The Killer, Weekend Nachos, Once For All, Steel Nation, Black N Blue 17+ Recommended Soundboard

When: Sat., Dec. 17, 8 p.m. 2011

It's easy to dismiss breakdown-heavy hardcore, with its chug-chugging guitar and hammering double kick drum, as a too-macho genre populated by violent blockheads—especially if you're not in a position to enjoy the scene's camaraderie. But as someone whose head has intercepted its fair share of spin kicks and flailing fists, I've gotta say: hardcore's raging head of steam is what's good about the music, and to enjoy it you have to put up with certain side effects. If you can't hang, please step aside. The Killer has been repping the Chicago scene since 2001, and the band's new EP, Obey No One (Organized Crime), is one of the best templates for hardcore that I've ever heard packed into three songs and 11 minutes. On the standout title track, guitars alternate between heavy and heavier as the rhythms relentlessly shift, nailed down by machine-gun bass drumming. The song builds to some great shouted lines from vocalist Luke Gray—"This is a toast / To those who hated life the most / Everyone that I know / Is either dying or a ghost"—and then explodes into a wicked breakdown that releases all the pent-up tension. Obey No One is these hardcore veterans' most impressive-sounding release yet, and it's available free at the door, in both vinyl and digital-download form, for anyone who pays the cover charge. —Kevin Warwick Weekend Nachos, Once for All, Steel Nation, and Black N Blue open.

Price: $12

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