Fighting the good fight: Asheboro band explores rap to the core

by Ryan Snyder

Fighting the good fight: Asheboro band explores rap to the core

Here’s an analogy that won’t be found on the Graduate Review Exam: As rap rock is to Limp Bizkit, rapcore is to [blank]. Pretend there are multiple choices to follow, with the correct answer being heavyweight hardcore band Rage Against the Machine, and you will have the predominant influence behind one Asheboro band determined to help resuscitate the genre from a years-long blackout. Fight for a Pacifist understands perfectly the unenthusiastic response that the permutation of rap and just about any other musical style might elicit from a discerning listening public. If the Grand Poobah of Douchebags Fred Durst and the legion of red-capped, chin-strapped clones that he spawned weren’t more than enough to induce uncontrollable spasms at the mere mention of rap rock, then surely his magnum horrendus Results May Vary turned ended whatever commercial appeal remained.

Yet, the edgier, more emotive aspects that drew so many males ages 15 to 26 to it during the advent of bands like Rage and Biohazard live strong in Fight for a Pacifist, who released their debut EP in May and have their first full-length, Peace Through Aggression, set to release in January. They’re also expecting a DVD, entitled SWET, of their performances throughout the year to arrive shortly before, most notably of which is show from the Somewhere Else Tavern’s 30 th Anniversary night that includes guest spots from rappers Ed E. Ruger and Ty Bru. The album, however, contains a mix of outright hardcore and more conventional hip hop that guitarist Wes Norman believes still has a strong audience constantly in search of new bands to absorb.

“No one’s really doing that genre any more. We’ve only found a few other bands like Bob from DC and a handful of others out toward the coast,” Norman said. “Some people give us junk about it and say that rapcore is dead, but then some really get behind it and say, ‘Yes, that’s the stuff I like to jam to and there really isn’t a lot of it anymore.’” While Norman is also a bit more explicit about his issues with the wreckage in which a few of commercial bands left the music a few years ago, vocalist Chris Stanley views it in a far more pragmatic manner. The goal isn’t to make music that will make them the most money or give them the best image; it’s merely to play the kind of music they love and entertain the fans who also love it.

“I’ve never been the type to try to make anyone’s role in the music industry anything more or less than what they’ve achieved,” Stanley said. “Durst did just as much for rapcore as Rage because he made it something that people heard every day. Even though people might have thought he sold out, he still brought it into the limelight.”

Still, bands like Fight for a Pacifist are still a truly rare animal in the current musical environment. They possess the melodic sensibilities of the acts that came after the rapcore heyday, while eschewing the political posturing of those before in favor of more conventional subject matter. Stanley, who was a clear-cut metalhead before his stepbrother’s hip-hop influences won him over, reserves his lyrical content for his own genuine experience, though that occasional still involves political and religious matters. He keeps them tucked away in his notebook during band jam sessions, looking for the right moment to unleash his words into the band’s next track.

“Our sessions are really just free form and it has to be something we all like. When [Chris] hears something he thinks will flow with it, then he’ll jump in with it,” said Norman. “There’s really no in between. We know when we got something we like.”

Fight for a Pacifist, out of Asheboro, channels Rage Against the Machine and, without apology, Limp Bizkit. (courtesy photo)