation: PWR BTTM’s Rape Scandal – By Donea Gomez

Credits: Photo by Ebru Yildiz

Concerns discussing the emergence of the recent rape allegations directed at a Brooklyn-based queer punk band, PWR BTTM’s Ben Hopkins has been reported on by a slew of popular alternative culture correspondents, a few of the more prominent reports coming from NPR, Brooklyn Vegan, Jezebel, and Pitchfork.

Their contributions vary in the discussion of objectivity because of the basis these articles expand on. This has left readers in a sort of cloudy area searching for more information that can help them better cultivate an opinion of their own. The extreme one-sidedness of the discussion is due to the lack of available information. Many of the reports consist of accounts from individuals who claim witness of Hopkins’ history of sexual predation but also reported is the anonymous report from the victim of the instance of rape that is being discussed.

What can be identified as the most crucial aspect of the case of PWR BTTM, is that the gender non-binary duo has created the entire culture of their band under the guise that the LGBTQ community should be celebrated, embraced, and respected, and that they should find the utmost safety and support especially from those who identify themselves within such marginalized groups. Coming from the band that fought for gender-neutral bathrooms for the comfort of their trans and gender-nonconforming attendees, the hypocrisy presented by the surfaced allegations fuel the discussion as to why these accusations are imminently ruinous to the band’s integrity.

NPR’s May 15, report described the immediate effects the allegations have had on PWR BTTM’s operations citing their former label, Polyvinyl’s decisions to terminate their contract and refund customers who have purchased the band’s second album that was released just two days after Hopkins’ accusations began to circulate on social media. Along with the coverage of the domino effect of artists and management cutting ties, and shows one by one cancelling PWR BTTM’s appearances, NPR featured a screenshot of the initial Facebook post by user Kitty Cordero-Kolin that accuses Hopkins of committing multiple sexual misconducts.

One of the first publications to comprehensively discuss Hopkins’ rape allegations was Brooklyn Vegan as they list direct accounts of PWR BTTM’s touring members, Cameron West and Nicholas Cummins, in which they confirm acknowledgment of Hopkins’ inappropriate behavior while announcing their decisions to no longer work with the band.

While it seems the majority of their listeners accept and are abhorred by the accusations toward Hopkins, found in the comments section of the online publication, Gothamist’s report on the allegations, exists a perspective that should be considered and examined. Disqus user, “bedazzled”, raised the adverse speculation that false accusations are an enduring issue and that the momentum and accessibility of social media posts are what increases the potency of false claims. The user then recalls the late case of Conor Oberst’s false rape allegations. Oberst of Bright Eyes was successful in clearing his name after weeks of a legal pursuit of the accused victim who recanted her accusations in a legal statement publically notarized by Durham County, North Carolina.

There are some defining points to be considered here when examining each case of Hopkins and Oberst. First, by default, Hopkins is held to a higher standard by his followers because of the queer acceptance and tolerance that PWR BTTM preaches. This in itself is a point where one would assume that a band that capitalizes on its values of queer love and respect would be conscious in presenting themselves in ways they can be depicted as sexually hypocritical or insensitive. Yet, as provided by Gothamist, there are an increasing number of alleged witnesses of Hopkin’s frequent aggressive sexual behavior that have been surfaced.

A Flavorwire report from July 2014 details the aftermath of the Oberst scandal and reminds readers that rape accusations are cited as only 2-8% false and that all allegations should be treated seriously until the truth is reached. The Oberst example proves that there are no wholly nondestructive approaches when trying to defend your name in this situation. The journey through disproving allegations is as capricious as trying to balance a brick on the head of a nail, as the accused may appear overly defensive if their approaches are too aggressive but if not aggressive enough can be perceived as either apologist or suspicious but even more scary is to seem like the accused is trying to silence the victim.

Since the controversy currently appears inconclusive, some argue that the media has prematurely chosen sides and unofficially declared Hopkins a sexual predator. What should be recognized is that a large portion of these reports focuses on publishing the accounts of those allegedly affected and those who have chosen to publicly denounce their affiliation with the band. However, there are articles that do take a more forward approach in their reports as shown in Pitchfork’s editorial entitled, “Queer Kids Deserve Better Than PWR BTTM.” An article that expresses the calamitous profound hypocrisy that isolates PWR BTTM’s case “from other sexual assault allegations within the music industry.”

At this point in time, PWR BTTM’s return to the stage seems unlikely amidst the wreckage of their reputation regardless of whether Hopkins is found guilty of this allegation or not. Anticipation to see how the duo further handles their situation is high but for now, it seems like the queer community could utilize the down time to search for inspiration elsewhere.

Editor’s Note & Update

In the days of having this solid piece of journalism sent in by Donea Gomez, there have already been some updates concerning the matter. As of now, PWR BTTM has enlisted the help of senior music manager and label executive Lisa Barbaris in helping curtail the current political and legal setback of their band. Furthermore, Attorney Jeffrey Koenig of Serling Rooks Hunter McKoy & Worob LLP has also shown interest in defending the inherent allegations of rape that stand before Ben Hopkins. The press release states that the recent release of Pageant was “pulled from stores and streaming services last month when the band’s current and past record labels dropped them as a result of an anonymous allegation of sexual misconduct.” The intention here isn’t necessarily suing Polyvinyl / Fathers & Daughters, but to ensure that PWR BTTM receives back pay from a deal that was wrongly dropped and a record that may never see the light of day.

It is safe to say that there is a move to eradicate whatever notion of rape that has labeled Ben Hopkins and this oddly eccentric band. Now, is this because they have a solid case without any opposition or contestation? Is there something else that we don’t know? Or, do they know they can get away with it?

Again, this doesn’t mean we have to take sides of either party or develop an opinion without having a substantial amount of evidence and truth. More importantly, it does not mean that we shouldn’t treat a rape victim with the proper medical treatment and attention because of it simply being an allegation. Not everyone that goes through such a horrific event has the strength to physically and mentally walk through the doors of a hospital or loved one to drop their walls and ask for help. Especially when someone physically tore those walls we all dearly hold down. To walk into a courtroom and stare their oppressor down in the eyes of the public requires a feat of strength and courage that not many may have. Fuck, who’s to blame?

We are neither choosing sides or telling you how to think about this subject. All I could personally ask is that I hope you do not believe this person guilty based on a predetermined hatred that you may or may not have. Yes, there are most certainly murderers, thieves, and rapists out there causing our life and the lives of others harm. Still, we must be vigilant and determined to ensure that our judgments are both fair and informed before we slam our gavel of morality towards them. Should this be but an elaborate and tasteless attempt to dethrone a promising band? Then it will be handled as such and in a manner that is best suited. Should a court ruling determine a guilty verdict of Ben Hopkins for raping a young woman? Well, I’d recommend the rope as a cost efficient way in removing a cancerous cell from our society but that’s a personal sentiment.

Until then we will be keeping “eyes and ears” on the subject. Questions, comments, or concerns? Please, and in a professionally mature manner, send them to us here.

– Donea Gomez

Behind the Lens: Eddie Trefurt Photography

Bias as this diminutive introduction may be or may not be, the first photographer we are pleased to present out of this series is most definitely a hell of an artist. From detailed images that present a sense of awe and horror to his impassioned live shots that depict the honest reality of hardcore shows, this kid has one hell of a trigger finger. Anyway, I am going to keep this short and towards its purpose; a presentation of solid images that resonate the true meaning of music, art, and the culture it engulfs.

My name is..

Eddie Trefurt. I’m from Little Falls (New Jersey), and I’ve been going to shows since I was about 14, I’d say. Absolutely loved the energy that was produced from going to shows and pretty much everything about the music scene really resonated with me. Every weekend, I’d be at a local show to see what the area or touring bands were all about. At the time, it was hard since not every show was all ages so I stuck with going to any venue I could get to at that age. Recently, I have decided to take a shot with shooting local music and have been hooked ever since. Captioning that emotion from a fan or that energy from a musician performing is what I want to show people. All in hopes that unfamiliar people can understand the scene a bit better.

Now at 26, I’ve combined my two passions of photography and live music on the basis of my artistic expression. From horror based shoots in abandon buildings to capturing beautiful scenic overlooks, this camera has shot just about anything that caught my eye. Speaking of which, currently, I am shooting with a Canon T5 alongside a Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens.

As of now, I work with HEAD WALK when it comes to live music photography. It’s been an awesome time covering what have been some truly unforgettable shows so do expect some bigger and better stuff! In fact, Mosh for Paws is one I’m really looking forward to covering and that’ll be going down this fall with Madball, The Banner, and the homies in Wastelands. Before that, I’ll be covering Warped Tour to shoot Hatebreed, Sick of it All, and Stick to Your Guns. 2017 will surely be a fun year so come out and get in frame!

The following shots are all owned & courtesy of Eddie Trefurt Photography. We present the following:
Expire at the Meatlocker (Montclair, 2017), Old Wounds at the Bomb Shelter (New Brunswick, 2016), New Found Glory at Warped Tour (Scranton, 2016), Life of Agony at Gramercy Theater (New York City, 2017), Cruel Hand at Warped Tour (Scranton, 2016), Wastelands at the Meatlocker (Montclair, 2016), Death Before Dishonor at the Blue Room (Secaucus, 2017), & Phantom Pain at the Meatlocker (Montclair, 2017).

All inquiries for service shall be requested here.