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Video: WITH DEAD HANDS RISING (feat. Colin and Burke on vocals) – "Distress Patterns"

When Minneapolis-based metalheads WITH DEAD HANDS RISING began their foray into a devastatingly brutal style of contemporary hardcore in 2001, the word "deathcore" was little more than whitty quip on par with the likes of "jockcore" or "lumberjackcore". THE RED CHORD still had to get another year of practice under their belts before Fused Together Through Revolving Doors would see the light of day, and the members of  future local deathcore Sumerian-signees AFTER THE BURIAL were most likely drawing band logos on the backs of their algebra notebooks while WDHR were playing their pioneering blend of Meshuggah-esque death metal and emotional hardcore in clubs around the MN area. Though their early albums Behind Inquisition and The Horror Grows Near earned the band a small-yet-rabidly devoted fanbase in the U.S. underground,  their career never sky-rocketed off in the way that their peers' would half a decade later. Over the years, as the world of "deathcore" rose up around them, numerous lineup changes and stylistic shifts morphed them into an almost entirely different band, and eventually the once-revered group became just another face in an overpopulated scene diluted by tired, emotionless cliches. Hindsight shows that the band may have been just too far ahead of their time to be wholly appreciated.

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However, for those who were on board when WITH DEAD HANDS RISING first started making waves at the beginning of the decade, it has always been  quite easy to make the distinction of what separates the band from the rest. When they said farewell to their core fanbase in Minneapolis last week, it was clear that this place will not be quickly or easily forgotten. During the performance, members from throughout the band's tenure continuously played musical chairs, presenting a gig that featured performances from all of their members and brought memories of the band's many wild gigs rushing back. It was a celebratory performance that showed that, while the band may have changed and grown, the passion and motivation for their music has remained as unwavering as ever.

Considering the packed house of fans and friends on-hand (most of which were going apeshit throughout the entire show) you would've never guessed it, but this was not exactly a farewell performance tailored for their listeners or anyone in the industry. At the core, this was an impassioned farewell to the explicit bond of friendship and love for metal that the members of WDHR shared. Though they may have never achieved the commercial success that they hoped, WITH DEAD HANDS RISING proved to be a success in many other more personal ways. As Colin, Burke, and the rest of the gang continue their transition to adult life (raising kids, making respectable contributions to their community, inevitably becoming involved in future metal outfits, etc.), I doubt that the metaphorical flames that were ignited by the spark that was WDHR will be tamed anytime soon…

In the meantime, I'll cross my fingers for a reunion to occur sooner rather than later.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, more bootleg videos from the farewell show:

WITH DEAD HANDS RISING (feat. Colin Strandberg) – "Corey Feldman as the Devil"
WITH DEAD HANDS RISING – "Concentrated Contamination"
BLUE OX – "The Night of the Technicolor Yawn"

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-Videos and such by Ryan Buege, a young man who often calls his writing home.

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