Hardcore, metal, and punk bands unite for Shut It Down: Benefit for the Movement for Black Lives | Music Review | Chicago Reader

Hardcore, metal, and punk bands unite for Shut It Down: Benefit for the Movement for Black Lives 

click to enlarge The cover of the new compilation Shut it Down.

The cover of the new compilation Shut it Down.

Courtesy the Artist

When Racetraitor formed in Chicago in the mid-90s, their uncompromisingly antiracist politics weren’t always warmly received in the hardcore scene, but after their breakup in 1999 their influence continued to spread (especially once drummer Andy Hurley joined occasional Racetraitor bassist Pete Wentz in Fall Out Boy in 2003). More than a decade later, the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement surrounding the Ferguson uprising and the white surpremacist agenda fueling Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign inspired Racetraitor to reunite to help combat the hate. To that end, front man Mani Mostofi (who also works as a human rights lawyer in New York) has assembled Shut It Down: Benefit for the Movement for Black Lives, a sprawling compilation of metal, hardcore, punk, and noise benefiting the Movement for Black Lives—a coalition of more than 50 Black organizations working together to catalyze structural, cultural, and political improvements for Black communities in the United States. Mostafi says that more artists than he could’ve anticipated were eager to participate in the Bandcamp-only release, which includes a whopping 46 tracks. Along with Racetraitor, the compilation features plenty of hardcore bands who have mixed their interest in music with local grassroots activism, including St. Louis’s Redbait, Baltimore’s War on Women, San Antonio’s Amygdala, and Chicago’s La Armada. Among the metal bands are established heavyweights Sunn O))), Rwake (who contributed their first new track in nine years, “Infinice”), and Primitive Man as well as rising names Dawn Ray’d and Vile Creature. Chicago black-metal rattlers of the alt-right cage Neckbeard Deathcamp also make an appearance with “MAGAphobe,” with Hurley as a special guest. The mix of sounds provides vast rewards and surprises, especially if you put the album on shuffle. I keep coming back to the majestic metal angles of “Gaida Taskar Chutkeli” by Nepali grindcore band Chepang, the blistering punk of “Welfare” by Afro-Brazilian New York group Maafa (their name, which means “catastrophe” in Swahili, also refers to the African slave trade, and their vocalist, Flora Lucini, gave Shut It Down its title), the uncharacteristically atmospheric “Screen Door” by Michigan grindpunk band Cloud Rat, and the beautiful cover of “Kerosene” (the Bad Religion song, not the Big Black one) by New Orleans doom-metal group Thou.   v

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