Cleveland will always be an industrial city. No matter what the future holds, this legacy is part of its DNA, and the image of a wasted landscape polluted with ore is the postcard from Northeast Ohio no one wants to send.
Enter Pillärs, the crust-punk-metal outfit that calls Cleveland home. There’s not much pretty about what they do, but there is power and grit and fury. This is a band that embraces Levis and battle vests and that has no patience for putting on airs.
“What we go for when Pillärs performs is simple: to express a particular creative vision, at extreme volume, and use whatever tools we have at our disposal to share that with as many people as possible,” says singer-guitarist Zach Germaniuk. The band performs on Saturday at the Grog Shop.
It’s hard to distinguish yourself in today’s world of metal, which is unexpectedly fashionable and therefore littered with bands who pose. What sets apart Pillärs is that its members stay honest and humble and exhibit an obvious dedication to craft.
“Cleveland is a wild place for music of all kinds, and Pillärs is somewhere in the middle of all that," says Germaniuk. "'Untamed' might be a better description, and the closer to street level you get, the better it gets. There is an incredible, incredible body of musicians and music supporters active in this city and not just in the stereotypical formats.”
In 2019, the band released a brain-melting split EP with Wallcreeper. (Standout track “100 Knives” is a pure ripper.) This followed 2018’s “Abandoned.” Pillärs will soon release another full-length titled Failed State.
“We know COVID has destroyed lives and livelihoods, and then last summer hit. We found ourselves not only wrestling with COVID but also with the undeniable culmination of where the last four years had brought us. So we sat at the practice space and at our houses, and we just wrote and wrote and wrote,” says Germaniuk. “On this upcoming record in particular but really all throughout the band's history, the goal has always been to try and reach out to people who are struggling to find community with the weight of how serious things have become and to support other people and creative endeavors around this region that share that spirit.”
Germaniuk, drummer Chadd Beverlin and bassist Louis Knight have their priorities right: Keep the blade sharp, swing with precision and let the cuts fall where they may.
“The feeling of those amps cranked to max output again, bashing out those riffs and drums, screaming those lyrics — even if it is just screaming at a wall — it feels good to do that again,” says Germaniuk.
Pillärs/Rebreather/Brain Cave, 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28, Grog Shop, 2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights. Tickets: $8 advance, $10 day of show.
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