A unifying theme for those who grew up in Miami’s tightly knit hardcore scene of the late '80s and early '90s was the abundance of quality bands that churned out releases and filled the calendar with events. It was a wonderful time for hardcore in the Sunshine State, and the world turned its eyes to our city for inspiration.
Bands like Cavity, Bird of Ill Omen, Strongarm, Tension, and many others took the NYC hardcore model and injected it with new twists and tropical energies. Hardcore spread throughout the state and developed into new subgenres like power violence, thug core, and crossover. But then it kind of fell apart. Some people moved away, some moved on — it just petered out.
In the late '90s, a band called Destro was formed, consisting of several people who had played key roles in the scene: Ariel Arro, Julio Marin, and Chip Walbert. The group came to symbolize the new breed of aggro-hardcore that broke away from the thuggish, painfully boring, and slow breakdowns of the New York hardcore school. They stripped themselves of the bullshit and made a good run that ended with a final show on July 18, 2002, at Miami's Kaffe Krystal.
Arro and Marin would go on to form Glasseater, and Walbert went off to be in as many bands as he could possibly get himself into, each one more uncompromising than the last. One of Walbert's bands was All Hell Breaks Loose. Like Destro, it recorded two solid albums, Everyone Loves a Handsome Killer
and a self-titled LP, and earned plenty of fan support both locally and nationally.
Then, on November 26, 2004, drummer Joe Lamadrid was found dead after a performance in Tampa. He was 18 years old. Out of respect for their fallen comrade, All Hell Breaks Loose called it quits.
“Well, we've played a few shows here and there since our ‘last show,’” confesses Walbert. “The last time we played was I think five years ago. After that show, we all kind of agreed that should be it. It was never really a spoken thing, but we all knew. In the middle of February, John McHale from Breakeven Booking messaged me asking if we wanted to play a show. As soon as I saw the text, my first thought was Why?
I don't think anyone would care. His next response was, ‘Ot's with Brethren.’ I told him I would have to speak to everyone, but in my head, I had already said yes."
Brethren was another band that was key in revitalizing Miami’s hardcore scene and has been inactive since 2001.
On January 8, 2005, All Hell’s final show was at the now-defunct Alley in Allapattah. That night, the band experienced some difficulties with the sound system early on in its set. By the time it ripped into its final song, “The Centolella Conspiracy,” the band was completely drowned out by the crowd singing along.
Will that energy exist now after a whole decade has passed? There's only one way to find out.
And for those who might think that the date of the show is a cause for concern, Walbert assures us it's no gag. “That was my first question to John when he asked me. I asked if it was an April Fool’s joke. As soon as the show was announced, I had a bunch of people asking me the same questions. I swear it's for real. As I mentioned earlier, I just wanted to play with Brethren one more time. I would have been at the show regardless, but to be able to play with them again? Definitely.”
All Hell Breaks Loose and Brethren’s Reunion Show with Maldito, the Low Life, and Day by Day. 8 p.m. Friday, April 1, at Churchill’s Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-757-1800; churchillspub.com. Admission costs $12.