Anger and hatred are incredible forces of emotion. Both can be so intoxicating that they consume all other thoughts and senses to absolute completion. As to not explode and burn the world down in a feverish rage, one tends to find outlets to release this pent up aggression. Everyone has their own avenue in which they chose to do so. Whether it be taking up a form of fighting, going to the gym, or for some their way of keeping the demons at bay; music. Pain Again, the debut album from Philadelphia based beatdown band, Varials is the epitome of released rage. It’s quite fitting actually that among another genre tag or two, their music could be referred to as “beatdown” since that’s exactly what you’ll feel like dishing out while you spin this record.
‘Yeah! Step it up, son! That’s good! You got to hold on to that fury!’ – a lyric from an Angerfist song, entitled “Perfect Fury”, and the opening line to the first track of Pain Again, “The New Damnation”. A more than suitable quote considering the blast of heavy you’re met with next. Sludgy, severely down tuned guitar and bass work, paired perfectly with speaker rattling drumming. Vocalist Travis Tabron screams could only be compared to what it must sound like to have a throat full of blood. As brash as the sound can be, unlike other metal/beatdown bands, Varials still manage to incorporate as much melody as they possible can, and this track demonstrates that perfectly.
Upon signing to Fearless Records, Varials debuted their new brand of abrasive heaviness with “Anything To Numb”. Ballistic right out of the cage, the song kicks into overdrive in a balls to the wall sorta way that leaves the listener shaking in blissful furiousness. Foregoing a standard song structure, the group waivers on a second verse in favor of hitting that hard hitting sweet spot that is the breakdown. And they do not disappoint. Head banging has found new meaning, so take note, it could leave a mark.
“Pain Again”, the second single, continues the freight train of hatred that is the namesake of this album. Border lining more on the hardcore/metalcore style, the song picks up the pace a notch or two. This song perfectly encapsulates with its sound, the feeling of pure and utter anger. One couldn’t help but feel a sweet sense of release of any personal anguish they be holding onto before listening to this title track. ONE of the great things Varials has going for them is vocalist Travis Tabron. Unlike other hardcore/beatdown bands whose vocalists sound more like a broken down, caked up 1946 Ford engine, he has a much stronger and wider range as to not get stagnant (helps with actually being able to understand what the hell he’s saying as well). This truly does help when trying to reach a broader audience of fans, which they will have no trouble doing.
Closing out the album is what feels like on ode to hardcore punk with “Pride”. Something that lives in all of us. It can give us a sense of strength and accomplishment, but it can also be the very thing that defeats us. Sometimes an individuals pride is what gets in the way of building strong and prosperous relationships with others, and this can lead to a monstrous animosity. This song is fast, heavy, and what anyone would refer to as a banger. Unlike some bands which choose a calm and somber finale, Varials chose to leave you reeling.
Varials have proved that anger can be harnessed, and fused into a stunning and exhilarating work of art. There’s no standard formula followed with Pain Again, which will set it apart from other bands trying to do the same thing. Musically it challenges the norm of what most consider this genre to be all about, and instead of the lyricism going only as far as a complacent “I’m angry, fuck you”, Tabron strives to prove you can actually evoke some food for thought within a band this hard. We all have some rage inside of us. Thankfully Pain Again has given us a route to complete release.