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Final Declaration: Buffalo’s Strong Hardcore Tradition Burns Brightly Through New Group

Photo: Spencer Chamberlain

I've asked countless musicians through the years why they started their band, and Final Declaration vocalist Evan Duckett breaks it down just as great as anyone could: "We’re friends with a love of playing hardcore and wanting to positively impact the world around us, and we live in a world right now that needs more people to stand up and kind of say 'hold on, what the fuck?' and then actually try to do something about it."

Final Declaration is a new hardcore band out of Buffalo, NY that just dropped their debut release, The Line in the Sand, a couple of weeks ago. "The musical influences are many and all incorporated into the material in some way, but bands like Foundation who were uncompromisingly hard with a thoughtful message were a definite starting point," says Evan of the new group's collective influences. 

"I think often there’s a misconception that heavy bands are brainless, and bands with brains aren’t heavy, that’s horse shit. You can, and always should, do both.

Evan stays on the subject of Final Declaration's musical approach: "It’s difficult to quantify because the music is so different even from song to song, but we really tried to not write for one specific sound but rather just what cane naturally for what we wanted to do. We’re drawing from a varied background and influences from NYHC, to late '90s/early '00s metalcore, to modern hardcore, to punk rock and hip-hop and everything in between. There’s no sense in discarding certain influences to fit yourself into an arbitrary box. That benefits no one." 

Photo: Spencer Chamberlain

As stated above, Final Declaration hail from Buffalo, NY, a region of American that has a deep history in hardcore, including bands like Snapcase, Zero Tolerance, and Slugfest. Though they just started doing their thing, I ask Evan how the scene at home has received them so far. "Our first show was supporting Rotting Out, and we essentially kept the band a secret leading up to it even though we had been writing and recording in the background. Despite having no music out in the world, and most of the people on attendance not even knowing we were a band before getting on the stage, the reception was insane and the set was a war zone. 

"As far as kinships go, Buffalo is experiencing a youth movement right now and it’s really cool to see. Bands like the Elite, War By Other Means and more are kids who are all late teens to early 20s at the oldest for the most part, and that was very much needed. We’d be remiss to not point out other bands from Buffalo hardcore’s past and present because they’ve both been musical influences and mentors as friends. Bands like Zero Tolerance, Slugfest, Buried Alive, Rhinoceros, Malfunction, and Every Time I Die. Buffalo has a rich history of hardcore music and we’re proud to now be a part of continuing that."

Photo: Spencer Chamberlain

The lifespan of a hardcore/punk/metal band isn’t long. How far ahead have Evan and the rest of the Final Declaration guys planned on for the band? "Fuck a lifespan, who cares? We could make five more records or this could be the first and only, you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. That’s part of the reason that we chose to record and release all 8 songs that we wrote for our first output. It might seem ambitious, but it’s just grounded in realism.

"Sure, we could have released a 3-song EP and then had another 5 songs in the bag for the next record, but that’s lazy. What if there’s not a next record? Then that was all for nothing. You’ve always only got one shot until you get your next shot and that’s never guaranteed. We’re putting it all out there with no expectations and if we’re fortunate enough to write and record another record, I assure you, we’ll have plenty to say then too.”

Just before the interview was concluded, Evan let me know that Final Declaration confirmed their record release show for Feb. 1 at Casa Di Francesca in Buffalo. The flyer for the gig can be seen above. Give Final Declaration a follow on their Instagram page for more info on their upcoming shows.

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