When I was growing up in Baltimore in the ’90s, there was no hardcore. Hardcore basically didn’t exist. The surrounding area had a few vaguely hardcore-associated bands, like Moss Icon, Universal Order Of Armageddon, and the Convocation Of…, all of which featured guitarist Tonie Joy. In 1997, the powerviolence band Daybreak came along, and their shows were terrifying. But as far as I know, the city only had two proper straight-up hardcore bands, Torn Apart and Next Step Up. Baltimore was a crust-punk town. So it’s been wild to see that, in the 15 or so years since I left the city, Baltimore has become a real hardcore hotbed. Turnstile, Trapped Under Ice, Angel Du$t, Mindset, War On Women, Praise, Stout, Wolvesblood, Adrenaline, and the late-and-lamented Pulling Teeth all come from Baltimore. Also Queensway. Queensway fucking rule.
Queensway make a heavy, ominous version of hardcore, and it’s indebted to exactly the sort of ’90s knucklehead pit music that wasn’t around in Baltimore when that sound was new. Queensway play relatively slowly, and they lock into huge, volcanic grooves. Their vocals heavy and guttural, they’ve got plenty of metal in them. There’s a real snap to those riffs, too. Queensway released a demo in 2016 and the EP Swift Minds Of The Darkside a year later. And today, they’ve come out with an absolute wrecking ball of an EP called The Real Fear. It sounds enormous, and you can stream it below.
You can get The Real Fear at Bandcamp.