Welcome back to another edition of Chaos is Me. I am once again behind on getting this column out on time, but life is what life is. We pick ourselves back up and keep trying. The important thing is that this column contains some of my favorite screamo released this year so far, and perhaps even a few gems that might end up on a year-end list. If that sounds of interest to you, then read on below.
Dreamwell – Modern Grotesque
Your favorite band is too cowardly to write a song that references Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Dreamwell is not. The Rhode Island based post-hardcore outfit put the full courage of their convictions on display on their latest album Modern Grotesque, and the result is a staggeringly impressive piece of music. I mean “staggeringly” almost literally; the first time someone mentioned that I should check out “Sayaka,” the album’s leadoff single, it knocked the wind out of me. There was something so familiar about the base elements of Dreamwell’s sound, yet also something undeniably fresh and new about it. Such a dynamic carries across the whole of Modern Grotesque and makes this one of the most exciting albums I’ve checked out in a while. Across songs aforementioned, as well as standouts like “A Crouching Tiger Waits for Prey That Never Comes” and “Sisyphean Happiness,” Dreamwell combine the textural post-hardcore of bands like Circa Survive with the confessional style lyrical content of Touche Amore, building a bridge between screamo’s past and present as a road towards its future. I truly cannot recommend this enough.
Closer – Within One Stem
Kicking off the March section of this column is the new full length from East Coast screamo trio Closer. While this album is my introduction to the band, I’m pretty well sold on what they’re doing. Within One Stem brings a more modern emo touche to the party via the characteristic light tone and ‘twinkly’ guitar lines, as well as the way the band plays with space in their songwriting, but tracks like “New Refused” show that they can bring plenty of hardcore aggression when called for. There is something nostalgic and comforting about Within One Stem; its earnest delivery and heartfelt melody reminds me of the kind of ‘midwest’ emo that makes me think of home. This is an album that feels as at home being screamed into the faces of a basement full of people as it does being listened to while wistfully contemplating the stars late into the night.
Portal to the God Damn Blood Dimension – Rotten Fruit; Regular Orchard
While released initially in 2020, Portal to the God Damn Blood Dimension’s second album Rotten Fruit; Regular Orchard got its cassette re-issue via Ripcord Records this past month, and managed to slip completely past me upon its inital release, so it’s a pleasure to acquaint myself with this record now. Rotten Fruit pushes the boundaries of what is usually covered on this column, exploding the confines of screamo by incorporating orchestral elements, almost religious choral motifs, and spacey post-rock with vocals that feel more spoken-word poetry than anything else, but the soul of this album is in the earnest melody and impassioned delivery that make it feel right at home among these other releases. Imagine the best parts of Respire and Godspeed You! Black Emperor coming together to make twenty minute long opuses and you’ll have a good idea of what you’re in for. I was sold on this on the over-the-top band name alone, but Rotten Fruit; Regular Orchard is quite a remarkable statement on its own.
Here is a Classic Album I Think You Should Be Listening To: this may be cheating since this is one album containing a band’s entire discography, but when that band is as good as Saetia was, you should probably just listen to it all at once
Until next time,