When I lived in Montreal I went to a ton of hardcore shows. Makes sense no? I mean it’s a scene that’s produced fistfuls of quality ’core — see Final Word Inepsy or The Omegas. Thing is does anyone actually remember the bands that opened for them? Inevitably it’d be some band from Jonquière or Trois-Rivières named XUNTIL THE MASSACREX or XPAY THE SACRIFICEX fronted by dudes rocking military caps faded Death Threat hoodies and Quebec unibrows. And while I rarely thought much of these bands at the time — I was too busy reconciling my veganism with my newest Nike Dunk purchase — I absolutely loved those dudes. Their bands sounded like third-rate Until the End ripoffs. They sported on-stage facial expressions that were half caged pitbull half incontinent senior. And they penned some of the best — the best — hackneyed Franglais mosh calls each non-sequitur more glorious than the last.
“FOR MY SUFFERING” they’d shout “I… DIE… FOR… MY…. BE-LIEF!” Then: “ONE WORDS — STRAIGHT FUCKING H’EDGE!” The universe’s shittiest one-chord breakdown followed the perfect intersection of hormones stupidity and the language barrier. Fuck I loved those dudes.
Years on however they as I vanished from hardcore. But I’d always wondered: What happened to the dudes with names like Seb J-F and Yannick? Who became their eventual heirs? And then the sad answer came: Skip the Foreplay. Read it over one more time: Skip. The. Foreplay.
Here’s what they are: They’re metalcore. They’re dubstep — insofar as Jonathan Davis creates electronic music. Here’s what they’re not: Good. Here’s what they might be: Br00tal (though I’ve never used such descriptors before so I wouldn’t know).
But here’s what immediately leapt out about Nightlife — here a record infused with the ghosts of Montreal hardcore’s past. Seb J-F and Yannick’s progeny are all present only they’re outfitted in tank tops flat brims and skinny jeans. Those unibrows it appears have been carefully sculpted into oblivion. And instead of occupying VFW halls they’re residents of some mythical clubland which while not as literary as Lifter Puller’s sordid nightlife still uses clichés like currency: Here a Hey-Mr.-DJ metalcore banger (“DJ”). There on “Mash it Up” a call to “party like it’s 1999.” (A year that likely occurred a decade before Skip the Foreplay reached the age of majority.) Then there’s the liberal referencing of LMFAO both on “Shots” which is self-explanatory and on their cover of “Champagne Showers.” And when things get aspirational there’s “Dinner With Snooki.” Hey a dude’s gotta dream right?
But it’s all fun and games — or hussies and dranks — until you piss Skip the Foreplay off. Whereas Seb J-F and Yannick might’ve directed their ire towards drug dealers backstabbers or God Skip the Foreplay channel their empty threats in other directions: First they fucking hate Rohypnol with date-rape revenge fantasies playing out over two songs (“Hawaiian Killer” and the excellently titled “Date Rape Predator” where they threaten to “find that motherbitch”). Next they hunt down the girl who gave an STI to their buddy — um right their buddy. (“DTK” where the “K” stands for — get this — kill.) And finally there’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: The show-stopping mosh call. In the dying seconds of “This City” the band in their heady Quebec brogue announces the song’s umpteenth breakdown by declaring that “you’re in MTL bitch — OUAAAAAAGHHHH!” The h’edge is strong bitches.
Indeed those worn hardcore tropes can be found scattered across Nightlife ’s neverending foam party. There’s the threats: “Take the looser [sic] with you” they write “or we’ll fist pump him in face” until the “808s stop your heart.” Or the suicidal quips: “Let me choke in my vomit and die” they sing on the “Hangover.” And of course there’s the territorial buddy songs: “You come in our club and disrespect us?” they ask. “You better watch your back.” Point taken. And we can’t wait to hear their next album which will surely be called Just the Tip.