Hardcore can often be a solitary journey. Growing up in Ireland, many of us having discovered this form of music for the first time as children or young teenagers probably thought that we had tapped into the world’s best kept secret. Often failing to find peers our own age that would understand or were even excited by this niche chaos, it became personal and became “ours”.  Being from a rural village outside Drogheda in Louth, I spent most of my time as a young teenager researching and listening to hardcore bands from the US and UK online. This obsession became something that I would latch onto well into my twenties and love dearly to this day. But at fifteen, I believed that I might have been the only person in Ireland listening to this stuff. At least this is how it felt growing up outside the major cities of Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast. Pockets of local scenes existed throughout the country; Ballina, Sligo/Leitrim and New Ross were noteworthy examples. For the most part however, it was difficult to find out anymore than what was available online if you weren’t apart of the bigger picture.

As we grow, our circles expand, many of us move out, go to college and find close friends with similar interests. This is usually the path that led many of us into the underground scenes that we discovered in our twenties and were the initial places that we would contribute artistically to something larger than ourselves. These days, given the current state of the world, it’s harder to do that. This has not stopped Cian Sweeney, a 19 year old NUIG student from Carlow. Going one step further than a lot of us might have, Cian has not let the on-going weirdness that we all now live in get in the way of creating music. At the moment he’s stuck in Carlow and attends University online but has just dropped a demo on bandcamp of premium bedroom hardcore under the moniker: ‘Poser’.

Appearing in the opening weeks of 2021, the two short tracks on the Poser demo do instantly what other bands need an entire album to do. Both tunes have an immense weight to them, being hefty in sound, alternating from high speed to mid-tempo. The guitar playing is melodic, the bass and drums are tight while the vocals reflect a real sense anger and urgency. Cian exhibits a plethora of influences through the medium of Poser. Where the speed and abruptness of Let Down might feel like something composed by Ceremony in the early 2000s, the bouncy breakdowns coupled with backing gang-vocals of Superficial Superman is reminiscent of late 80s and early 90s NYHC. Throughout the three minutes it takes for this storm of ferocity to leave the room, it’s easy to forget that this is a one-man project.  In the same vein as bands like Raspberry Bulbs and Dead Dogs before him, through Poser Cian has taken hardcore punk to a personal level and has created something unfiltered, pure and truly something he can claim his own. Keep an eye on Poser; something special is happening here.

Mark Louth

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