Countless bands blur the line between metal and punk so it makes sense to see a tour that showcases these two extreme genres together as equals. New Brunswick crusty rockers Hard Charger are joining forces with Portland, Oregon’s anarcho black thrashers Satanarchist for a coheadlining trip across Canada. Tonight it hits Toronto’s beloved Coalition but unfortunately for the bands, attendance is annoyingly low.
With their riot of black thrash metal and punk, Satanarchist launch figurative Molotov cocktails towards governments and religions. The duo have just released their debut album First Against the Wall and it’s significantly much more pissed off and serious than their 2014 EP Making Threats at Punks Again, consciously political owing to the recent unpredictable American political climate. No time is wasted as they spew their defiant extremity all over the venue. Straight-forward orthodox black metal is spliced into contemporary thrash and then flavoured by punishing d-beat punk. Frontman John’s guitarwork is subtlety technical and leads the onslaught through fervent rage as well as slower introspective deliberation. John’s vocals are raw barks that sound like he’s downed a load of gravel. Drummer Mark keeps the pace with d-beats and blastbeats, underscoring the music’s vehemence. There may be few onlookers tonight but it’s difficult not to be captivated by new songs such as “Triumph” and “Tempest of Sorrow” alongside older attacks like “The Rapture Will Not Be Televised”. These Cascadian hellraisers score full marks at keeping the DIY ethos alive and well.
Brimming with an abundance of “fuck you” bravado are New Brunswick’s Hard Charger, drunk on hard rocking crust punk. Formed in 2006, this trio have done well spreading their name across the Canadian DIY punk microcosm and have waylaid Toronto several times. Their music is more unabashed meat-and-potatoes than Satanarchist, launching a quick all out assault with little in the way of organization. They serve up dirty punk with some near sludge guitar work and whiskey-battered growls more at home in the metal world than punk. On stage, the members’ necks take little time to stop headbanging throughout. Drummer The Yeti provides lead vocals while battering away on his skins. The music makes definitive nods to Motörhead, Inepsy and Discharge, contributing even further to the carefree styling the band pursues. Guitar solos make an appearance every now and then and infuse wilderness into the songs. While the band maintains the energy throughout the set, there is scant variation between the tracks and it’s easy to grow used to it as the set draws towards its close.
As the marriage between punk and metal continues its acerbic course, there is a compelling argument to be made for having line ups that appeal to loyalists of both genres. Gigs in the ‘80s and ‘90s experimented with this kind of appeasement and it feels like the time is right to see a return to this configuration. Few may have been present tonight but Hard Charger and Satanarchist satiated Toronto’s subterranean DIY incumbents.