Sound and Fury: Preview the West Coast DIY festival that has become hardcore's gold standard

Sound and Fury: Preview the West Coast DIY festival that has become hardcore's gold standard

- By Ramon Gonzales

Get a rundown of the can't miss sets slated for Southern California's two-day congregation celebrating heavy culture and community.

Varied and rich with diversity, the attribute that has long been a commonality in hardcore of every generation has been that of it's collective core tenet, community. Throughout every iteration, each region's specific sect, and each nuanced offshoot of the sound, the common fiber at the fabric of hardcore is a communal one.

Further nurturing that sense of community, hardcore's network of venues, points of congregation and DIY festivals have only served to galvanize a self-reliant subculture - one that revers its elder statesmen while celebrating it's emerging voices on a level playing field. From limited merch runs to split EPs, from co-op tours to pop-up shows at unconventional spaces like skate shops and American Legion halls, the health of hardcore is measured on a grassroots level and reflective of it's think and grow together method of operation.

Since 2006, organizers of Southern California's Sound and Fury festival have exemplified that communal ethos. Side-stepping corporate sponsorship while steadily evolving as a fest and growing in independently operated spaces, the fest has enjoyed a degree of autonomy that few others do given its continued swell in popularity throughout their tenure.

Assembling an ever-growing archive of historic performances, S+F has become the barometer of hardcore with it's annual line-up becoming tradition for it's most devout; and rite of passage for it's newly christened. Approaching nearly two decades, the architects of Sound and Fury have asserted a degree of authenticity that can't be faked, functioning as planners and participants rather than panderers. Pooling a diverse, dynamic roster of artists year after year, Sound and Fury has become the showcase that offers an indication of the overall health of hardcore from the inside out.

For the 2022 edition, Sound and Fury has confirmed what has all the making of their most impressive showing yet. The platform for important performances from the likes of Pity Sex (the band's first set in six years), to the swan song for Santa Cruz standouts Gulch, to the coexistence of death metal upstarts like Creeping Death and Gatecreeper with hardcore's broad spectrum like Fiddlehead, DRAIN, Show Me the Body and Scowl - the final weekend in July has the potential to be one of for the books.

Ahead of the pandemonium set to take place at LA's Exposition Park, here are the talking points that make the story Sound and Fury 2022 a pivotal moment in the festival's run in becoming the gold standard of hardcore.

The Final Go Round for GULCH

A bittersweet reminder that it just might be better to fade away than burn out, the brief, albeit powerful run of the California hardcore juggernaut will come to ceremonious end at Sound and Fury. The weekend will mark the final show for GULCH after a year-long stretch of tour dates that have served as the band's victory lap. Gulch's 2020 full length, Impenetrable Cerebral Force catapulted the band to the heights of lauded cult champions akin to bands like Botch and American Nightmare - of which mounted massive momentum only to call it what many considered early - though on their own terms. If this is the last time the world sees Gulch, and everything about the conviction of that band suggests it is, you can bet the send off will be sheer spectacle.

The Arrival of Drug Church

For those in the know, New York post-hardcore outfit Drug Church has long been tip of the tongue as one the genre's most promising prospects however, their 2022 LP Hygiene has provided an important document substantiating that buzz. Earning universal acclaim from not only their constituents but converts from outside their space, the band's most ambitious album, has only propelled Drug Church to take their incendiary live show to all new levels of intensity. Armed with some of their best songs yet, expect DC to show up big at Sound and Fury.

DRAIN Set to Dominate

During the worst of the pandemic lockdown, Drain dropped an audio A-bomb with their acclaimed debut, California Cursed. It was the kind of album that managed to cut through the noise of world in disarray, capture the attention of heavy music fans from all walks and stand the test of time as the band was able to tour the hell out of it when the world finally opened up. The introduction was such that it earned them a deal with Epitaph Records and has since seen Drain level up from regional wrecking machine to national draw - a band on the cusp of breaking big without having to compromise their sound. Late last year, DRAIN unveiled "Watch You Burn" marking the beginning of their Epitaph era and adding to the band's steamroll in the form of a highly-anticipated release due later this year. Somewhat of a hometown show, Drain's set at S+F will no doubt be a dominate one.

The Crossover of Creeping Death

In a year that has seen the Texas outfit hit the road in support of legends like Carcass and Immolation, only to follow up with their own headlining run paired with brutalizers like 200 Stab Wounds along with Ingrown, Spirit World, Vomit Forth, Age Of Apocalypse, and labelmates Plague Years - Creeping Death are primed for their moment in the spotlight. Currently working in the studio on their eagerly-awaited follow up to their devastating 2021 The Edge of Existence EP, Creeping Death has earned the cosign of Adam D of Killswitch Engage who is producing the project. Firing on all cylinders between the mileage logged on the road this year and their deep dive into the studio - fans should expect something special from Creeping Death at Sound and Fury.

No Pressure Make Hardcore Fun Again

Comprised of The Story So Far's Parker Cannon, Light Years' Pat Kennedy and Regulate's Harry Corrigan, the high-octane brand of pop punk delivered with hardcore heft offers an interesting cross section of nostalgic 90's with modern intensity. First introduced in 2020 with their self-titled EP, the project ramped up this year with the arrival of the band's self-titled full length - an effort that prioritizes having a good time while ensuring the pit has plenty to move to. Adding an element of party to the show, No Pressure's set will offer an interesting adjacent to a day could benefit from a bit of levity without compromising any energy.

Mindforce Emerge As 'New Lords'

NY crossover hardcore champs Mindforce are rolling into Sound + Fury with all of the momentum of their recent album announcement in their pending sophomore release, New Lords. The excitement is currently at a peak as the band has delivered the first cut from the 10-track beatdown with thrashy two-minute donnybrook in “Survival Is Vengeance”. The caustic track serves well in reiterating the band’s meld of heft and hardcore ethos – ideal for the kind of melee that can be expected when Mindforce takes the stage.

One Step Closer Usher In Hardcore's New Era

Wilkes-Barre, PA prospects One Step Closer have been having a career year. The band’s Run for Cover Records debut, This Place You Know, has emerged as a potential AOTY candidate and while certifying OSC an important contributor to the landscape of modern hardcore. Fully immersed in the culture, the guys offer an auspicious combination of youth and enthusiasm that translates into a live set that celebrates the sound - inviting fans to be equal participants as they are spectators. As hardcore's Rookie of the Year, the anticipation for the band's S+F set is going to erupt this weekend.

The Wrath of God's Hate

The tandem of Colin Young on drums and menacing frontman Brody King on the mic make for an intimidating pair. Dropping their self-titled full length in 2021, God's Hate are unapologetically hard and deliver that same intensity on record and onstage. The beatdown portion of the show will commence when GH hit the stage - be warned.

Scowl Show Out For the Culture

It’s been a whirlwind year for hardcore unit Scowl since the 2021 debut How Flowers Grow. The Santa Cruz crew quickly became one of the community’s most championed bands. With an effective contrast of their flowery aesthetic ignited with a venomous tone, Scowl tours punk attitude and live instrumentation in a way that positions the band at the head of the class of alternative music’s new school. Fresh off their run with Limp Bizkit, a tour that saw the band grace the stage at Madison Square Garden, Scowl assert all the tenacity requisite of the sound, with added flair and style points that make them a can't miss.

Sound and Fury 2022 takes place Exposition Park in Los Angeles on July 30th and 31st. In addition to the festival, S+F will be hosting a series of kickoff parties with Axe to Grind, Creeping Death, Candy, Superheaven and a Flatspot Records Showcase spanning the entire weekend, spotting various venues across Los Angeles. See the complete festival line up presented by Brain Dead Studios below.

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