The 90’s in extreme music were a very peculiar time. This decade of terrible haircuts and awkward fashion incepted two highly bastardized forms of music that, in some people’s eyes, lie somewhere in between the cringeworthiness of ska and tribal-tattoo clad radio rock. These genres I speak of are screamo (or skramz, or emoviolence or whatever the fuck you want to call it) and (hardline vegan straight edge) metalcore. Feel how you will about either style of music; no one is stopping you. However, you simply can’t deny the fact that saying you’re a full-fledged proponent of Prayer For Cleansing’s musical styling will not subject you to a double-take or maybe even a chuckling dismissal. Even with the whole circle of bands like Saetia, Orchid, and Pg. 99. These are simply bands that you either love, hate, love to hate, or hate that you love. That’s it.
What does this mean in the grand scheme of things? The 90’s brings to mind three styles of music: metalcore, screamo, and alternative rock. Even more so, when I think of the 90’s, why doesn’t hardcore punk come to mind unless you really really try to rack your brain? Did the questionable bands overshadow the good ones or were the good bands just so few and far between? Maybe it’s just my musical naïveté, but it did take me some time to realize that the 90’s were not all about handing pamphlets out at shows and to understand that hardcore punk was still thriving through this decade, there was just a lot of hilarious fluff that you had to sift through.
Case in point: Eucharist. This band was on very few people's radar during their time, and seemed to gain little recognition after the fact, despite how good their debut (and only) release was. Taking cues from other bands that happened to fly under the radar like Citizens Arrest, Heresy, Born Against, and so on, Eucharist was fairly simple; they played hardcore punk without a gimmick or byline to their band. That is something that was seemingly rare for a 90’s band.
Eucharist did one US tour, played a bit in the Northeast and released their record on The Mountain Collective For Independent Artists, who also put out records from bands like Iceburn and Saetia. If you were a band in 1996 and planned on releasing a record, you needed to step your game up because this was a year of seminal releases in extreme music. From Eyehategod's Dopesick to Integrity's Humanity is the Devil to His Hero Is Gone's Fifteen Counts of Arson. On every end of the spectrum, 1996 featured a release that had a high probability of still being listened to today. It’s a shame that Eucharist is not included on that list, but it’s never too late to start and maybe Eucharist can find the resurgence of interest that bands like YDI would benefit from some decades later.
While hardcore punk was extremely easy to seek out in the 80’s and the USHC surge in the 2000’s brought it to the forefront again, this style of music didn't go anywhere in the 90’s, there was just more dirt to dig up to uncover the hidden gems. Not sure if there are even physical copies of the record floating around anymore, but if you come across it, its definitely worth copping. I highly encourage seeking out more great releases from this time. If you need a different place to start, Google “Judgement- No Reason Why”. 1996 was a good year.
- Jay Chary