Post-hardcore collective The Sound of Animals Fighting rolled through Webster Hall this past Saturday, January 21st, for the penultimate show on their 2023 winter tour. The tour comes fresh off the release of their new EP, and first new music in 15 years, Apeshit. These shows mark the band’s only fourth ever tour, but the hardcore supergroup were in fine form Saturday night as the eight-piece collective constantly shifted roles and personnel throughout the night.
The Sound of Animals Fighting have always existed behind shroud and mystery, famously doing their original press photos wearing animal masks and only identifying the band members via their animal monikers. While the core lineup has not been a mystery in a long time, the band has a new permutation of their rotating personnel for this era. Vocalist Anthony Green (Circa Survive, Saosin, L.S. Dunes) anchors the band with his soaring, melodic vocal style backed by RX Bandits members Rich Balling, Matt Embree, Steve Choi, and Chris Tsagakis. Rounding out the Apeshit lineup is Keith Goodwin (Days Away, Good Old War), Matthew Kelly (The Autumns), and Jonathan Hischke.
On Apeshit, The Sound of Animals Fighting dial back the atmosphere and cinematic elements of their style in favor of more straight forward and in-your-face post hardcore. Standout track “Sharon Tate, Despite Everything” comes in waves; Rich Balling drones over a dark and melodic instrumental with sporadic drumming then Anthony Green barges in screaming out a long “Sharon Tate…” as the song takes on a more formal post-hardcore progression. The two sections blend together as the song progresses, creating one of the most interesting songs in the genre in some time. The title track kicks off the EP with a relentless hardcore presentation and technical, near math rock guitar and rhythm sections. Things slow down a bit on “Wolf”, with swirling and distorted synths backed by electronic drum kicks before the EP closes with “Duche Das”, most reminiscent of the interludes on 2007’s Tiger and The Duke.
With the tour over, and the EP released, the future is uncertain for The Sound of Animals Fighting. The band has only toured four times since their debut in 2005 and all of their members are active in many other projects. Anthony Green himself has seen a resurgence in recent years, forming new band L.S. Dunes (who are fresh off a debut LP and tour) and remaining active in Saosin. While Circa Survive is currently on hiatus, you never know what Green will embark on next.
The passion and cohesiveness of The Sound of Animals Fighting was top tier at Webster Hall this past weekend. The band performs as if they have been on regular tour for 15 years and the energy and engagement with the crowd was palpable. While we wait and see what the future holds, we can rest assured that we just witnessed one of the best post-hardcore tours in recent memory. Check out the full photo gallery from Webster Hall below.
The Sound of Animals Fighting, Webster Hall 1/21/2023
Setlist: Wolf, Apeshit, I, The Swan, Act I: Chasing Suns, Act II: All Is Ash or the Light Shining Through It, This Heat, My Horse Must Lose, Another Leather Lung, Blessings Be Yours Mister V, On The Occasion of Wet Snow, The Heretic, Act III: Modulate Back To The Tonic, Act IV: You Don’t Need A Witness
Encore: The Heraldic Beak Of The Manufacturer’s Medallion, Skullflower, Stockhausen, es ist Ihr Gehrin das ich suche, Sharon Tate, Despite Everything