If you’re driving down Central Street in downtown Bangor on a weekend night, there’s a good chance you’ll see people hanging around the Central Gallery, and you’ll probably hear loud, angry music blasting from the doors of the tiny art space. Despite having a capacity of 35, maybe 40 people, the Central Gallery has for the past six months become ground zero for the hardcore scene in Bangor. It gets loud. It gets very, very loud.
Among the parade of heavy bands that have made their way in and out of the space this year (They Called Me Legion, Bellyache, Back 2 Reality, Buddusky, Night Life, Corrective Measure, more) there are two bands, from Bangor, that within a month of each other have released new albums: Free To Think and Cupido.
First off, let’s talk about Free To Think, whose “Youth Is Lost” EP came out in late October. Comprised of four twenty-something Bangor High graduates, the band is playing super traditional hardcore, though there’s something hip-hop influenced in Andrew Lohman’s drumming (and Ryan Grindle’s vocals, for that matter), and something more metal influenced in Cody Blier’s guitar playing. “Youth Is Lost” is a demo, and it sounds like it, but you can hear a hungry, explosive, energetic band behind the rough exterior. You have to imagine that a tiny space like the Central Gallery, filled with kids losing their minds to a band like this has got to be pretty exciting.
Then there’s Cupido, which exists on the opposite end of the hardcore spectrum from Free To Think. Instead of being a balled-up fist, Cupido is a slower-burning fire. Their new EP, “Ancient Rhetoric,” technically doesn’t come out until Nov. 29, but it’s one of the most pleasant surprises I’ve heard so far this year. Combining the passionate earnestness of hardcore and emo with a post-rock, post-hardcore kind of guitar expressionism, Cupido don’t exactly sound like either of those things. “Smothered Out,” the second track on the album, is an ambitious, technically precise showcase for all three bandmates (drummer Trevor Taylor, bassist DJ Cox and the excellent guitarist Travis Davis), starting off with a (dare I say it) jammy, melodic theme, before segueing into a much heavier take on that same melodic theme. In fact, all five songs on the EP contain that kind of dynamic range — just as the wave of huge riffs and screaming vocals crests, a quieter, more restrained element moves in to take its place. This is a band to watch.
Free To Think, Corrective Measure, Back 2 Reality and Night Life will play at the Central Gallery starting at 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, admission $5, and Cupido will play an album release party at the Central Gallery with guests Glass Canyon, Knife Worship and They Called Me Legion at 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29; admission $8, which includes CD or download of “Ancient Rhetoric.”