by David Norman (Zegema Beach, OPENmind/SATURATEDbrain)

BACK WHEN - Swords Against the Father 7" EP

Getting into screamo and myspace stuff was hella fun for me back in the early 2000s. After connecting with some awesome labels I scoured their histories. BACK WHEN released this absolute gem back in 2004 on Init Records and it's still light years ahead of what's happening now. The metallic edge, the swirling vocal back-and-forths, the breakdowns, the panic riffs, the unrelenting speed, the incalculable weight of it all...and it's simultaneously catchy and groovy. Members of this band played in a plethora of projects during the late 90s and 2000s, but this particular collection of individuals created the best EP I've ever heard...and it's almost 20 years after its release. With each passing year it seems less and less likely that this will ever be knocked out of my top EP spot.


by Wes Meadows (Scorpio Death Club, The You Suck Flying Circus, Flowerpot Records)

Sewn together in Fall 2018 from members of a dozen brilliant bands like Wolf Teeth, Atomic Witch, and Penguins In Alaska, Closedown combines their influences and previous experiences into a slow-burn form of heavily affected post-hardcore. Their lyrics deal with a myriad of subjects ranging from grief and personal loss to climate change and social alienation. Their dual-guitar attack sways with their layered and traded vocals, with fluid and melodic bass lines combining to make a beautifully rich and cohesive mix. Their location in Northeast Ohio, particularly Lorain County, seems to factor in to their sound, mirroring the bleak landscape but also brimming with possibility. This makes a lot of sense considering the members of Closedown have always been community-oriented. Bassist/vocalist Eddy Marflak especially put a lot of time into a venue called Blank Slate in their area before the pandemic forced its closure. The venue became a safe haven for punks and weirdos of the community, and had regular open mics, movie nights, and art shows that were free to the public, in addition to playing host to hundreds of different bands from all over the globe in their short tenure. Closedown’s sound feels communal, like they’re speaking for their small town and defending the weirdos of blank slate, even past the closing of its doors. In 2019, a solidified group of members convened to record a demo, recorded and mixed by guitarist Ryan Crawford, which Eddy took on his tour where he filled in on bass with Plaguewalker and handed out to like-minded people. This led to their debut EP being released by Middle-Man Records and Tiny God Records in 2020, which showcased their burgeoning sound alongside ambient noise bursts and gothic affectations. Unfortunately, the EP was the last recording with drummer Brett Kuharik, and the EP release was delayed by months due to the search for a replacement. It was followed up later that year with a 4-way split on Tiny God featuring other local hardcore stalwarts Brain Cave, Stalchild, and V-Trigger. They’ve also released a cover of Funeral Diner’s “I Am The Sword”. They played an AFI halloween cover set in 2019, but have since taken down those recordings from their bandcamp. They’ve been playing almost exclusively new material live in their comeback sets this year, and they’ve been teasing recordings on their instagram, so hopefully we’re looking at a new release sooner than later.


Demo - March 2019

AFI Cover Set - October 2019

I Was The Sword (Funeral Diner) - March 2020

Bask In The Dancing Light - June 2020

Ohio Power 4-way Split - October 2020


Eddy Marflak - bass, vocals

Robert McBride - guitar, vocals

Ryan Crawford - guitar, vocals

Nick Amato - drums