Mile End, Mile End (Self-Released, 2021)

The western reaches of the Greater Toronto Area are fertile ground for post-hardcore.

The region spawned Alexisonfire, Silverstein, Grade, and about a million other local acts who lived and died in suburban basements, DIY spaces and dive bars.

Mile End are one of the latest voices adding their sheen of delay and feedback to the seemingly endless wave of noise coming from the west end.

The band’s 2021 self-titled EP is a marked improvement from their 3-song 2019 debut (also self-titled). 

Early Touché Amoré is an easy comparison to the vocal style—a raspy bark with hints of modern hardcore. There are also some gang vocals here that, along with the EP’s driving momentum and heavier dirges, create a wide crossover appeal. 

Musically, the grimy bass tone and uptempo approach conjure up the heavier moments of Saetia’s catalog. That template is interspersed with a variety of interesting decisions, making this record hard to pin down. 

Mile End’s mission statement for this record may have been “let’s write screamo songs with hardcore breakdowns." The chorus riff and gang vocal approach of opener “Tribe”, as well as the stompy verse riff in “Choose Life” sound like they could have been lifted from a 2010’s hardcore song. Both of these tracks, much like your average hardcore tune, have slowed down mosh parts at the end.

“Sweat” has a more traditional screamo feel, except for the Sunami-esque “homie callout” 2/3 of the way through, launching the band into a frenetic coda. “Burn the Wise” very much treads the line of late 2000s melodic hardcore like Defeater or Killing the Dream. This song also has a very interesting experimental “breakdown” at the end.

The song lengths on this record veer towards traditional screamo, despite Mile End’s readiness to embrace hardcore tropes. Every song is over three minutes long, although rarely does the record drag.

Photo: Pr_Barden

The only song I want to be shorter is “Alex’s Song," which gets a little repetitive. There’s definitely some noodling and atmosphere filling the songs out. Those parts veer more into modern shoegaze and post-rock influence, as opposed to the emo-core twinkling of classic bands like pg.99 or I Hate Myself. 

Mile End would have fit right in with the Topshelf and No Sleep Records scene 10 years ago. They might have, in fact, got lost in the shuffle of bands combining these influences in a truer to form revivalist spirit. Mile End is novel in 2021 though.

This blend of hardcore and screamo doesn’t really have a codified scene right now, and as a result, no easy-to-follow formula. The result is an EP full of risks. Some of them pay off. Some don’t. Regardless, the end product is an interesting and engaging listen.

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