Australian hardcore today seems to be a long way from the days of old Toe to Toe - or even the polished hardcore offerings of later-era Mindsnare. Today's scene is being shaped and driven by like In Trenches, Lo!, Totally Unicorn, Robotosaurus, The Rivalry (I miss you), Night Hag, No Anchor, IDYLLS, The Matador and At Dark. These bands are embracing experimentation, complex rhythms, noise, dissonance, dirging drone and ambience in a move away from the sterile 'one mood, one volume' sound of overcompressed modern hardcore - and this makes me exceedingly happy.
Melbourne's In Trenches really represent a lot of the best progressive elements in modern Australian hardcore. Their music has a basis in seething, noisy hardcore sludge with a slight black metal tinge and occasional departure into spacey post-metal meditation. They're forging a more dynamic and progressive style of heavy music that owe as much to bands like Isis, Cult of Luna, and Wolves in the Throne Room as they do Converge and Eyehategod.
Sol Obscura also represents a complete rejection of the sterile production of modern hardcore. There are no close-mic'd, beat-replaced drums to be found here, and the guitars are cold, squashed and over-compressed. Instead, In Trenches have opted for a far more organic approach, which allows for far more life, more feeling and more dynamics in the music. (Insert a recognition that recording/mixing was handled by a Joel Taylor at Three Phase Studios.)
If this is where hardcore music is moving - into more progressive and dynamic territory - then I can't wait to see how the style progresses. And it would seem that, once again, Australia is on the very cusp of a new development in underground music.
Do yourself a favour. Listen to In Trenches and support Australian underground music.
Nice one, Monolith.