All the Footprints of an Apparition – An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Screamo

Rohit Chaoji writes about some of his favorite screamo releases and why you should start listening to screamo.

I personally really hate the term “screamo” since there is no actual way to make a distinction between bands like Bring Me The Horizon and bands like Orchid or Saetia, without following it with “oh no not THAT screamo, but what screamo was originally meant to be” and then nerding out about music while the other person loses interest in ever speaking to you.

I also hate “skramz”, because it just sounds too silly.

That being said, let’s begin with trying to quickly understand what “screamo” means here and then take a look at a list of albums that a beginner might want to try, if they’re curious to listen to or understand it.

Just like powerviolence and grindcore were logical evolutions to crust and hardcore punk, screamo was not only a logical progression of the “emotional hardcore” scene from DC, United States, but also the twisted child of “post”-hardcore, powerviolence, grindcore and (some) melodic hardcore, all at once. The irony is that one of the most unhinged and wild musical genres consisted of bands that had the sense of humour to call their style something silly throughout the ages – screamo, emoviolence and skramz being among the ridiculous terms humorously coined by the artists and the fans.

This strange, enigmatic and misunderstood genre has some musical gems that anyone into aggressive and dramatic music should like. Here is a list of 5 of them that are rather beginner-friendly.

 1. Envy – All the Footprints You’ve Ever Left And the Fear Expecting Ahead (Temporary Residence Ltd)

These Japanese fellows were my introduction to *chuckle* REAL screamo. Combining melodic, emotional hardcore punk riffs, with very post rock-like build-ups and tension-release dynamics, this album is a rollercoaster from the beginning to the end. The guitars soar and scream with piercing intensity, which is complemented by vocals with a similar quality, which works in the album’s favour. Following this album, I personally think Envy only got worse, as they chose to discard a lot of their hardcore punk aggression in favour of more post-rock noodling.

 

 2. Orchid – Dance Tonight! Revolution Tomorrow! + Chaos is Me (Ebullition)

Orchids is probably the most well-known band that plays this style. Frantic and urgent chord progressions, blasting drums, unconventional song structures with lots of tempo variations and time signature oddities is the name of the game here. Despite this, none of the songs here feel too inaccessible to a listener who might already be familiar with grindcore and powerviolence, with the difference being that this is melodically, harmonically and rhythmically richer, compared to a vast majority of PV and grind bands.

 

 3. Pg.99 – Document #8 (Robotic Empire)

Highly prolific screamo band, with a vast number of recordings under their belt. Although it is difficult to recommend any specific release, Document #8 is a good place to start. Pg.99 understand how to write memorable melodies while keeping the expected hardcore punk ferocity at 11!

4. Saetia – A Retrospective (Secret Voice)

There are often mentions of loud-soft dynamics when talking about post-hardcore and screamo and I truly believe that no band does this better than Saetia (with the exception of maybe Off-Minor). There are some nods to indie rock and post-hardcore from the early 1990s in how those dynamics are displayed on this album. The constant switching between frantically-paced, distorted sections and calmer, cleaner sections is seamless and ties each individual song together.

 

 5. City of Caterpillar – S/T (The Archivist)

If Godspeed You! Black Emperor were a hardcore band, they would be called “City of Caterpillar”. This bunch understands how tension, excitement and drama are created in music and they apply that understanding to hardcore punk. The heavier sections consist of well-written melodic riffs and grating vocal performance, while the softer sections serve as bridges and build-ups within the songs, creating a very varied and dynamic sound that just fits together extremely well. The album is also not very difficult for a beginner to get into, hence its inclusion here.

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A mid year reflection: Jayaprakash Satyamurthy’s best of 2013

With the rest of the (active)writers on board, we’ve decided to put up our own little mid year best-of lists. Hopeful to the fact, that you guys might stumble on something new in the process as well. We had Mohammad Kabeer’s list posted last week, check that if you haven’t already. Today we have our own doomlord Jayaprakash Satyamurthy, talking about his favorite ones.

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1.       Victor Griffin’s In-Graved – S/T ( Review )

I greatly prefer this album to the last Pentagram offering; the best bits on it were Griffin’s solos, anyway. A soulful, heavy and integral collection of excellent tunes by a consummate songwriter and guitar player.

2.       Goatess – S/T ( Review )

What some of the latter-day trad doom bands forget is that their influences always turned in albums that were as diverse as they were definitive. Goatess understands this, and each song has its own character while maintaining a consistent feel. Chritus, of course, is in fine form.

3.       Kongh – Sole Creation ( Review )

Just four songs, but each one is a sprawling epic of heavy, sludgy guitars, mesmerizing, almost post-metallic textures and a great mix of gruff and melodic vocals that don’t sound gimmicky at all.

4.       Primitive Man – Scorn

Abrasive, grimy, downtempo and heavy as heck, the Colorado sludgers’ debut album is one of the finest slabs of dissonant, pissed off riff abuse in a while. A fantastic production job abets songs that emerge and fade in squalls of noise while providing a surprisingly healthy quota of genuine hooks in between.

5.       Endless Boogie – Long Island

This is blues rock the way it’s rarely heard – not an effervescent virtuoso showcase, but a series of strung-out, stoned jams that reverberate with washes of glorious fuzz, oddball storylines and eccentric but very authentically bluesy ritualism.

6.       Abyssal – Novit Enim Dominus Qui Sunt Eius

Imagine a slowed-down Portal. That begins to describe this UK black/doom band’s sluggish, weighty sound. The ambience is nightmarishly oppressive and the structures are more abstract and free-form than on their debut, ‘Denouement’, which only works in favour of the uncanny atmosphere conjured up by this band.

7.       Dark Buddha Rising – Dakhmandal ( Review )

Not an album as much as a ritual, a trance-inducing, terrifying, alluring song-cycle that takes you through a stunning diversity of musical textures. Their best album yet.

8.       Dragonauta – Omega Pentagram

The band with the Sleep-worshipping name delivers a doom/sludge album that doesn’t wear any of the expected influences on its sleeve, choosing instead to revel in some of the most original and distinctive riffs and melodies I’ve head being carved out in this genre in a while.

9.       Fragarak – Crypts of Dissimulation

Intelligent, questing and melodic progressive extreme metal with an introspective bent. One of the best debuts of the year and certainly the best Indian metal release of the year so far.

10.   Reino Ermitano – Veneracion Del Fuego ( Review )

This Peruvian doom band has fallen beneath the radar for me in past years, but this platter of seasoned, immersive music ensures that I’ll pay them a lot more attention henceforth. Dark, mystical music with great tone and songs that stretch out to great effect.

Notable albums:

 Cathedral – The Last Spire

Not their finest hour, but a wonderfully doomy set of songs.

Sacred Gate- Tides Of War

Proof that the battle of Thermopylae and Iron Maiden still have the power to inspire some really good metal music

Blood Ceremony – The Eldritch Dark

Their most assured and original album yet

Hexvesselc – Iron Marsh EP

This EP shows the gains this band has reaped from bringing heavier textures into their musical mix

Timo Tolkk’s Avalon – The Land Of New Hope

Great melodies, dramatic over-the-top vocals and some brilliant soloing make this Tolkki’s best album since the demise of Renaissance Revolution

Anvil – Hope In Hell

A catchy, likable album that underscores the real reason you should listen to this band – their incredible consistency

Krypts – Unending Degradation

Delivers on the promise of their self-titled EP with one of the most idiomatic and well-conceived old school DM sets this year

Asgard – Outworld

Metalheads who swear by Helloween’s ‘Walls Of Jericho’ simply must check out this album by a band that puts the power back in power metal

Abysmal Grief – Feretr

This band occupies the common ground between goth and trad doom, and does a fine job of it

Cauchemar – Tenbrario

The trad doomers take it up a notch or two from their debut EP, delivering a very strong follow-up

Ramlord – Crippled Minds, Sundered Wisdom

Crusty sludge with shades of d-beat and black metal. Another supremely abrasive, scalding album

“after Sound Awake we were even keener to try some different approaches…” – Mark Hosking (Karnivool)

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Despite our ever obvious leaning towards much darker stuff here at Metalspree, some of us here just cannot shirk away our deep appreciation for Karnivool. A band that has let out waves of progression on to the International music scene, let alone in rock/metal. With just a mere 2 albums under their belt, their brand of progressive rock made quick work of carving out new sections of acceptance into every avid fan. That said, we are eagerly their third album titled “Asymmetry” which is to be released on July 19th in Australia, via Density Records. Raj Sharma from our side had a quick chat with guitarist Mark Hosking from Karnivool.

1.Greeting guys, how have you all been ??

Fantastic thank you for asking. Just got back into London, hungry and tired but exhilarated.

2. After a massive gap, you are all ready to release your much awaited third album?? Is it more of a complex record in terms of song structure as being compared to your previous studio materials??

I don’t think so, complexity is something we are always trying to get away from I think, but it sneaks back in there when we aren’t looking sometimes. The album is a duality of sorts, hence the album title.. I think Jon explained it best when he said to reach our destination on this album we had to take large arcs around in a circle to get there this time. Has made for a really interesting album I think

3. Who did most of the lyrical writing for this album, or is it completely taken care by Ian Kenny?? Are there any particular story or concept involved with the new materials??

No we share the lyric writing up quite a bit. Kenny usually gets a melody line over the music then the lyrics come after, and they lyrics usually change quite a bit with differing inputs from people as the songs develop

4. You guys did a re-release of your EP Persona, but you guys also had an self titled EP which almost went unnoticed? Mayn’t be in Australia but definitely went unnoticed across the globe. Have you ever had the idea of going back and re-recording the old songs or an instance of that being as a fan demand to you all?? The re-recorded version of Some more of the same in the Persona EP definitely gets me feeling that damn I don’t have a copy of that self titled Vool EP L

Definitely not! Ha ha.. the old self titled thing is from a time before this band was even this band, it’s a very youthful album full of … potential… he he.. that’s one way to put it.

5.”All I know” was known as Pearogram, why exactly did you guys decide to change it during the release?

This was a working title, we have many many working titles over the course of a songs creation, very strange, odd titles that spring out of the recesses of our minds.. final titles don’t usually come until the song has musically and lyrically become itself.

6. Its been quite a while since you guys posted your DVD teaser online on YouTube, when exactly do you plan to release it?? With the third album around the corner, had you guys planned to release the DVD after the new album??

DVD is coming we promise! It his some delays in the creative process and we got so involved in the completion of album three that it had to take a backstep for a few months.. frustrating for us as well but its definitely coming.. will be released in 2013.

7.  You guys are also playing this year at the Download festival, landing to a more new borders?? How excited are you all??

Very excited! Download is one of those stigma festivals that you hear about and really want to be a part of so its going to be great, so many great festivals its going to be a blast

8. I have noticed that despise you being one of the finest bands inAustralia, with a fanbase spread across the globe, you guys still haven’t had your shot at Australia’s one of the most biggest yearly events ,Soundwave festival?? Any particular reason behind it ??

No real reason, Soundwave are not famous for putting on home grown bands, they prioritize internationals and that’s ok, perhaps next year.. its always a great lineup

9. With your new single “The Refusal” being out there must have already lots of questioning about the mixing/mastering duties on the album?? Can you throw some light on that??

It will all be revealed with the album, but its different as always, we promised to  never do the same album twice, and after Sound Awake we were even keener to try some different approaches to the mixing and studio plans from last time. I have no doubts some will love it, some will hate it.. but as usual we just couldn’t see ourselves doing it any other way

10. You guys have played twice in India, do you have any plans for doing a complete India tour after the new album is released??

We love playing in India, can’t wait to get back there and play some more shows.. as to when and for how long im sorry but you’ll just have to stay tuned on that front!

Unholy Compilations: Candlelight, Deathwish

*crowd chant*   Hail Beelzebub!!!  Hail Beelzebub!! Hail Beelzebub!!

Beelzebub to his acolytes- “Silence you secretly god worshiping heathen scum!!… *silence follows*.. Thats more like it. Now crank up that stereo and let those compilations roll.”

Well here we are with another batch of feel good yet heavy as hell compilations, jam packed with songs of an equally heavy nature. And anything free, is number one on the cards for us Indians.

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1. CANDLELIGHT RECORDS

Ah! Candlelight Records. Ring a bell??  For all you laymen, Candlelight Records is the same international label who’s got our own Demonic Resurrection on their roster. Now to all those who are hungry to gorge on some blissfully brilliant new music, well here is their brand new Winter sampler. But be advised that what you’ve got here is slow marauding music, more in line with the cold and harsh winter climate, which yes, calls for more on the black metal side. They’ve got some real great bands on here and probably those that might have escaped your poor obsolete metal radar. Cheggem below!

 

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2. DEATHWISH INC.

Deathwish Inc, who have risen among the ranks to become one of the premier labels supporting the hardcore punk scene have come up with a massive 27 song compilation. Given that hardcore/punk/grind songs are known for their short song lengths, it still does run for an hour and a half. For people who have no idea who or what Deathwish Inc are, well folks this is Jacob Bannon’s label. And i hope you know the fact that Jacob Bannon  does vocals for Converge.

“Bands in order of appearance: Touche Amore, AC4 (unreleased), Blacklisted, Loma Prieta (unreleased), Code Orange Kids, Heiress, Birds In Row, Narrows, Gaza, Oathbreaker, Converge, Hesitation Wounds, Punch, Living Eyes, Mindset, Vigilante, New Lows, The Mongoloids (unreleased), Palm, Whips/Chains, Single Mothers, Stomach Earth (unreleased), Deafheaven, Cold Cave (unreleased), Self Defense Family, and Dad Punchers.”

DOWNLOAD from any of the following links:

Download from Mediafire
Download from Sendspace
Download from Yousendit
Download from Deathwish