Chaos is Me took a few months off, due to a lot of reasons, but we’re back and (hopefully) better than ever. If you’re a repeat reader, thanks for sticking with me during the periods of down time, and if you’re new here, then welcome. This is Nine Circles’ monthly column devoted to the world of screamo, and my curation for the month of September includes only the most choice and the most tender cuts. Read about them all after the break.
Coma Regalia – Marked
Listening to Marked, its easy to see why Coma Regalia are one of the longest running bands in screamo, with a seemingly bottomless wealth of both quality and quantity to their name, but their newest release might just be the best thing they’ve put out yet. Marked, if Discogs is to be believed, is the Lafayette, IN band’s sixth full-length and fortieth release overall in ten years of activity, which is insane to sit down and actually see with your eyes, yet it feels just as full of urgency and vitriol as the band ever have been. Across twelve songs, the longest of which clocks in at two and a half minutes, the band steamroll their way through a tried and true chaotic and melodic hardcore punk. While not touching on powerviolence, these songs recall the classic style of hardcore where nothing overstays its welcome, and it’s what makes the music here all the better; even the forty second long “Ready the Vessel” feels like a complete musical idea, all killer and no filler. If there’s an album that could be called a ‘winner’ among this month’s picks, this would be that album.
Overo/Asthenia – Split
Next up is a split release between Houston, TX’s Overo and Asthenia from Japan. This one is a little bit of lighter fare for this column, as both bands make use of the kind of nimble, twinkly guitar work and (occasional) clean vocal stylings of Midwestern US emo, but I’m a sucker for that sound anyway so this is right up my alley. Overo’s half of the split consists of the four-minute slow-burn (heh) of “Haunted by Heat,” which makes impeccable use of the band’s two-vocalist approach to create something sombre and mournful, which plays perfectly into the forty-seven second follow-up “Near the End,” where everything breaks apart in pseudo-emoviolence fashion. Asthenia’s two tracks are musically both more and less aggressive than their counterparts, making more heavy use of screamed vocals and frantic rhythms while also interjecting more space and ambiance. The way these two bands’ sounds compliment each other so well despite being from halfway around the world from each other is really something to behold. I love a good split release and this is, indeed, a very good split release.
Among Tides – What Doesn’t Reach the Surface
Finally, we’re going to talk about the debut release from Le Mans, France’s Among Tides. While there is plenty of fast-paced action to be found here, What Doesn’t Reach the Surface shines brightest in the moments of sludgy, post-everything atmospherics; moments like the quiet, post-rock-esque middle of “Sunken Mementos” or the clean guitar over roiling drums of the end of “Firestarter” cash in on the emotional currency the more fiery sections build up and provide an interesting contrast to the band’s music. The interchanging use of bell-like reverb and the crunchy, lo-fi distorted guitar tones give a lot of textural variance to these songs, especially when clean guitars are layered over faster rhythmic patterns and vice versa. There is a charming quality to Among Tides’ music here, one that recalls a lot of classics of the genre while also giving a sense of trying to put an individual touch on the sound. As solid a debut release as any band could want.
This is a new section I’ve decided to start on this column called Here is a Classic Album I Think You Should Be Listening To. This month’s selection is The Moon is a Dead World, the one and only full-length album by American post-hardcore band Gospel.
Catch you all next time,