Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Johnny Truant

This now defunct (why do I have such a fondness for bands that I can never see live again?) mob from sunny Brighton are most frequently pigeonholed as "metalcore".

As the name implies, this is the bastard hybrid of metal and hardcore. The trouble I have with the label is that as much as I like this sort of music, I only ever imagine metalcore as being the sum of the worst parts of metal and hardcore; those respectively being desperately twiddly guitar solos and embarrassing lyrics about doing chicks and rockin' all night long delivered in a piercing falsetto, and mindless chugging beatdown after beatdown after beatdown while a tattooed skinhead barks about solidarity and brotherhood and fighting people that stand in your way.

Naturally Johnny Truant offer none of these things, instead opting to take the better parts of each. And if that's all they did, then they would be a perfectly adequate band; metal without the pomposity, hardcore without the thuggishness.

But there's a little more to them than that, a sense of melody and progression that creeps through and entwines itself with all the savagery, making you realise that they're not just a hardcore band that spent time learning how to play their instruments instead of bench pressing. This is quite amply demonstrated in Foglights and The Weeping, Wailing And Gnashing Of Teeth, the two songs that close their very excellent final record No Tears For The Creatures.

They can still dish out a bludgeoning when they feel like it, though.

They were only around for a relatively short time (2002-2008), and whilst it seems unlikely that anyone else will consider them pioneers of the scene, I very much doubt we will see their likes again.

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