There’s been a bit of a hardcore resurgence of late, and I’m definitely here for it. Whether it’s already established bands releasing their best work yet (Incendiary, Comeback Kid) or new bands coming into their own (Knocked Loose, Code Orange), the number of personal office mosh pits I’ve created has certainly gone up recently (only the printer was harmed). Philly-based upstarts Varials can definitely add their name to the latter group. Like a half-sized sledgehammer, Varials’ impressive debut showcases a band who have the agility to play around with multiple styles while still packing one Hell of a punch. The record is a masterstroke of hardcore variety, as the band’s sound varies between sludgy beatdowns and metallic riff-fests. Varials voraciously deliver the goods at every musical turn.
Vocalist Travis Tabron recounts a batch of harrowing personal tales that drip emotion, giving these weighty songs another layer of heft. His vocal diversity gives the record a sense of purpose, carrying the album in those rare moments when the songs falter a bit. Thankfully, that is the grave exception and not the rule, as Pain Again pushes through a myriad of styles through its short run-time. Primarily alternating between low and slow and fast and furious, Pain Again never lacks in headbanging moments, and the latter half features a number of nice sonic curves (solos, thrash-y riffs, and a great cameo from Knocked Loose’s Bryan Garris).
Ultimately, Varials run circle (pits) around their metallic hardcore competition on their excellent debut. Pain Again is a visceral listen, jam-packed with emotion and neck-snapping riffs. The record ushers in a new, rising talent that have showcased an understanding of their craft beyond their years.