REVIEW: Øjne ​/ ​Улыбайся Ветру – “Split”

ojnesmiletothewindLanguage doesn’t really exist when it comes to music. Let me rephrase that. Music can exist beyond language, because music is it’s own language. It’s why you can be moved by sad song in another language. It’s why Italian opera has sustained its popularity for so long, even outside the Italian speaking world. What this all means is that I am going to talk about a record by two bands that make music in a language I don’t speak. Alright? We’re talking about Улыбайся Ветру (also known as Smile To The Wind) and Øjne.

Улыбайся Ветру opens the split. They go through four songs in about 5 minutes. Hailing from Saint Petersburg, the songs are in Russian. They play short, aggressive songs. The longest song, “Смерть Прометея” (“Death of the Prometheus”), clocks in at 2:11. They play a more chaotic type of screamo. They definitely pull more from the hardcore roots of the genre.

Øjne, on the other hand is from Milan. As such, you guessed it, their song is in Italian. They also play screamo, but in a more melodic variation. While they only provide one song to the split, it is about as long as the four songs by Улыбайся Ветру combined. “Sotto i Tigli” (“Under The Lime Trees”). While the last band was driving forward aggressively, Øjne gives the song room to breathe. It is still aggressive as fuck, but it a different way.

The overall production on this thing is fantastic. It is very cohesive. This despite it being recorded and mixed in three different places (two in Russia, one in Italy), only to be sent to the US to be mastered by Will Killingsworth. There were a lot of hands on this record, and everyone did a great job. Genre fans absolutely need to give this one a listen.

Øjne
(BandCamp)

Улыбайся Ветру (Smile To The Wind)
(BandCamp)

It’s a Trap! Records [US]
Pike Records [DE]
Flood Records [BE]
Zegema Beach Record [CA]
Unlock Yourself Records [RU]
La Agonia De Vivir [ES]
Pure Heart Records [CZ]

**All translations came courtesy of the bands. Via their respective BandCamp pages.So, you know, check that out.

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REVIEW: Lord Snow – “Solitude”

solitudeThe term “emoviolence” rarely gets used anymore. It was obviously a genre tag that started as a facetious thing, but goodamn. If it was created to describe bands that mix powerviolence with screamo, then we need to bring it into the discussion here. Lord Snow don’t fuck around. Made up of members of Chicago area bands (Suffix, The New Yorker, Lautrec, and Raw Nerve), this is a band that knows exactly what they’re doing.

Solitude is not a record that you put on as background music. It’s 11 songs that demand your attention for the record’s 19 minute run time. It’s jagged, it’s raw, it’s loud and it’s one of the best things to come out in 2013. If you miss the days of emo music being hardcore, this should be your new favorite record. But, genre discussions don’t really matter in the end. It’s the music that counts.

Solitude is an abrasive record. It may not be for everyone, but even people who don’t like this kind of stuff have to appreciate the heart. The band leaves everything it has on these songs. There is one thing I think about every time I listen to this record, and it’s about how Steph Maldonado even has a voice after recording it. Her scream is raw and it sounds like her voice could give out at any moment.

The rhythm section of Steph Maldonado (bass) and Erik Anderson (drums) lay down a great foundation. Anderson is especially great. He’s able to go from full blast to reigned in at the drop of a hat. Niko Zaglaras (guitar) is able to shift between fast and chaotic to calm and melodic just as quickly. There are some great dimensions to this record that a lot of people are going to overlook.

This is a blood and guts record. The lyrics are great, the music is fantastic, and everything about it works.

Lord Snow
Lord Snow (Tumblr)
Adagio 830
Bandcamp

*Note: this seems to only be available in the US from the band directly (and is currently sold out). So, if you really want a physical copy, you’ll probably have to get it on import from Adagio 830. Bummer.

REVIEW: State Faults – "Desolate Peaks"

Holy cats, you guys. This is a fucking record. If you want a good distillation of what hardcore and emo can be, this is certainly a great example. State Faults (formerly Brother Bear) remind me why I love this type of music. To me, listening to Desolate Peaks is like hanging out with an old friend.

While this record borrows from a lot of things, it eschews the blatant style biting that a lot of screamo (or skramz, or whatever the fuck we’re calling it these days) bands seem to be doing. State Faults is able to navigate the middle ground between the chaotic screamo and the twinkly emo. The vocals are aggressive as hell, but the instrumentation hangs out in an inviting, melodic place a lot of the time. To my ear, this has some pretty obvious influence from bands like Antioch Arrow, Saetia, and maybe Maximillian Colby. For a boring comparison to more recent bands, this has a lot in common with bands like Caravels, Pianos Become The Teeth, Circle Takes The Square, and The Saddest Landscape.

Where this separates itself from the super chaotic bands of yore is in the grounded instrumentation. State Faults are fantastic at playing up the more jagged, hard line stuff while still maintain a bit of atmosphere and space. The production is great and makes the two book ends completely compliment each other. Unlike some other bands, the fluctuation of style sounds fluid instead of forced.

This shit rules. Check it out, ok?

State Faults
Tiny Engine Records
Stream/Buy It (Bandcamp)
Buy It (Physical)