One of hardcore’s “it” bands at the moment are in town and fans are ready to mosh it up with them.

I have always been fond of Metal and Hardcore music.  Back in the mid 80’s Hardcore started to flirt with metal as bands like D.R.I, Suicidal Tendencies, Corrosion of Conformity, Crumbsuckers and others got more thrashy.   Then in the 90’s things got even more interesting with a heavier, slower style of beatdown hardcore like, Hatebreed, Pro-Pain, and Madball.

Matt Honeycutt

Now Heavy Hardcore (or Beatdown Hardcore) is having resurgence lately with influences from heavy downtuned guitar and breakdown riffs. You don’t hear of too many guitar gods from hardcore, but the vocalists in these bands sing with real life stories and with political overtones which are still paramount.

Tonight at the El Corzon in Seattle, we get a stacked bill of Heavy Hardcore with Momentum, Judiciary, Sunami and headliners Kublai Khan TX.

NIck Adams

Kublai hail originally from Sherman Texas is a foursome made up of Isaac Lamb (Drums), Eric English (bass/backing vocals), Matt Honeycutt (vocals) and Nolan Ashley (guitar).   Tonight however this is not Nolan on guitar as we see Nick Adams of Australian band Justice for the Damned is on his 6 string Jackson.  They are now known as Kublai Khan TX as in Texas, as there is another band that uses Kublai Khan.

Kublai have been around since 2010 and have released 4 studio albums and a couple EPs with of those EP’s Lowest Form of Animal being released back in 2022.  From there they have being dripping out singles here and there to keep things interesting.  They start off with one of those singles with “Theory of Mind”.  Matt starts the lyrics and the first line is “Monkey see Monkey do”…only Kublai can start a song like that, and cause a riot in the already steamy moshpit that a Californian Sunami whipped up previously.  Then comes the wall of distorted guitar and the simple, yet effective high in the guitar neck rhythms that are just thunderous from Nick and Eric’s guitars.

ONLY 10$ and SIGNED! (no frame)

“We are not here to re-invent the wheel, we just want to spin this motherfucker” as Matt points to the moshpit, as they get into the 3rd song with “Resentment” from the Lowest Form of Animal EP.   I tend to disagree there, they really have something going on with their sound, and these slabs of delicious chunky guitar riffs that Nolan has concocted, remind me of those that fellow Texan Dimebag Darrel used to do.

“We have been a band for ever, been uphill battle, under paid, underrated, underestimated, not no more bitch” as Matt gets into “Us & Them” from 2019’s Absolute album.   I want to tell you that Matt’s voice is just like the albums, just as an angry dad and pissed off live.   Stage divers helicoptering across the stage as a guest singer takes the mic in the last half of the song.

Isaac Lamb

Song 8, Matt does a dedication to all the single moms and dads that come to show and gets into “Truest Love” which is all about the relationship breakdown and passing that all down on the offspring.   I can identify with all this and I think that was a great dedication to define what this song is about.

“Self Destruct” and song 13 with “True Fear” is up next.  Bass player Eric is wearing a bucket hat tonight, very similar to what Jinjer’s Roman Ibramkhalilov would wear.   Really digging the crowd participation in this song and audience filling in the lyrics, well done Seattle/Tacoma hardcore!

Eric English on bass

This has been a great show to watch all around however, as the slammers, moshers, crowd killers and stage divers are providing a lot of action.  Even with the huge sign inside of the El Corazon that says “No stage diving”, being punk is all about breaking the rules at times. Someone even dove off the back wall near the sound board from behind!  For the most part, Matt paces the stage like a caged tiger and the others are pretty much planted at their monitors.  Matt is a pretty tough looking dude, best not to run into him on the stage and he is always not short on words to say.

We get notice from Matt with 2 more songs, and they chose “The Hammer” and “Antpile” which are both from 2017’s Nomad album.  “This is not a drill! This is a red alert” as Matt gets his point across as this is the last chance to dance.  Here we get to see how well Nick can do pinch harmonics on his Jackson, which was pretty good.   From what I have see of Nolan, he plays a 7 string guitar, but Nick seems to have the same sound down with the 6 string too.

This show sold out pretty quickly when it was first announced.  Since that announcement, they continue to get a larger following and release new material touring just about everywhere.   If I had one beef, it would be to have this show at a larger venue like the Shobox but stage diving is not tolerated at those larger establishments either.  Definitely the best show I have seen this year thus far, all the energy these bands produced tonight was reflected back to the adoring audience.  Love to hear these guys in a big tour someday, as I wager their sound is probably just a wall of distortion and a lot of ARF ARF and definitely no BLEGH!

IF you can find a ticket, GO!

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