Alex Weinhardt was a gangly 15-year-old Foo Fighters fan when his parents dropped him off at his first DIY punk show at the Pickerington Armory.
“I saw a bunch of hardcore bands that really blew my mind,” Weinhardt said. “This was before you could spend a lot of time on the internet finding bands.”
These groups leaned toward a dissonant, combustible strain of hardcore sometimes categorized as “powerviolence” or “screamo,” though as Weinhardt points out, “Now that word means something completely different.” One group in particular stood out, a powerhouse called To Dream of Autumn featuring a guitarist named Adam Lowe.
Over the years, Weinhardt joined all kinds of bands, including bass duties for post-rock combo Six Gallery and genre-blending hard rockers Phantods, both of which evolved in poppy directions before petering out. He always wanted to form a band like the ones he saw at that Armory show, but he never knew anybody who liked the same music.
Then Weinhardt ran into Lowe years later when their bands played a show together. He introduced himself as a fan of Lowe’s work and tried to arrange a jam session with Lowe on guitar and Weinhardt on drums. When Lowe finally found time for it, they clicked instantly.
“I finally found somebody that was into the same very obscure subgenre of hardcore that I was into,” Weinhardt said. “And better yet, he played in those bands, so what better person to have as your new bandmate?”
They formed a band called The Black Antler, but it stayed on the back burner for years. When Phantods broke up last year, The Black Antler ramped up activity and eventually recruited Ride to Ruin’s Ryan Moya to play bass. The goal wasn’t to take over the world but just to play gnarly shows, make killer records and have a blast doing it.
“It’s the raddest pastime ever,” Weinhardt said. “What a cool hobby, playing in a metal band.”
To whit, they made a thrashing, grinding debut album at Old Son Studios, and they’re throwing a release party Saturday at Kobo with Nemesis and Neon Warship. Expect broad smiles and brutal volume.
Photo by Adam Lowe