Chuck Schuldiner Project

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Bandit, Afterparty, Good Times, Rollin' Loaded, Pillars of Villainy, Eternal Sleep, and Steel Nation at the West Chester VFW

It's rare that you go to the first show ever hosted at a new venue. Yet tonight was one such night, the West Chester VFW has recently consented to hosting shows, and this particular evening saw a killer lineup that I think few will forget. Proof of the eternal power of the underground, this was a show that got my heart racing and blood pumping, reminding me that the sounds of the underground are the sounds of freedom and if nothing else, this is what we can latch on too to find our way out of the darkness that haunts us all.

The first band up was Bandit, a group who I've seen twice before but who never fail to impress. Loud and destructive, they never fail to tear my face off and have proven to me multiple times that their own take on powerviolence has the power to take over the scene. One of the most exciting bands around right now, they managed to put on a tight and exciting set despite some technical difficulties. It's cool to see that they are really starting to reintegrate their bassist Michael, who had been forced to take time off from the band. These guys are going up fast, and you should catch on for the ride as soon as you can.

Afterparty played next and I have to say, while their brand of pop punk isn't really my thing, they certainly put on a tight show. They're a lot of fun to listen too and they clearly had a blast playing. Their rhythms are catchy and the vocal melodies well thought out. I really liked their growls, some of the heavier songs they did seemed to get an excellent reception and left me begging for more. They could easily do well as a full time hardcore band. As is though, these pop punk maniacs seem to have the potential to only grow their fanbase. As they get tighter and more cohesive I'm excited to see what they do!

Third to play was Good Times, and simply put, they know how to bring a good time. This band is one of those groups who you just have a blast watching live. They rock the stage and own every song they play. These tracks grind their way into your skull and the crunchy hardcore rhythms will get your body moving around the pit in no time. They have a clear sound that's easy to get in to and at times extremely reminiscent of Municipal Waste. Given my own personal predilections, that makes these guys pretty awesome. They were one of the most exciting bands to play the show, and I would love to see them again!

When Rollin' Loaded storms the stage you know you're going to have a good time. These guys put together a set that was a pleasure to watch. It's kind of surreal for me to see these guys because I've been listening to them for so long that the fact that they're essentially a local band for me is strange. They always bring a party and they have a huge West Chester fan base so dozens of fans sang along and danced to their glorious, victorious, and fun music. Though they were pretty different from the other bands on the bill, they still played with a ton of energy and proved that they have the ability to take their sound far beyond the confines of Southeast Pennsylvania.

I didn't expect to hear guitarmonies on this fine evening, but I was pleasantly surprised by Pillars of Villainy, a hardcore tinged death metal band who had technical riffs and all sorts of powerful vocal lines. When the guitarmonies kicked in I really started to get into it, it added a touch of technicality and fun that none of the other bands could grasp. Members of crucial local acts like Fisthammer mentioned to me after the show that these guys were truly great. One of my favorite bands of the night, I'm excited as to what this band will go on to do. Right now, they seem like another stellar addition to the burgeoning PA death metal scene.

The penultimate band was the ferocious Eternal Sleep. With long hair and big beards these guys got going right away kicking the audience in their collective teeth. Their hardcore attack is hardly one to be forgotten and when they burst out of the gate with crazed riffs and memorable grooves I knew I was in for a good time. Jammed in between a pair of top notch acts, they did a wonderful job of getting the crowd going, and by the end of their set it seemed like almost everybody was going nuts. This is a band who understand hardcore on a fundamental level and I get the sense they'll be able to go far with that.

Finally we had Steel Nation, members of the veritable hardcore old guard (Or at least compared to their peers on the show) Their sound was pretty interesting and certainly got the crowd into it. Though they kept it short they had a certain primal joy in the raw magic of hardcore. Cries like "Do your hardcore!" kept everyone involved and excited, proving that the years of experience these guys have is paying off. Their multi vocalist approach and penchant for Metallica style riffs was fun too. They deserve their place among the lords of the Pennsylvania Hardcore scene and I am glad that I got a chance to see them.

In brief, it looks like this new venue is here to stay. It has great sound, a nice space, and a friendly bartender. Though it may have been cold outside, we were all brought together and warmed by a mutual love of the music. These are the things that keep us sane, and though the night may be dark and filled with terrors, we can overcome them together. Let these songs ring through your heart and guide you when times are grim, because nights like these are what makes life worth living. Hailz to Casey Homa, a man who truly gets what the underground is all about!

Find the bands on Facebook!



Good Times:

Rollin' Loaded:

Pillars of Villainy:

Eternal Sleep:

Steel Nation:

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