It seems that as the years go by, the southern United States is continuously dominating the heavy music scene. With bands like Bodysnatcher and Traitors from Florida and Attila from Georgia, as well as the plethora of local and underground bands in the region it only made sense that eventually North Carolina would become the new cornbread fed hotbed for heavy and hardcore. Leading the charge is Greensboro riffmeisters Neglected, bringing a fresh and metallic twist on an already beloved genre. Combining traits of hardcore, punk, thrash, and metalcore, Neglected (comprised of members of other NC favorites Peacekeepers and From Wrath to Ruins) are certainly poised to take over the state, and with any luck, the world. I was lucky enough to sit down with the gentleman from this band for a brief interview to discuss the message, the music, and why a certain member smells like processed meat all the time. Read below for an in-depth interview, and read below that for a review of their debut EP, Significance of Pain!
Alright guys, this is Hunter for New Transcendence, and I’m currently outside of the Somewhere Else Tavern in Greensboro North Carolina, my guest today is local hardcore outfit Neglected. Could I get you guys to introduce yourselves and what you do in the band?
[Cole (Hudson, vocals)] I’m Cole, and I’m the vocalist.
[Dave (Lavey, guitar)]: I’m Dave and I play guitar.
[Nickk (Stuart, drums)]: I’m Nickk, I bang the drums.
[Anthony (Council, guitar)]: I’m Ant, I play guitar.
[Chris (McNeil, bass]: I’m Chris, I play bass.
Well, it’s certainly a pleasure to actually get to meet you guys face to face instead of through the power of the internet. So, first things first, and I’m sorry for this being a generic question, but where did the name Neglected come from, and what does it mean to you?
[Cole]: Well, firstly, I was really drawn to the name Neglect, but that’s already like a big staple in hardcore, especially in Long Island (New York), which is kinda where I came up, but I was still drawn to that name. I think it’s very representative of the tone of the band, you know? I grew up in a bit of a broken household, I was kinda like left alone to just raise myself and so, you know, when you pitch stuff like that, they were on board and added the -ed and then we were set to go.
Right on! So, how did you guys come together? I know most of you are in other projects, as well.
[Dave]: Well, we were all tricked into this project. [All laughing] There was actually a time where Chris, our bassist, was trying to start a secondary project with some friends of ours and asked if he could use my guitar set up and I said “yeah dude, of course!” and I rode with him to go to this practice, and it was actually Labor Day Weekend and a bunch of people were over at Cole’s house eating some barbecue and you know, just having a good time. So Cole pulls all the original members of the band in, and Ant wasn’t part of the band at the time, we had another member named Luke Johnson and said “This is like, the right lineup for Neglect.” We ended up going to the practice space, plugged in our instruments, and it all went from there.
[Anthony]: Wait wait let me tell this story!
[Anthony]: So I was going to start a little project with Chris, and we went to practice one day and I go to Cole’s house, and he just scares the shit out of me, like, “Yo, you’re practicing in my band’s space, if anything goes missing I’m gonna beat the fuck out of you.” We practiced and everything was fine, I go home the next day and I get a text from Chris saying “Yo, Peacekeepers’ snare is missing, do you have it? Like can you check that shit?” And I was like “Yo, I know Neglected has practice today, I’ll meet you guys down there, I haven’t taken anything out of my car so I can prove to you that I do not have the snare”. By the time I got there, the snare thing had been situated so I plug in and start warming up, then Cole turns the corner all like “Yo check it! That sounds good, you’re in Neglected.”
[Cole]: Our original bassist had left, issues at home didn’t give him time for a band. Chris was originally a second guitarist, but Chris was willing to move to bass and Ant stepped in for second guitar.
So, Chris, do you ever shower?
[Chris]: Yes? Yes and no? Look, I just smell like beef. [All laughing] Wendy’s should give me an endorsement.
[Cole]: Wendy’s needs to fucking sponsor us, we’ll call it the Pit Beef tour.
[Chris]: or the Beef Around America tour.
[Nickk]: and Cole’s the Coleslaw.
Well, uh, moving forward… Anthony, I know you’re more of a straight out metalhead, you have more roots in thrash and death metal. What was it like for you to switch over to more straightforward hardcore?
[Anthony]: I’ve definitely had to learn to back off a bit, you know? What I found is having really good riffs is a lot more important. Like writing catchy shit is more important than shredding the gnar, as they say. I still try to keep the thrash element in, I know Dave does as well. I try to keep my roots but it’s good to challenge myself.
[Cole]: I think Ant brings something a little more interesting to the table, because a lot of newer hardcore bands are becoming thrash worship while Ant’s been doing this a lot.
[Anthony]: I’m excited to announce I’m doing my scene phase next, me and the dudes from Golgotha are bringing Crabcore back!
Can we expect to hear some crabby breakdowns on the next ep?
[Anthony]: oh hell yeah!
Alright, so, moving in a similar direction, what are some big influences on this ep?
[Dave]: In full honesty, a little bit of everything.
[Cole]: We all have different influences. Like for me, I kind of lean toward more the New York traditional hardcore sound, and I still fuck with metalcore. Dave has his own thing, Chris stays up to date with newer hardcore, like Candy.
[Chris]: If you’re reading this, Listen to Candy, right the fuck now. They played the United Blood after show, they’re like if Trash Talk was as serious metalcore band, even though they’re hardcore.
Fair enough! If Neglected has a message to push, what is that message?
[Anthony]: Helen Keller.
[Cole]: Disregard that. I’d say it’s really tied into the name of the EP, Significance of Pain. It details my life, like watching my mom and friends deal with addiction, my anxiety, being abused by my mother. As for our new stuff, cause we’re already writing it, it’s a lot more political, anti-fascist, Wolf Down kinda stuff.
[Dave]: We don’t stick to one idea, there’s no one overlying theme. We have a lot to say, there’s a lot to delve into. We don’t wanna limit the band to one thing.
[Chris]: Speaking more on the ep, more the meaning we push with it- I was with Cole when he was writing the whole thing and when I listen to it I get the feeling of the title. It’s like, you need the pain and the struggles to better yourself.
[Cole] That’s absolutely correct. These songs all amount to, like, the shit that created who I am, and how not just me, but fore veryone, dealing with these things leads to a stronger foundation. Like, we have a song where Chris and I kinda collaborated on it cause he had some shit to say and I think his part’s more popular now. [Laughs]
Word! I had no idea, that’s actually awesome. Alright, I have three more questions for you guys so we can wrap this up. Cole, first question is for you and it comes from Hunter Osborne, sorta.
[Cole]: Oh god dammit.
Where did this meme of you and the vocalist of Peacekeepers having beef come from?
[Cole]: So it’s funny. I’m the vocalist of Peacekeepers, which is a shitty metalcore band for fans of bad Acacia Strain covers. But, it started out as my roommate one day posting “I hear the vocalist of Neglected is talking shit about the vocalist of Peacekeepers” which is the same person, you know, me. And it came back around to me because both bands were on the same bill for a show one day, and like several people are coming up to me like “Yo, are you about to fight this dude? Like who does this dude think he is? You have a huge crew behind you.” And I was just like “Well I’m pretty sure he has a firm crew behind him, too.” It became so out of hand and over-the-top funny that it’s a long standing joke.
What is the long term goal for this band?
[Cole]: Getting Ferraris.
[Dave]: We never started this band with a goal for like, play this tour and write this song, you know? We just wanna get this out there.
[Cole]: We surprisingly have an out of state demand, we’re about to play a Suicide Awareness show.
Alright, last question- what do you have to say to anyone reading?
[Cole]: Start a fucking band. Push out toxic people and make it inclusive.
[Chris]: Tour. If you’re a photographer, can sell shit, whatever. If you have the drive, start a fucking band and don’t quit when shit gets hard.
[Nickk]: Fuck a job, tour.
[Anthony]: Fuck with Fondue.
Alright guys, thank you so much for your time, I think that about does it!
REVIEW: SIGNIFICANCE OF PAIN
Life is not easy. Anyone who says it is is either lying to you or has been so privileged in life that they’ve never struggled. They’ve never wanted for anything. They’ve never been left out to dry. On the reverse of that coin is the painful truth: Life is suffering. Nobody is there to pull you up but yourself, nobody is truly there at the end except for you. All of these has been put into sonic form, the debut ep from Greensboro NC’s hardcore heavyweight Neglected, perfectly titled Significance of Pain.
When we look at ourselves objectively, we all feel one emotion universally: anger. Whether it be at ourselves, our families, our friends, or the world at large, we are a bitter, broken down species of bipedal animals and we instinctively seek destruction and inflict pain to anyone we feel poses a threat. But what happens when you’re too tired to fight back? Do we keep pushing on, hoping we can overcome? Or do we give in and let our faults consume us?
Sometimes, both manifest. This is made starkly clear by the absolutely precise and punchy drumming courtesy of Nickk Stuart. Whether it’s his flashy and fleet feet on tracks like “Fairweather” and “Bitter Pill” or his to-the-point slamming and bashing kick drums on “Mother”, Stuart makes it clear that he’s here to cave your skull in. Never one to let the tension dissipate, Stuart’s performance across all six tracks is nothing short of perfectly executed. Adding to the depth and weight of Stuat’s barbarism is bassist and occasional vocalist Chris McNeil. The perfect balance to the mammoth drumming, McNeil comes to the forefront of the fold with a bass tone thick enough to shatter diamonds into dust, perfectly slithering underneath the mix to provide absolute hatred and bitterness with each slap of the strings. Where Stuart smashes, McNeil burns, creating an absurdly precise two-pronged approach to all consuming sonic rage. Whether it’s his destructively slow grooves on “Neglect” or his no-bullshit approach on songs like the title track and “Mother”, McNeil doesn’t let up for even a second.
You’ve lashed out at everyone. You’ve broken bones, shattered spirits, stolen hope from yourself and others. But you’re still not satisfied.
Bringing your self-loathing from the emotional realm to the audible, guitarists Anthony Council and Dave Lavey are the ying to Stuart and McNeil’s yang. While the latter are terrifying in their own right, Council and Lavey are the bullet in the chamber. Opening the EP with skin-tingling aggression and letting loose with an audio assault that would frighten the most hardened of pit warriors, these two masters of the metallic mosh lacerate and shred their way through all six tracks with ease, as if they were a white-hot blade slicing through paper skin. Tracks like “Bitter Pill” show off their dynamic perfectly, with Council laying down the concrete foundation that Lavey shreds his way through. Something refreshing of note on this ep is the pair’s use of solos. Keeping a hardcore base while adding flavors of thrash and death metal, Council and Lavey are modern guitar heroes, lending their brand of red-hot shredding and slamming to the rest of the band, building a murderous cacophony of hatred, rage, anguish, and torment, only to slam the musical monoloth upon your skull. Standout tracks for the duo are “Bitter Pill” and lead single “Fairweather”.
You’ve done everything you can to try and make yourself feel normal again. Pills don’t work, booze worsens everything, and therapy is a sick joke to you at this point. Nothing helps anymore.
Enter Cole Hudson. While the rest of the band does impossibly well on the EP, everything is brought to a sharp, deadly point by vocalist Cole Hudson. Letting loose with a range of shouting, bellowing, barking, and clenched teeth goodness, Hudson wonderfully demonstrates what being a vocalist is all about: passion, emotion, and honesty. Throughout the ep’s running time, Hudson delivers some of the most pained, angered vocals hardcore has been graced with in years. Sitting somewhere firmly between Bryan Garris and Scott Vogel, Hudson takes a unique approach to his vocal style by adding a layer of clarity and annunciation most would turn their heads at. Whether it’s tracks like “Mother” where Hudson directs his rage at a single target, or “Bitter Pill” which sees that hatred directed at the world at large, Hudson is no stranger to aggression and vocal abuse. Not once is there a moment of melodious singing or contrived one-liners, rather his effort across the board shines through, each track angrier than the rest. Naysayers be damned, Hudson performs with a vitriol unseen since the earliest days of the genre. Hold on to your butts, because Hudson is coming for your skull.
Significance of Pain is truly a perfect debut. Held back only by occasionally tired riffs and cliched ideas, the band comes through with a solid, satisfying, and empowering slab of metallic hardcore that would make the entirety of the 90’s proud. Do yourself a favor, listen to it right now.
FFO: Terror, Casey Jones, Call to Preserve