Greetings once more, friends and readers. Three months in and this little column is still around and kicking; this is a pretty cool accomplishment for me. Normally my impulsive ideas lose steam by now, but I have to admit that reconnecting more fully and seriously with screamo has been a really positive experience for me. After spending quite a few years with extreme metal being the center of my listening habits, this column feels like a return home, and I’m having a great time re-immersing myself in a genre that has always been a favorite of mine. Hopefully you all are enjoying listening to me wax poetic as much as I am enjoying waxing it. Without further ado, I’ve got three more albums to cover for you this time around, all from the month of October, so off we go…
Chivála/Suirami – Split
I will admit my own shortcomings here: my knowledge of Italian screamo begins and ends with a few Øjne songs. Thankfully, I received the new split from Chivála and Suirami to remind me of exactly what I was missing out on. Chivála kicks the split off with two songs of fuzzy, muscular music that burns with aggression and passion, recalling for me some of the greats of the late nineties/early two-thousands era of post-hardcore. Suirami’s side offers something almost completely the opposite in sound by contrast, featuring more expansive and less heavy instrumentation and clean vocals sung in a style that makes me think of pop-punk bands like Millencollin and Pennywise. On paper, I don’t know that I would imagine these two bands being good bedfellows, but the contrast between these two seemingly disjointed styles works to highlight the things each band does well; Chivála’s heavy riffs and ardent fervor, and Suirami’s softer and more emotive atmosphere. This split is an intriguing listen, and especially for someone unfamiliar with what Italy brings to the punk music table, and a great lexicon for the diversity found within this scene.
Ghost Spirit – Hourglass
Next up, we have a local pick for me by way of Los Angeles’ Ghost Spirit and their new album Hourglass. Far from an easy listen, Hourglass is chaotic and constantly shifting, featuring wonderfully frantic drumming, pained vocals, and a production style that bolsters the feeling that these songs are going to crumble apart at any moment (in the best way possible). Making use of everything from powerviolence-style grind on “Maybe Someday, Maybe Never,” to the early-aughts style panic chords that peek out of the chaos of opener “A Riddle, No Answer,” to the catchy goth-tinged anthem that is “Desire Lies” Ghost Spirit cover a whole lot of ground on such a short release, and the result is, like the sonic quality of Hourglass, a little disjointed, seemingly in danger of falling apart at any minute, yet held together with grit and passion. This album was a grower for me, but with multiple listens allowing its nuances to become more apparent, I’m glad I gave it that time to work its way under my skin.
Friolento – Destroy All Bad Luck
Friolento’s Destroy All Bad Luck was released in its earliest form in March as a digital edition from the band’s bandcamp page (linked below) but recently had a tape edition put out by British Columbia’s Emocat Records, which is what landed the record on my radar, and I’m extremely thankful for that. Far less immediate than the other releases covered here, Destroy is an album content to steep itself in ambiance, utilizing noise and instrument drone to weave darkness like a blanket, which only makes the moments when the album pops (“Ave Negra,” “Hyperborea”) hit that much harder. The whole thing feels less like an album and more like a journey, with the ebb and flow of the songs wrapping you up in the lyrical narrative of the album and taking you on a tense and cathartic ride.
Until next time,