At the start of August 2021 the world of live hardcore music returned to the UK. A host of a who's who of the UKHC world come back after 18 months away due to the global pandemic.
Even though the event at one of the UK's premier hardcore venues, the New Cross Inn, played host to many familiar faces, there were people in attendance who were ready to showcase what the new breed of UKHC bands have to offer.
Despite only officially being a band since June 2020, one of the shining lights to come out of the lockdown period this side of the Atlantic has been vegan straight edge outfit xUntold Sufferingx.
Their demo tape released through Wretched Records was met with immediate excitement, and since live music has been a thing again the quintet have arguably been one of the most in demand bands on this small island, and in this writers opinion rightly so.
Musically the band mix together metallic riffs with melodic rhythm, adding a generous dose of gang vocals and beatdowns into the mix for a familiar yet fresh take on metal influenced hardcore.
But with the hype and excitement around the band, vocalist Fin told No Echo that the band nearly never got off the ground. When Fin and bassist Libby first touted the idea of forming a band, they had struggled to find a drummer, but still managed to start writing a demo in 2020. But there seemed to be something lacking and the pair nearly gave up.
"We gave it one more shot in late July 2020 by putting an advert on the UK Hardcore Facebook group and Shaun joined the band as lead guitar," Fin explains to No Echo. "He had some demo tracks laying around from 2018 and we all really liked them so they became the demo we released."
And it was this demo which has already found a home in the hearts of many UKHC fans, with there being a legacy of heavy vegan straight edge bands to come out of the UK there almost seemed to be a gap in the market for a band to come along and fill that spot. That is exactly what the five-piece has done, but the response to their first output of recorded music has come as a bit of a surprise to the band.
Fin added: "It caught us completely by surprise, to be honest. We thought the demo would get an okay reception but it did great. We're happy we managed to find an audience for the message of the band."
And even though the Demo got a lot of eyes on the band early doors, it has been since the five-piece have been able to preform live that they have really seen the fruits of their labour paying dividends. Having already racked up a number of performances under their belt, and playing their first couple of home town shows in London more recently, the band already seem to be growing and the buzz about their live show is already starting to gain traction.
"Although we got some pretty good feedback about the demo we put out last year, it’s not the same as seeing people react to your music live," says lead guitarist Shaun. "We had to wait almost a year after forming to play our first show, but it couldn’t have gone better. Hearing people sing back our lyrics or seeing people mosh to our music is the best feeling in the world and was worth the wait.
"We’ve written and recently recorded some new tracks and they have been getting good reactions when we’ve played them live too, so we’re really happy with that. Now we just want to play as many shows as we can in as many places as possible. There’s a palpable excitement at shows at the moment—we’ve all realized what we’ve been missing. I hope that continues and people don’t take it for granted."
On addressing the drive to be proud to represent the UK straight edge scene and following in the footsteps of bands they have been influenced by in the past, Shaun added said that it was important for the band to showcase that identity as it was the hardcore community which helped them find their voice, so it was the bands way to give something back.
The guitarist explains: "Bands like Abolition, xRepentancex, Survival, Breaking Point, and so on, did leave a kind of void with regard to straight edge bands in the UK. We’ll always be in the shadow of bands like that but we’re proud to pick up where they left off.
"For me, it’s important that we as a band explicitly identify ourselves as being straight edge. I had already decided that I didn’t want to drink or do drugs before I got into hardcore, and even though I knew it was the right choice for me, there was a sense in which it felt alienating because nobody else I knew was like that.
"Finding hardcore and finding out that there were other people like me, and that there were these heavy and aggressive bands that were singing about the way I viewed the world was cool and empowering. And of course there was a sense, and I still think this is the case, that straight edge felt like a form of mental rebellion—it’s going against the grain of the mainstream, rejecting lifestyle choices that are normalised from a young age and encouraging people to question why they do things.
"Of course the connection to veganism for me then became obvious. In that sense, I’m glad that we as a band are out there representing the straight edge movement. However, I think we do need to give big shout outs to other bands that have been important for keeping the straight edge scene in the UK alive, like Payday and Dedicate. There are also some newer bands that deserve a mention, like xDeliverancex, xInMyTimeOfDyingx (formerly Regressions), and our sister band Ill Informed, which our drummer Dan also plays in."
It is this drive and passion about their art which pushes xUntold Sufferingx forward, and even though a lot of people in the hardcore scene may be vegan, there is still a section who do not fully relate to the straight edge movement / message. However, the quintet did not want to be compromising on their message, instead they wanted to use the platform that they have created to educate and tell more people about veganism and what their beliefs are both socially and politically.
"If we were to write lyrics simply to appeal to everyone in the audience it wouldn’t be authentic—it wouldn’t be hardcore!" Shaun continues, "Maybe I’m wrong, but I always think about hardcore as a place for the exchange of ideas, especially those that run counter to the mainstream.
"I hope that people can still appreciate our music and our message even if they’re not vegan straight edge, in the same way that I can listen to bands like Shelter and 108, and I can vibe with the music and listening to lyrics can give me insight into their perspective, even though I’m not into Krishna consciousness. If our message makes people uncomfortable or puts them off the music, I hope they take the time to reflect on why that is."
Now that xUntold Sufferingx have caught the eye of the UK / European audience they want to spread their wings as far as possible and in doing so share the message of veganism and the impact that it has on our everyday life and how it can help change the world.
The band want to continue doing the work of bands like Earth Crisis, who for many paved the way we view veganism today, and as a young band xUntold Sufferingx want to be a catalyst for further change in people's lifestyles.
Shaun added: "As a band we do promote veganism and animal rights, so we do want people to reflect on that message. Our music won’t change the world but it might be a catalyst for some people to make personal changes or to get involved with the animal rights/environmental movements.
"From a musical perspective, we obviously want to be able to write and put out as many quality releases as we can. Although there’s a serious message behind it, we do want people to enjoy the music too, and we’d like to be able to get out and play to as many people as possible, in the UK and other countries."
Now that xUntold Sufferingx has a taste for the reach their music can have they want more and more. With a split EP and their debut EP on the horizon it seems like the only way is up for the five-piece who will be making inroads in the UKHC scene a lot sooner rather than later.
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Tagged: xuntold sufferingx