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Like many ex-punks in their 30s, I would like to go to an Avail show, but I have this thing with my knee. I therefore welcome post-hardcore, which takes the sonic elements of hardcore and arranges them in a structure that does not require me to jump over a 19-year-old who has just fallen on a pint glass. Pile is an exemplar of the form. All the familiar sounds are there: heavy guitar, flat vocals and a dry, trebly production that makes it sound like all the instruments were recorded within four feet of one another. It's just not so damned fast.

The transition to "post" requires some sacrifices, as it always does. The whole point of post-hardcore is to escape the rigid chorus-verse-chorus-breakdown-chorus structure of the original genre, and Pile sometimes unpacks this formula to formlessness. Certain tracks can only be described as lumbering. When these Bostonians discipline themselves, however, they remind us that the only two real components of hardcore are loud and louder. Pile is painting in black and white, with the appropriate sense of nostalgia for scenes that are no more, at least for the elderly among us.

Pile, Fat History Month, St. Elias and Missoula's Boys play the VFW Sun., March 31, at 10 PM. $5.

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