Show Review: Boundaries, Orthodox, and More at Subterranean in Chicago, IL

One of the only consistent, tried-and-true aspects to hardcore is the straightedge community so when No Cure from Alabama hits the stage, they’re channeling that passion and dedication right into their live performance.

While not a new phenomenon, what is new and sets No Cure apart is their blending of death metal with heavy hardcore while placing straight edge at the center of their songwriting spewing power and anger, thus harnessing a deep-seated commitment that few really understand. A continuous sonic assault, No Cure are riding that massive tidal wave of cross-over genres occurring right now while still maintaining the most foundational hardcore ethos and songwriting comparable to many of the most famous hardcore names from the ‘90s.

Kaonashi has been at it for a hot minute now, so to see them getting some serious love the past few years is awesome. Hailing from Pennsylvania, Kaonashi are as experimental as they are interpersonal. Starting in 2013 with more of a traditional metalcore/hardcore crossover sound, they are now dipping more into early 2000’s post-hardcore forming that really cool hybrid sound that fits this tour bill perfectly.

Even more impressive is their placement of relatable, introspective writing style and lyrics at the center of their music, all with abrasive, chaotic guitars, and blast beats occur simultaneously. Just like their post-hardcore inspirations, Kaonashi have decided to create a continuing story within their releases starting with 2021’s Dear Lemon House, You Ruined Me: Senior Year continuing into their latest release, The 3 Faces of Beauty. I always thought the storytelling and world-building many of these early to mid-2000s metalcore/post-hardcore acts would do was really cool and unique, so to see this continuing today is even better, allowing a new generation of listeners to experience it in real time.

The JNCO Jeans moshcore outfit Orthodox continually impresses me every single I see them, yet what’s more impressive is how every time I see them, they continually keep one-upping themselves. I remember first hearing about Orthodox back when they only had their initial EPs out, Give Me a Reason and End of My Wit. It also feels like yesterday that I was seeing Orthodox play the backroom of a skate shop alongside Heavens Die and Dwell or seeing them play Cobra Lounge with Left Behind or even downstairs SubT with I Am. Now they’re three albums in, with a fourth on the way, and the future couldn’t be brighter for them.

Loaded full of crunchy, in-your-face riffs, raw aggression, and an electric sound, Orthodox have always stood out whether it was during their EP days filled with unfiltered emotion or now with their refined, organic, and unique blend of nu-metal meets modern metalcore/hardcore. Orthodox would have fit right in during the prime years of Ozzfest and probably been blaring in AJ Soprano’s bedroom, not only because of their aesthetic, but because of their ability to blend the coolest elements of nu-metal whether it’s whispering before a breakdown, thug-and-chug type rhythms, or moments of weirdness like a siren sample playing in the middle of a song. It almost feels like Orthodox is updating nu-metal for the current or next-generation one song and breakdown at a time, all while we’re bearing witness to it.

Boundaries are anything but the new kids on the block, as they’ve been steadily crushing it since 2016, but following the release of their 2019 EP, My Body in Bloom, we began to see Boundaries slowly start to become one of the household names among the next generation of upcoming metalcore acts. That blend of metalcore meets hardcore with a nice heavy dose of noisy, chaotic, eerie aesthetic has been slowly becoming more and more popular over the last several years, exposing a new generation of show goers to a sound and style they missed while injecting a heavy dose of nostalgia for others. Coming off of the release of their latest record, Death is Little More, Boundaries find themselves operating at their highest efficiency to date, capitalizing off years of hard work and the recent explosion of heavy music and finding themselves at the right place at the right time.

Like a loaded drum mag of Misery Signals, Dillinger Escape Plan, Every Time I Die, and early-2000’s metalcore riffs, Boundaries are firing on full auto from start to finish with pinpoint accuracy nailing all of the best aspects of that era of metalcore without the filler. Yet it isn’t just the riffs that Boundaries have perfected of this sound, but they’ve also identified the “why” of what made those bands successful, harmonies, ambiance, lyrical material, and crafty songwriting, plus, of course, gnarly riffs and breakdowns. By doubling on the aggression, doubling on the atmosphere and ambiance, and locking in hard-on songwriting, Boundaries are starting to deliver a live show and sound that is quickly exceeding other contenders placing them at the forefront of emerging metalcore artists right now.

Boundaries

Orthodox

Kaonashi

No Cure

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