When someone says “post-hardcore” in 2012, they mean “bands who try to sound like Saosin”: Pierce The Veil, The Color Morale, etc. It’s a bit of a misnomer because nobody in those bands has ever had anything to do with hardcore. But back in the 90s things, were a bit different. Most post-hardcore was also derivative garbage back then (“bands who tried to sound like Quicksand”), but the people in the bands actually came from the hardcore scene. My favorite of the 90s post-hardcore bands was the short-lived, tragically underrated HANDSOME.
This was their “big single,” where that is defined as “got played on 120 Minutes once or twice”
I guess you could call them something of a 90s hardcore “supergroup,” with Jeremy from Iceburn singing, Peter from Helmet and Tom from Quicksand/Bold on guitar and Petey Hines from Cro-Mags/Murphy’s Law on drums. I’m not sure why, but they only lasted about two years before breaking up. During that period they put out an album and a 7″, both of which are pretty much the pinnacle of the 90s post-hardcore sound IMO. Many bands attempted this style, but nobody did it better than HANDSOME.
The drumming on this record is on fucking point; Petey Hines is an animal. DAT FILL AT 1:35 MY GOD SO GOOD.
In a nut shell, I’d describe their sound as Quicksand meets Helmet, but with a little more dissonant heaviness than either band. And while most of the 90s post-hardcore bands were hit-or-miss, mixing flashes of brilliance with boring/embarrassing filler, this album is solid as fuck from beginning to end– most likely a product of the major-label recording budget and 10+ years of experience that all these guys had playing in touring bands before Handsome. And speaking of budget, I think this album sounds fucking amazing. If you have a decent system in your whip or whatever, crank this shit; it’s fucking massive. The drum sound in particular is one of the best ever- the snare sound makes my boner throb every single time.
This might be the perfection of the 90s post-hardcore sound: heavy, with a clear foundation in hardcore mosh groove, but melodic and progressive at the same time. Probably my favorite Handsome song.
I’m pretty stoked that I actually got a chance to see Handsome live in the summer of 1997. It was one of the strangest lineups I can think of: they opened for Guttermouth and Descendents at like 4PM on an outdoor stage with a riverboat behind them (the same stage where the photos for Integrity “Humanity Is The Devil” were taken). I’ve been to a zillion hardcore and death metal shows and seen a ton of “brutal” bands, and I can say that without a doubt Handsome had the heaviest fucking live sound I have ever witnessed (Life of Agony being a close second). The guitar sound alone made me feel like my head was in a vice.
Do u remember HANDSOME??? Has anyone ever recorded a bigger guitar sound than this album?? Is Petey Hines the most underrated drummer of the 90s????? Will kids please start jocking this band instead of fucking Lifetime?