The Philadelphia, PA quintet—Travis Tabron [vocals], Mitchell Rogers [guitar], James Hohenwarter [guitar], Sean Rauchut [drums], and Mike Foley [bass]—augment an airtight assault of metallic unpredictability and hardcore spirit with poetic punchlines and lyrical storytelling that wouldn’t be out of place on a Kendrick Lamar verse. Maybe it’s the water in Philadelphia, but the same gritty streets that inspired everyone from Rocky Balboa to Meek Mill powered these five musicians. The group’s debut Absolution EP yielded a string of fan favorites such as “Deadweather” and “Stigmata,” which both cracked 100K Spotify streams. They released the Absolution split EP with Vicious Embrace in 2016 and earned acclaim from Alternative Press, Revolver, Punktastic, and more. Varials approach heavy music from a different angle altogether on their full-length debut, Pain Again [Fearless Records]. This mindset expands the possibilities of “heavy” throughout 11 brash, bruising, and brilliant anthems, with the band taking a collective step forward. They collated ideas for what became Pain Again before entering the studio with producer Josh Schroeder [King 810] during early 2017. Booked for six weeks, they tracked everything in under two with Travis often impressively writing lyrics in the booth and on the spot. Ultimately, Varials tell the story in their own way, and it’s bound to make a big impact.