A Wilhelm Scream

Hardcore is about release; metal is about control. Put them together and you get a contradiction with guitars. Most bands typically deal with that dichotomy by throwing their weight into one style and retaining only the veneer of the other. But not A Wilhelm Scream. On its latest effort, Ruiner, the New Bedford, Massachusetts, quintet evenly melds hardcore bluster and metal technique. Scruffy riffs alternate with shiny, airtight arpeggios, and a time-honored hardcore paddleball beat gives way to hairpin tempo shifts, while the vocals demonstrate a little-noted similarity between Bad Religion-derived punk harmony and metal operatics. The result is a seamless alloy of styles. And the songs, daft titles aside, are tuneful and succinct, utilizing an emo lilt to catchier effect than most comparable bands. Explore a contradiction long enough, and it starts to make sense.


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