Tag Archives: Dillinger Escape Plan

A Brief History of Mathcore In Ten Albums


Rolo Tomassi

If post-hardcore’s experimentation was an artistic rebellion to its predecessor’s rigidness and ultraviolence, then mathcore was the same mutiny taken one step further. Bands pushed the limits of both heaviness and virtuosity, injecting stronger influences from metal, fusion jazz, and—obviously—math rock. Crowds also brought back the chaotic violence, with swirling mosh pits and daredevil stage dives, mirroring the music’s intensity.

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Psychedelic Death Metal Outfit John Frum Wants to Open a Portal Between Two Worlds

John Frum

Photo by Kristie Krause.

If subjects like collective consciousness, emerging paradigms, and the birthing of new universes seem like unorthodox inspirations for death metal, the quartet John Frum sounds right at home on its debut album, A Stirring in the Noos. The brainchild of longtime Dillinger Escape Plan bassist Liam Wilson, the band derives its name from what surely must be one of the most bizarre known encounters between two cultures. Although guitarist Matt Hollenberg initially began workshopping new material with drummer Eli Litwin in 2011, John Frum was essentially conceived, of all places, at the 2013 edition of Burning Man, where Wilson came across the concept anthropologists refer to as cargo cults.

A brief primer: When American military forces flooded into the South Pacific during WWII, the indigenous island peoples, making contact with a modernized society for the first time, responded to the material goods their visitors brought with them as if they had been created by magic. At the end of the war, when the Americans left the region and the influx of vehicles, appliances, and canned food came to an abrupt halt, islanders built makeshift airstrips in an attempt to entice the pilots carrying cargo to come back. Today, the inhabitants of Tanna, an island in the Melanesian nation of Vanuatu, still hold an annual ceremony in honor of John Frum, the army-uniformed deity whose return they patiently await.

John Frum

“The whole John Frum thing really spoke to me,” Wilson explains. “In music, I’m as drawn to something like a Mercyful Fate as I am to, say, a 16 Horsepower. I find the whole theological play in art fascinating no matter what side of the fence it’s on. We were also looking for a band name at that time. As I think any creative-minded person knows, once you kind of open up your radio waves to the thing you’re trying to find, things start to pop out at you.”

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