During the early to mid ‘90s, an ample scene of hardcore freaks and fresh townie skids flourished among the crumbling bricks of the former celluloid comb capital of the country. With its toxic ruins of paper mills, and the poisonous footprint of a shuttered Foster Grant plant, the long-passed-its-prime repression of north-central Massachusetts’ “Twin Cities” (Fitchburg and Leominster [area]) didn’t offer a lot of opportunity for kids, especially teenagers, to stay out of trouble—and to be real, to stay alive. As much as the corridors of the Searstown Mall, the curbs behind Loewes Theatre, and the late night tables at Denny’s played a significant role in nourishing and occupying the TCHCs, to many, no spot was more important than the one block stretch of Main Street Fitchburg that housed Allan Esper’s Club 490. On many a night, just down the steps below the club’s neon sign (which still hangs frozen in place, 24 years after the final show), hordes of go-nowhere-kids of all ages could be found slamming around and taking the stage in bands like DIVE, SCATTERED REMNANTS, FIT FOR ABUSE, OPPOSITION, ENTROPY, OVERCAST, CONVERGE, BOUND/HATCHETFACE, and a mile-long list of local and national hardcore punk, and metal bands of the era.
This record that you are either holding in your hands or reading about somewhere on the internet, contains two songs from the BOUND 7” session, that, for whatever reason, went missing for 24 years—“Triplet” and a pre-HF version of “Killian Church,”—as well as the track, “Cain Rose Up,” which originally appeared on Aaron Dalbec’s Soundtrack to the Revolution comp 7”. BOUND’s sound was a savage specimen of 1990's high school hardcore at its most creative, gritty, ugly, and nasty; sonically reflecting life, death, and the teenage experience in this forgotten shithole. Equal doses heavy metallic chugging stomps for sweaty shirtless gorilla-dudes to bowl nerds over, to fast HC thrashers for the spastic Ritalin rejectors to pinball around in circles at great speed, to also showing an advanced handle on songwriting chops that even the snobbiest of jazz students should cower at. Not long after these recordings, the band would subtract a guitar player, crank up the tempo, change their name, and record a flawlessly ripper of an LP as HATCHETFACE. I cannot confirm it to be true that seeing and hearing BOUND played an influential hand in CONVERGE’s advance from the “emo”-mixed-with-SLAYER sounds of the Halo in a Haystack-era towards the crushing beast that they would become famous for, but it’s a good anecdote too silly to ignore. Who am I to try and stop such a long-running rumor now?
The download accompanying this record includes tons of photos; a live set; .mp3s of the ’93 demo; remixed, remastered, and revived versions of the entire 7” session by Will Killingsworth that reveals nuance and clarity hidden from the world in the original mix; a couple rehearsal tapes; and even more odds and ends.
For the statisticians, members of BOUND were also active in FIT FOR ABUSE, ENTROPY, DIVE, GET HIGH, and another band that you’ve definitely heard of. Pressing of 250 copies, all on black.
(This one means a lot to me. Not just musically, and not only because it’s a really important band from an incredibly formative time in my life, but because on top of that, it reminds me of people we lost along the way, many of whom didn’t even make it out of this era, and who’s faces can be seen in some of the photos that accompany the download. Thanks for at least reading this far.)