Chaos is Me: 2019 Wrap-Up

VSAVSM

So here we are, at the start of a new year and a new decade.  Naturally, this means the first thing I want to do is play catch-up with all the stuff I missed out on covering from last year.  The albums I’ll be talking about below are not from the previous month, as is tradition with this column (and will continue to be the norm).  Instead, these are from all over last year in terms of release date, but are albums that I felt called to bring attention to as one last goodbye to the year prior.  Join me in bidding 2019 farewell by celebrating more of the good it brought in the face of all the bad.

Vi som älskade varandra så mycket – Det onda. Det goda. Det vakra. Det fula.

vsavsm do dg dv df

I’m so mad about this album.  I really, truly thought I had my year-end list done and dusted, and then our own Charles sent me a link to this album in the wee hours of 2020 and suddenly I’m listening to Det onda. Det goda. Det vakra. Det fula. in my bed having a full-on out-of-body experience and I realize I have got to find out where this goes in that list, because this is truly one of the most spectacular albums this past year has given us.  Moving with a similar grace to genre giants envy, Vi som älskade varandra så mycket (in English: We who loved each other so much) deliver an album of post-everything goodness, with the pained melody and frantic energy of screamo filtered through the euphoric crescendo of post-rock to deliver an album covering everything from slow-burn melancholy to the aggression of “Sioux City,” to the gut-wrenching climax of album centerpiece and highlight “Hjärtats förlorade slag.”  The best albums are the ones that make you feel like your chest is caving in while you listen to them and Det onda. Det goda. Det vakra. Det fula. delivers that experience in a monumental way.

State Faults – Clairvoyant

state faults clairvoyant

I thought I wrote about this album here already, but looking back it seems I was mistaken, and this is a mistake I aim to correct, immediately.  Despite their long history as a band, Clairvoyant was my first introduction to Santa Rosa, CA’s State Faults and it was perhaps the perfect first impression to have; Clairvoyant is an urgent and impassioned record, full of breathtaking intensity that puts it up there with the best screamo I heard all year.  “Olive Tree” is one of the songs I’ve leaned on in hard times throughout 2019, and probably will be one I return to often in the future, and the rest of the songs on Clairvoyant display the same kind of airy atmosphere and breakneck instrumentation that is the flame that I, the moth, am consistently drawn to.  And if you think this band is good on record, wait to see them live.  Their show in North Hollywood with fellow NorCal friends Elle was easily one of the best live shows I saw all last year.

Storm{O} – Finis Terrae

storm{O} finis terrae

Lastly, we come to an album I didn’t expect to write about here at all, but one that I decided to give another shot to impress me after seeing it on some year-end lists, and I’m pretty happy I did.  Storm{O} play a style of screamo that is just as impassioned as the previous bands, but much darker in tone, in fine company with other more hardcore-influenced acts like Portrayal of Guilt.  Finis Terrae surges along, all break and no build, but done in a way that feels like pure catharsis rather than just an exercise in exhaustion.  This kind of screamo is a little more hit or miss for me, as I’m a man who loves some serious melody, and initially I didn’t think this album was for me at all, but I’m glad I gave the Finis Terrae the chance to grow on me; underneath a moody and chaotic exterior is some pretty memorable songwriting.

Until next time,

– Vincent

 

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