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Musicians will often refer to a band as a marriage full of all the change and pain that helps the "relationship" grow. That's certainly been the story of the past year for Skungk.

A band previously recognized for its aggressive hardcore sound has undergone some changes and is re-emerging with a new lineup (singer Matt Ayers, guitarist Pete Samulski, drummer Dan Nelligan, bassist Steve Crowl and DJ "Muff" on the turntables) and a bright new hip-hop metal sound that still retains the previous "hard and crushing" feel.

"We wanted to change our sound and not have so much screaming and in-your-face yelling. Now we have more rapping and less screaming," Ayers said. Speaking with the maturity that evolves from experience, he adds the musicians realized they were "turning off more people by screaming than we turned on."

"A lot of kids like it, but many more people get turned off by it," Ayers said. The change to rap-styled vocals also benefits Muff's DJ talents, Ayers said. "The hip-hop allows more room for our DJ to do what he does best."

The new style has naturally led to the creation of radio-friendly songs that appeal to a larger audience. The songwriting has become less hindered, occurs much faster and is more fun even though the songs deal with the same socially conscious topics: high school violence, religion, politics and reproduction rights, among many.

"I know people write songs about ex-girlfriends, but I like to write about things all people can relate to," Ayers said.

Skungk recently recorded a demo with new songs: "In Threez," "Blue in Tha Face" and "Headspin." And when Skungk performs Saturday in the Continental, expect to hear a full set of the new tunes. The group has already unveiled this new sound on audiences at Edgefest and outside of the area in cities including Erie, Pa., where, Ayers said, the band was pleased with the response.

"We were very unsure of how people would react. We didn't know if they would like it as much. But they did," he said.


WHO: Skungk with Hollowpoint and Gargantua

WHEN: 10:30 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: The Continental, 212 Franklin St.

ADMISSION: $5 (18 and over)

INFO: 855-3938


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