The-Saddest-Landscape-Exit-Wounded-artworkThe Saddest Landscape – Exit Wounded

[Topshelf Records]

It seems that the term “emo” has become something of a derogatory word as it applies to underground or extreme music thanks to MySpace and groups like My Chemical Romance or Hawthorne Heights — groups with roots closer to pop punk than legitimate hardcore. The word has become associated with teenage angst and melodramatic whining that is understandably a turnoff to many listeners. At the risk of sounding overly nostalgic, the 90’s emo and screamo genre injected heartfelt lyricism, affected vocal work, and melody into hardcore music in a way that was actually quite powerful when crafted by the right hands. In contemporary music, The Saddest Landscape represents the mentality that there’s nothing wrong with being emotive, so long as you have the depth and musical ability to back it up. While the group’s latest EP Exit Wounded may be fairly short at just five tracks in length, the music is immersive enough in its honest pathos to allow the music to burn as bright as it does fast. The Saddest Landscape are dynamic in their approach too, going from almost powerviolence-esque outbursts of speed and anguish to reflective instrumental bridges and back in the course of individual songs, like post-rock CliffsNotes applied to hardcore. What really sells Exit Wounded is its raw production and imperfection, which gives a spark of spontaneity and infatuation, almost as if the EP were recorded live. Frontman Andy Maddox’s brings the message home however, with his tortured screams that don’t feel contrived or “put on” for the sake of show; his sincerity is felt, and listeners will feel compelled to hurt along with him. That’s what you get with The Saddest Landscape’s Exit Wounded — unbridled emotion that strikes a chord with listeners without the posturing or contrived angst the genre gets a bad rap for. – JR



The World Is A Beautiful Place - Wherever, If EverThe World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – Wherever, If Ever

[Topshelf Records]

Imagine Sigur Rós and Circa Survive copulating and giving us a band, and you have The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die (what a mouthful, right?). Their past efforts have boded them well, but many of them only contained one or two songs. From the beginning this album is not what it appears; nobody would ever expect to hear an album like this because, quite frankly, there isn’t one like it. It’s incredibly unique and very easily distinguished from its peers in the realm of post-rock or post-hardcore. The albums songs range anywhere from two minutes to seven, and the longer ones generally contain the lyrics while the shorter ones either serve as interludes and/or connecting tracks or are just very short. At times it felt that some of the very short songs could have been developed into something more, as if they were just beginning to get started and then just…stopped suddenly. This isn’t to say that the songs aren’t good in themselves, however, because they most definitely are. As the record goes on you can hear their different influences bleeding from the speakers, which sometimes proves as more of a hindrance to a band that has so much potential. The band also bridge the gap between emo and post-rock, which is something that they have done right and can appeal to all audiences with. Granted this is their first LP, the band do have some improvement to do. With the right formula, they can definitely become a force to be reckoned with, as well as a household name. – SS




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