Post-hardcore band evades genre stereotypes

Disclaimer: You’ve heard this before.

There are two extremes that are prevalent in today’s so-called rock scene, two genres that find themselves across from each other in a boxing ring, with teeth barred and fists clenched, ready to clash at any time.

In the blue corner stands the love child of a 16-year-old girl’s diary and numerous half-assed attempts at musical complexity. The type of genre that could only be born in the presence of an underused Squire Stratocaster, a cheesy combination of dress shirts and girl’s jeans and a faux-hawk: emo/punk!

The constantly redundant genre seems to change guises, but never musical styles. Their messiah seems to have transcended lately, from Fall Out Boy to Panic! At The Disco, but at the end of the day it’s still the same rehashed hyperbole and sarcasm being stuffed down America’s throat.

Disclaimer: This article is NOT about one of those bands.

Now, in the red corner, hailing from the darkest, most honest parts of the human psyche, sporting a two-fisted sound full of raucous guitar breakdowns and messy sporadic bass lines: screamo/post-hardcore!

This equally redundant genre loves to mix harmony and discord by synchronizing haunting, at times pre-pubescent, vocals with guttural screaming that’s sure to make your throat bleed (and probably some other vital organs if you foolishly decide to dance at one of their shows).

If the sarcasm-infested paragraphs above didn’t let you know by now, I’m not a huge fan of either of these genres. But, I do make exceptions. Some bands, despite their almost overbearing reliance on imitating the bands they idolized growing up, can pull off these genres very well. Some bands can make them work.

Enter Veda Skyes.

This South Jersey post-hardcore band uses all the elements at its genre’s disposal to make loud, rage-driven music that will appease a majority of fans who enjoy a blend of post-hardcore and experimental sounds.

Fans of bands such as Planes Mistaken for Stars, Bleeding Through and Ismada will find themselves throwing spin kicks and screaming along once the melodic psychosis that is Veda Skyes reaches their ears.

Veda earns the experimental moniker by employing a synthesizer and some vaguely techno/trans/house implements in its music.

One of the band’s older songs, “Love Letters Burn like Bonfires,” sports an outro with a techno beat, which if given time to develop, could evolve into the sort of thing you hear at a club.

The synthesizer worms its way into the band’s other songs here and there, but it does so in a subtle fashion, loud enough so your ears pick it up, but soft enough that it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the music.

Veda got its start in 2004 when ex-members of former rival bands The Prostitutes and The Fallen abandoned the street and horror punk genres and moved onto the rapidly expanding hardcore scene.

Veda is a five-piece band comprised of Ian Clark (lead vocals), Andy McConathey (guitar), Patrick O’Hare (guitar/vocals), Keith Sickler (bass/vocals) and Eric McConathey (drums).

While Clark and Sickler use their diaphragms in tandem to scream the lights out of each and every venue they play at, O’Hare employs his above-average vocal range to add a melody and passion to the songs that most straight-up hardcore bands lack.

Sure, Veda Skyes reverted back to the staples of its genre from time to time. The band’s two EP’s (“Between The Silk and Cyanide” and “Veda Skyes”) contain ridiculously titled songs such as “Screams are the Passions of Feelings Overlooked” and “Come Strapped for War.” The lyrics to these songs are just as raw as Clark’s howls.

The band counteracts this with a lyrically mature, ironic slap in the face to its musical roots with the track “Punk Was So Two Years Ago.” The band also shows a softer side with an acoustic version of the song “Hargraves.”

Veda Skyes is a band on the rise, and has been ranked numerous times at the top of’s unsigned band rankings.

The band has played shows nearly everywhere in New Jersey and has developed a cult following in my native Staten Island. Recently, it was selected to play WTSR’s second annual Battle of the Bands at The Rathskeller on March 25.

It also took first place in the Bamboozle Battle of the Bands, and is competing for a spot on the 2006 Vans Warped Tour.

Disclaimer: Many post-hardcore bands get caught up in themselves and find themselves screaming until they are blue in the face, failing to go anywhere but down.

Disclaimer: Veda Skyes does not.