Old Haunts

This Tacoma band calls itself many things, including "chaotic hardcore," "mathcore" and "jazzcore." While quibbling about genre names can go on forever, Czar ignores the label that, unfortunately, comes most to mind: screamo. Czar's jabby guitars, dissonant keyboards and white-noise-screech vocals remind me of all the bands I saw in high school at a Billings coffee shop called Yellowstone Perk. Nobody ever bought coffee there, but a lot of kids wearing Hot Topic T-shirts showed up on weekends to drink Mountain Dew and awkwardly head-bob or punch each other to screechy bands dressed the same way. I would like to pretend this was eons ago, but it was roughly 2007. I quit going to screamo shows the instant I got better friends, and it surprises the hell out of me that not everyone else has done the same.

There's a line between metal that is hard-hitting and complex, and metal that is gimmicky and overblown. Czar, judging by its 2011 album Old Haunts and a preview track from the new Shark Cancer, could be pretty rad if some of its tempo changes and spastic instrumental frills were pared away. The original hardcore music of the '80s taught us that less is more.

Czar, Lb.!, Shramana and Con/sequence play the VFW Sat., April 6, at 9 PM. $5.
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