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“World Pain” – Florida hardcore punks WALLED CITY discuss gun culture, fascism, and consumerism

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WALLED CITY by Greg Kapustiak
WALLED CITY by Greg Kapustiak

After making waves with two self-released EPs, St. Petersburg, Florida’s own WALLED CITY have dropped their debut LP, “World Pain,” on their own Post Reality. The band is ready to hit harder with a full-length album, a 10-song banger that dives deep into heavy themes like American gun culture, creeping fascism, wasteful consumerism, and personal tales of loss and grief.

WALLED CITY’s sound is a killer mix of hardcore and d-beat punk, infused with melodic touches.

They pull inspiration from guitar-driven ‘70s rock and Japanese Burning Spirits hardcore, creating a unique blend that hits hard and sticks with you.

The album features relentless guest drumming by Ryan Parrish, known for his work with CITY OF CATERPILLAR, IRON REAGAN, and DARKEST HOUR.

This collaboration came about after their original drummer, Tim Ramsland, left to pursue other projects. Parrish stepped in and nailed all the drum tracks in a single day.

Justin Grant, the band’s guitarist, shared, “We’ve been writing music and performing for a couple of years, but recording a full-length LP has always seemed like a distant goal. A lot of the songs from this album were written around the time of the Dream Deprivation EP from 2021 and Crone EP from 2022, so we’re excited to finally put them out into the world.”

WALLED CITY by Andrew Herbranson
WALLED CITY by Andrew Herbranson

Lead vocalist Rachael Sibilia adds, “Art and activism go hand in hand. Creating art helps us transfer our anger and sadness into something that feels a little less futile.”

The album’s title, “World Pain,” is derived from the German word Weltschmerz, expressing the frustration of knowing the world could be a better place.

WALLED CITY by Andrew Herbranson
WALLED CITY by Andrew Herbranson

Justin also highlighted the themes of the album, “A lot of the subject matter of ‘World Pain’ focuses on scary political and social issues that we are increasingly seeing across the U.S. and in Florida in particular. Uncontrolled gun violence, systemic injustice enforced by a militarized police force, a neo-fascist state governor working as hard as possible to punish marginalized groups while our state becomes unlivable for average working folks, a rise in racism and anti-immigrant sentiment, and on and on.”

WALLED CITY by Andrew Herbranson
WALLED CITY by Andrew Herbranson

Recorded by Ryan Boesch at Candor Recording in Tampa, Florida, “World Pain” promises to be an aggressive yet meaningful album, reflecting the band’s frustrations and hopes.

WALLED CITY by Andrew Herbranson
WALLED CITY by Andrew Herbranson

The band sat down with us and shared commentary on selected tracks from the album, diving deeper into their messages and lyrical content.

Plastic World

This song is a bit of a satirical take on American consumerism and the constant need to always buy and have the latest stuff, without regard to what happens to it when the next new thing comes out.

Many people across the world are affected by consumer demand, whether it’s sweatshop workers toiling for pennies so we can buy a $10 t-shirt, or children working in rare earth mines for materials that go into the latest smartphone, or even entire populations suffering from pollution generated on the behalf of companies outsourcing production to countries like China with cheap labor and weak pollution standards.



Gun violence and what to do about it is one of the most divisive issues in American politics. It’s due in large part to the fact that the right to own firearms is included as an amendment in the U.S. Constitution. You know, the document from a quarter of a millenia ago that was made when “firearms” were single-shot muskets and not fully-automatic assault rifles made for modern warfare.

The United States has, by far, more firearms per capita than anywhere else in the world. It’s estimated to be 120 guns per 100 people! There are more guns in the U.S. than there are people.

Critics will point out that gun control laws won’t prevent gun violence from happening, but if you look to countries that have implemented gun control laws, like Australia, the data strongly supports the opposite. I don’t know if legislation is necessarily the answer, but with 1.2 guns available to every one person in the U.S., someone’s going to get shot. We’re tired of hearing about the latest mass shooting. It shouldn’t be routine news.

Rachael: There’s an assumed masculinity and sense of power that comes with toting guns. Somewhere along the line, carrying a gun has become socially equated to being masculine, or a “man’s man.” So when you have 20 guns, that must make you more masculine than someone that has five guns, and even more than someone who has none.

WALLED CITY by Andrew Herbranson
WALLED CITY by Andrew Herbranson

Tread on Me

This is one of the first songs we ever wrote, written during the George Floyd protests in 2020. Many people in the country had become fed up with police brutality and the lack of justice that its victims were afforded, and George Floyd’s death was a boiling point.

For every protester seeking change in American policing, you had a seemingly equal number of right-wing pundits and their followers moving as hard as possible in the other direction, elevating police officers to an ineffable status. Some didn’t even try to hide their glee at protestors being assaulted and arrested, since the protestors belonged to “the other side.”

At a certain point, it becomes clear that some of this police worship is less about respect for the role of police in keeping people safe and more about celebrating the fact that the police can seemingly punish certain segments of the population with impunity. If the police are abusing people that don’t agree with your view of the world and that scare you because they look, speak, and live differently, then the way you react will tell the world who you are.

WALLED CITY by Greg Kapustiak
WALLED CITY by Greg Kapustiak

Proud of Nothing

It’s so weird to think that neo-Nazis feel safe appearing in public now. I can’t remember a time in modern history where you would have groups of white supremacists standing across overpasses hanging Nazi banners and seig heiling to oncoming traffic. It’s unbelievable, but it’s unfortunately not unheard of these days.

More unbelievable is the fact that so many of these losers are young, wannabe intellectuals who have been radicalized by right wing media into thinking that they’re protecting traditional Western values when they’re really just causing all of us to laugh at them.

These “proud Western chauvinists” are trying to drag the U.S. back 150 years: taking away voting and reproductive rights from women, bringing back racial segregation, promoting the asisine concept of racial purity, and forcing religious indoctrination in publicly-funded schools, amongst other things.

It’s worth noting that these Nazis and “Proud Boys” often appear in homemade uniforms, wearing face masks to conceal their identities, and wearing completely prosperous tactical gear to imply that they’re some sort of paramilitary group. It’s pathetic, sure, but these people are completely serious. And they’re becoming less and less afraid of showing themselves in public.

Rachael: The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) has designated Florida under governor Ron DeSantis as an unsafe place for Black and Brown folks, immigrants, women, and LGBTQ+ people to visit. Antisemitism is rampant. Nazis stand outside of Disney World waving swastika flags. There’s a deep-seated hate here.

Trying to convince someone that their overt pride in straightness and whiteness and wealth is causing harm is damn near pointless when those same people have convinced themselves that they are targets of hate themselves. When equity and equality are considered oppressive to the people doing the oppressing, that’s trouble.

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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