The recent announcement of a Blood Brothers reunion has me excited about screamo again. I take inventory of my local metal scene, in search of that kind of sound because I can’t wrap my head around getting to FYF Fest (or any fest) this year. Delirious thrash-punk isn’t new to the sweaty, packed clubs of New York City, but here it has a certain sort of polish which tends to get fuzzed out by doom metal as you find yourself traveling north. Enter Duane Barry, a four-piece from the Bronx positioned at an interesting middle point.
DB brings the intense kind of growl you can expect from a bunch of twenty-something metal heads who cut their teeth on Killswitch Engage, but will surprise you with moments that recall emo bands of the late 2000’s, like Finch. Opening for hardcore legends Shai Hulud, I got to tag along with the band to take some pictures for their gig at the Blackthorn 51 in Queens. The crowd was sparse, with 8 other bands on the bill at this remote but promising venue.
Dark in lyrical content, songs like “The Stranger” swirl through brutal highs and lows. With just one vocalist, Duane Barry’s sound relies mostly on a deep-in-your-throat roar allowing the guitar to create the frantic shrieking you need to get bodies moving. Their music is accompanied by intricate watercolor paintings, which decorate the bands Facebook and Bandcamp pages and recall the surrealist landscapes of Joan Miró.
I’m reminded of how small the scene really is, head heavy with headlines focused on rumors of a recent stage-dive related death. The questions of safety and who takes responsibility seem mainly isolated to this kind of show, given the violent nature of the crowds. Once Duane Barry takes the stage, it’s clear how strong the will to persevere is here. Almost every band set to play that night was in the room, ready to support others in making their art. Other acts on the bill that night included The Machinist, If He Dies, Vincent Price Is Right, Skies Of Tomorrow, and This Life We Live.
Check out Duane Barry later this month at The Acheron with Capsize. Fingers crossed for a full length recording sometime in 2014.