Local Review: Threar – Demo Tape ’21
Local Music Reviews
Demo Tape ‘21
Threar = Rise and Fall + Trap Them + Explosions in the Sky
Metallic hardcore—now we’re talking. That genre label—a distant cry from the more ubiquitous metalcore label—has found its way back into the lexicon of the hardcore underground in the past few years, and it’s a welcome resurgence. Occasionally the tags on a Bandcamp album belie the true contents therein, so there is no way some of the “black metal” releases on Bandcamp are remotely black metal. But hey, bands have to show up in the search.
As often as that is the case, you can also gain insight into where a band sees themselves. No slick PR gimmicks: “do you like Black Flag, Motörhead and the beats of ’90s era Timbaland? Then this is the band for you!”, or hyperbolic press sheets to offer a shortcut for music writers (or whoever) to write about. No, I like the tags from a band like Threar, standing alone without comment: “Blackened hardcore,” “hardcore,” “melodic hardcore,” “metalcore,” “metallic hardcore,” “post rock,” “Salt Lake City.” A modern-day Youth of Today they are not, and after listening to this tight four-song demo, those monikers are accurate.
Demo Tape ‘21 sounds excellent; the production is high quality. If my social media sleuthing turned up anything, it’s that one of the members is a recording engineer of some kind, and it’s clear that someone who knows what they are doing recorded this. It’s organic sounding and tight, catching the low end well on the palm mutes about a minute into “Uncreated Light.” The drums have a real punch to them, but not a cavernous thoom.
Sonically, Threar are mixing a bunch of influences reminiscent of a time before the hairs in my beard began greying—late ’00s to early ’10s come to mind, bands like Rise and Fall especially, mixed with the darker leanings of bands like Trap Them; maybe some early Touché Amoré hanging around the corner. It’s still a potent mix, and hell, every style has its time in the sun. We’re well over a decade on from those styles being prominent.
The music is not all vitriol with Threar—it’s more of a cathartic release than a bludgeoning. The very end of the aforementioned “Uncreated Light” ends with what sounds like the start of a breakdown, but rather, simply ends; a period instead of an ellipses. At 2:30, “Room of One’s Own” sets into a melodic interlude, wrapping around itself with a repetitive chord progression that reminds me of the post rock of bands like Red Sparowes or Pelican. It punches back in at 3:30 with a pleading “We’re finally learning what’s at stake,” which continues to build until the song cuts out. It’s quite effective.
Give me four polished songs over ten mediocre songs any day. Salt Lake City has quite a few different bands and styles happening right now, but they all are decidedly Salt Lake, and that’s really cool. For Threar, that final Bandcamp tag is an important one. –Peter Fryer