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Bridging the punk-metal divide

Posted by Scott McLennan  April 4, 2013 08:20 PM

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Soul Remnants, l-r, Ryan Murphy, Colin Conway, Mitch Fletcher, Chad Armory, and Tom Preziosi

Aggressive music is like the proverbial line in the sand, a sonic taunt to stand with me or be against me.

But even so, some sort of historical aberration split the primordial mosh pit into punk and metal camps that sometimes don't get along so well.

Troy Schoeller grew up in South Florida - pretty much ground zero for death metal.

"I was a punk rock kid, I wasn't into metal," he says. So no wonder he ended up in the healthy punk and hardcore environs of Boston where he now sings for Razors in the Night.

Razors in the Night singer Troy Schoeller and bassist Swid

But what Schoeller and others found here is that the underground for loud is not so divided. Which is why you can have something like the "Punk VS Metal" series, the third installment of which happens Saturday, April 6, at the Middle East nightclub, 472 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge.

"It's like two different animals in the same jungle," says Soul Remnants drummer Colin Conway. He agrees with Schoeller that in Boston, the line, for fans and musicians alike, isn't firm between metal and punk.

Soul Remnants and Sexcrement will be repping the metal, while Razors in the Night and the Trans Fats give it up for punk at the show Saturday. The first band goes on at 9:30 p.m.

What the "Punk VS Metal III" bill does show, though, is that punk and metal don't need a metal-core compromise to bridge the gap. Razors in the Night is a well-measured blend of Oi!-brand camaraderie and hardcore muscle, all of it punk lean. Soul Remnants is just plain brutal, that kind of metal that functions as a monster bulldozer leveling everything in its path.

Same holds true for Sexcrement and the Trans Fats. Sexcrement is loud, punishing, and crude. Trans Fats are fast, reckless, and snotty. One is a tricked out Econoline, the other a skateboard.

I admit to trying to get the metal band to trash the punk scene, and the punk band to mock metal _ all in good fun, of course. But neither side went for it. Conway's work with the band Death Ray Vision owes as much to hardcore as it does to metal. And Schoeller made peace with metal when he started drawing connections between Misfits and Metallica.

"There are so many amazing bands in the underground scene in Boston, that just to play out, you need to be a cut above," Schoeller says of the willingness of punk and metal to peacefully coexist.

Both Razors in the Night and Soul Remnants have new albums coming out this year, but I think that's more coincidence than competitive.

In any event, here are some songs guaranteed to break down any wall.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Scott McLennan is a Boston Globe music correspondent and previously wrote a music and entertainment column for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette for 15 years. After seeing the band Boston in the Boston Garden as a teenager he never looked back and eventually figured out how to be a professional fan. Scott is very good at writing in the dark. This blog is an ongoing discussion about music happening in and around Boston. Scott will be leading the trek across genres looking for new releases and hot shows as well as just checking in with the people who make Boston such a great place to listen. More »
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