Review: Anthony Green – Would You Still Be In Love

My first thought upon first listen to Anthony Green’s surprise solo album, Would You Still Be In Love, was, “How the hell can he be this prolific?!” In the last decade, Green has been the frontman for both Circa Survive and Saosin while releasing five solo records. Somehow, Would You Still Be In Love is as beautiful as it is terrifying. For each image beautifully painted of absolute love, there is a tear in the canvas showing the struggle with mental illness on the other side.

You can buy Would You Still Be In Love on Apple Music.

Green’s solo albums have always experimented with genre, but they have usually been at their best at the acoustic level. Aside from sparsely used percussion and a haunting violin, the majority of Would You Still Be In Love consists of gorgeously melodic acoustic tracks that make the lyrics much darker than they otherwise may have been. While Green pours over his struggles and things begin crashing down, you can hear the beauty of the world around him that he’s trying to reach.

As usual, Green’s lyrics are stunning. The album is a surprisingly dark one that uses stark imagery to show the struggles of mental illness in a relationship. Opener “Vera Lynn” is arguably the poppiest song Green has ever written. It also is a song about the fear of becoming musically irrelevant. It’s both a warning to himself and an understanding of his profession as he sings, “Someday if you hit the big one, everybody wants some from you / It won’t last / Cause then one day you’ll bite the big one / Everyone will move onto somebody new”.

“Love”, a cover from the song made famous in Disney’s Robin Hood animated movie, is a sweet homage to his family. It also sets the tone for how wonderful things can be before collapsing. “You’re So Dead Meat” is where the first doubts begin to pour in about his music. There are lines that show the struggle with art in ways I have never heard before, such as, “These strings are so dead / Holding off on changing them / until one day they will just break”, or “Why should I put everything into all these songs you just steal?”

“When I Come Home” is the showstopper of the record. It highlights the struggle of dealing with personal issues and watching against your own will as things appear to fall to pieces. The song weighs the pressure between true and failed love as Green sings, “Don’t blame me if I’m right / You were always on your way out / You can take your time, I’ll be patient / Don’t hate me if I say, ‘If there’s something I can change’ / You’d still be in love when I come home”.

Closer “Real Magic” manages to find solace with his struggles and ties off his fears. Coming to terms with his fears as a musician from earlier in the album, “Real Magic” justifies the struggles of writing such personal songs as he sings, “Everyday there’s something tragic that helps somebody else”.

Would You Still Be In Love sits amongst Anthony Green’s best solo albums. As tragic as it is redeeming, the record feels complete at nine songs long. Extremely personal, thematic and honest, Green shows yet again that he’s never left the top of his game.

4/5

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and listened to this album at 6 am on a Saturday morning because sleeping in is for quitters.

 

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10 Classic Music Videos Turning 10 in 2018

Even with the days of MTV music video rotation squarely in the rearview mirror, the impact of the music video can still be felt. In 2008, YouTube had become the new gathering place for music fans to experience their favorite bands and artists in a visual way, with music videos garnering tens of millions of views in the blink of an eye.

Taking a look back at some of the videos turning 10 this year, it’s easy to remember a time when we were willing to wait out the annoying buffering to get a glimpse of our favorite bands doing their thing on screen. Take a look at some of our favorites from 2008 and be sure to share some of your favorite music videos from 2008 in the replies!

Panic at the Disco – “Nine in the Afternoon”

Remember how weird it was to hear Pretty. Odd. for the first time? Lead single “Nine in the Afternoon” captured all of that stark strangeness from every angle. Clearly stylized after Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, “Nine in the Afternoon” combines vivid colors, marching bands, archery, and odd uses of vacuum cleaners to create a surreal experience.

Fall Out Boy – “I Don’t Care”

Before the “hiatus,” Fall Out Boy gifted the world with Folie à Deux, an album unappreciated in its time. In the video for “I Don’t Care”, the band’s members embrace their inner bad boy, only to be later revealed as various celebrities and other musicians. In typical Fall Out Boy fashion, there’s more than meets the eye – it’s a satirical look at the caricature of celebrity – and it’s fun as hell.

Kanye West – “Welcome to Heartbreak”

Long before Kanye stole the mic from Taylor Swift or donned a MAGA hat on Twitter, he made a sad album of sad songs called 808s & Heartbreak. One of those songs introduced us to Kid Cudi, whose chorus on “Welcome to Heartbreak” is still just as stellar as it was 10 years ago. The dark, dingy music video matches the vibe and showcases a softer side of a complicated artist.

Anberlin – “Feel Good Drag”

It’s still hard to believe that track 8 from Anberlin’s sophomore album would go on to be the smash single from their fourth album, New Surrender. The year’s biggest rock song is displayed on video in deep sepia tones and captures the sin buried within the song. It’s the perfect video for a breakout from a band that had long ago earned its time in the spotlight.

Hey Monday – “Homecoming”

Long before Cassadee Pope was winner of The Voice and a star country singer, she fronted the pop punk band Hey Monday. The band’s lead single “Homecoming” is captured here in a bowling alley where Pope’s jerk ex-boyfriend is pulling the same tricks with a new girl. Fortunately for her, the band’s power chords save her from heart break. Or something?

Taylor Swift – “Love Story”

In 2008, Taylor Swift was coming into her own and blossoming into aa full-blown star. The video for “Love Story” finds her traveling back in time, petting a horse, and running through a field. Wait a minute, is this video actually good? No, but it’s definitely a time capsule of what 2008 sounded like.

Beyoncé – “Single Ladies”

“Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ll let you finish, but Beyoncé has one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!” Need we say more?

Anthony Green – “Dear Child (I’ve Been Trying to Reach You)”

This is such a weird little video, but it fit the quirkiness of Anthony Green, who in 2008 was blossoming into aa full-blown rock star. With Saosin and Circa Survive success under his belt, Green led his solo debut Avalon with this video featuring a variety of animated creatures, along with a scorned ex with…octopus arms? Eh, whatever. It works.

Lil Wayne – “Got Money”

Was there anything more thrilling in 2008 than Lil Wayne and T-Pain robbing a bank in a music video? The answer is no, there was not. Still one of the best autotune pop rap songs of its time, “Got Money” is just about as fun as music videos get, especially Wayne and T-Pain’s adorable shirts displaying “He Sings”, “He Raps”.

Metro Station – “Shake It”

This song is kinda gross and the video is mostly boring. But can you honestly think of 2008 without remembering this track playing in the background of every memory? Damn you, Trace Cyrus and Mason Musso with your whisper verses and over-the-top hooks!

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Reflecting On: Say Anything – In Defense of the Genre

In many ways, In Defense of the Genre is the absolute time capsule of pop punk in 2007. The sounds spanning the double album run the gamut of what was popular at the time while still managing to be, arguably, the most “Say Anything” record that exists. Guest vocals appear on over half the songs in unique, significant parts. In Defense of the Genre isn’t for everyone, especially on first listen, but it is an opus that celebrates and challenges the genre in every way.

You can buy In Defense of the Genre on iTunes.

After the success of …Is a Real Boy, Max Bemis faced what seemed an impossible task: topping himself. What he produced is a masterpiece of collaboration, experimentation and craft. In Defense of the Genre brought the outward, judgmental venom of “Admit It!!!” and cast it in every direction. To counterbalance this, Bemis also provided uncomfortably reflective and humbling lyrics of himself. The colorful poetry describing drug addiction, psychosis and coming to terms with indiscriminate anger is equal parts enthralling and sickening.

In Defense of the Genre is a dark album that reflects the time of its release. The golden era of the early 2000’s had faded and the few bands that still seemed to have any traction were heavier and brooding. Nearly everyone took a stab at experimentation, and while some succeeded, this era saw a massive drop off of bands that had been big just a couple years prior.

Rather than remake another punk record, Say Anything delved to see how depraved pop punk could be. The entire album is a blur of genre. Techno, dance, ragtime piano, grunge and pop seamlessly traipse between tempo changes that would kill a song by a lesser writer. Somehow, each sound manages to survive a solid coat of production and make a cohesive sound. In Defense of the Genre is as much a masterful dark pop album as it is the sound of madness itself.

The stories about Max Bemis prior to this album are legendary. Wandering the streets before being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, mental hospitals, and drug abuse seemed to constantly filter in through the news sites for a while. In his writing, not only did Bemis not shy away from this, the entire album documents the process of finding himself in the midst of madness (“The Church Channel”) and crawling his way out (“Sorry, Dudes. My Bad.”)

While each song attempted something new, some of the true stand outs are the acoustic tracks. “An Insult to the Dead” is one of Say Anything’s most amazing songs. The wrangled guitar, the gentle tambourine and plinking piano, and Max’s voice, accompanied by the faint shout in the background during the chorus, create a haunted effect. More than anything, the heartbreak in Bemis’ voice as he sings, “Oh God, forgive me Moses, Jesus, Allah” is unparalleled.

One true highlight is the use of guest vocals. They’re expertly chosen and provide a snapshot of who was popular. What’s amazing is how many of them are still wildly relevant today. On top of that, their placement in songs reflects the guest’s own personality. Taking Back Sunday’s Adam Lazzara provides the evil voice of paranoia on “Surgically Removing the Tracking Device”. Paramore’s Hayley Williams is the defiant angel on his shoulder in “The Church Channel” that urges him to seek help (“You were forlorn in despair / With your drugs and your hardcore porn / Trust me, those days won’t be mourned”).

Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba provides a haunting melody in the background of “Retarded in Love”. Anthony Green is the voice of alcoholism (“Hangover Song”). Gerard Way appears in the title track, a song attempting to make sense of why musicians write. The song breaks into a momentary country western jamboree as Way sings, “I’ve got an empty wallet and a record cover”, reminding himself that the best art doesn’t guarantee reward.

Max Bemis never hid his adoration of Saves The Day. I remember hearing a rumor about how the band dropped off of a tour with Saves The Day, allegedly due to drug problems. “Sorry, Dudes. My Bad.” seems to address this directly. Max asks his bandmates for help, and swears that evil shouldn’t be in their tour van. Saves The Day’s Chris Conley appears after an interlude of people offering help. Hearing Bemis’ personal hero shout, “If you want it, then come and get it /We’re all with you now”, still gives me chills 10 years later.

In Defense of the Genre is a true artistic endeavor. It was a massive risk taken at the height of Say Anything’s popularity. It’s also the last ‘classic’ Say Anything record. After this, the band’s sound became poppier and Max’s struggles less dire. What should be a hot mess of a record manages to be a cohesive concept album that finds the sound of madness itself. It’s an album that truly deserves to be celebrated on its anniversary, even though it may not be to everyone’s liking.

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and is currently fighting the pesky Baratheon hordes! …..Or battling his cat to the death over small flakes of chicken.

Circa Survive to Release “The Amulet” on September 22

Following a brief hiatus last year while vocalist Anthony Green reunited with Saosin for their first album and tour in seven years, Circa Survive has announced their return. The progressive rock act will release their fifth full length album, The Amulet, on September 22 via Hopeless Records.

One of the most original and creative bands in the scene, Circa Survive has consistently released solid, challenging material, including their last album, 2014’s Descensus. To prepare us for The Amulet, the band has released the album’s first single, “Lustration”, which you can hear below:

You can also check out the album’s artwork, created once again by artist Esao Andrews.

If you like what you hear, be sure to pre-order The Amulet from the band’s webstore. What are your thoughts on the new song? Share in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Reflecting On: Saosin – Saosin

saosin

I believe Saosin’s self-titled full-length debut album to be an example of post-hardcore excellence and a record that shaped the direction of the genre for the next decade. Others disagree, citing the album as an example of Saosin’s squandered potential.

Instead of using the next 800 words to defend my position and re-hash one of the most tired debates in scene history, I’m simply going to tell you how this album has had a deeply profound impact on my life.

You can buy Saosin on iTunes.

You can buy Saosin on iTunes.

I’d be lying if I told you that I was invested in Saosin since the drop of Translating the Name and a member of the band’s old guard. My introduction into the screamo scene happened a year later with the release of Underoath’s They’re Only Chasing Safety. That being said, I became keenly aware of the Saosin hype train shortly thereafter, and like most of the genre’s fan base, eagerly awaited the band’s highly billed debut.

Saosin released during a period of transition in my life, and has seen me through several more transitions since. Just out of college and making my first attempt at being a real adult, the album provided the soundtrack to late shifts at work and long car rides on weekends. During the days when we all still listened to CDs, Saosin firmly planted itself in my car’s stereo and was rarely withdrawn. I can safely say that I’ve listened to the album from front to back more than any other album I’ve ever owned.

Every instrument is played while straddling the line between rock radio perfection and reckless hardcore abandon. Cove Reber’s vocals seem to effortlessly reach ungodly notes on nearly every song without leaning on the then-mandatory crutch of screaming, setting a new precedent for scene vocalists. The production, handled by hit-maker Howard Benson, results in a nearly flawless product.

There’s something about the music that still speaks to my soul. Reber’s lyrics mean the world to me, and I’ll address those in a moment, but I’ve often said that even without vocals, Saosin would still be one of my favorite albums of all time.

The open air and smattered drumming that lead into the signature Saosin guitar squeal during the opening moments of the record on “It’s Far Better to Learn” still sends chills up my spine. Each track on the album bleeds either delicately or chaotically into the next track, creating one of the most fluid listening experiences you’ll have with an album. When the opening riffs of “Sleepers” begin spilling out near the end of the opening track, you realize there’s no need to reach for the skip button.

Saosin is littered with moments that both take my proverbial breath away and breathe fresh air into my lungs. The bridge of “Follow and Feel” remains one of the most pulse-pounding moments in the post-hardcore scene, highlighted by a rapid-fire drumming from Alex Rodriguez that pushes the track onward. The closing moments of “Collapse” find every member of the band going apeshit on their instruments as Reber wails “Open your eyes and let all the light in”. It’s a moment of pure ecstasy.

Reber’s lyrics remain cryptic and ambiguous throughout, but they have never lacked in meaning for me. During a candid moment during the end of the band’s making-of-the-record DVD, Reber begins sharing the inspiration of positivity that impacted his writing, concluding with, “For me, personally, I want to write something that can uplift somebody.” I’m forever thankful for this approach.

It’s rare for a Reber lyric to come across bluntly on Saosin, but it’s the in-between moments that continue to capture my attention. During the pre-chorus of “It’s So Simple”, he sings, “When we fall to the ground, slowly we’re safe and sound”. During the swirling chorus of “Collapse”, he belts, “We are the only ones, we will get up / And we are aware ‘cause we’ve been through it”. As the delicate opening of “Come Close” breaks through, Cove sings, “Remind yourself that they are the ones who will hold you still”.

It’s this persistent theme of intimacy and unity that courses through the album’s veins, serving as its lifeblood, that draws the listener in. By the time should-have-been-crossover-hit “You’re Not Alone” reaches its crescendo, the point is clear: “You’re not alone / There is more to this I know / You can make it out / You will live to tell”. The album’s potentially cheesiest moment is also its calling card.

I’ve written in the past about my struggles with depression and how music has walked by side throughout the difficult journey. Saosin is the album I go to when I feel desperately alone. It’s the record I play during those painful moments of transition. These are the songs that revive me when I’m at my lowest. I keep waiting for the day when it stops working, and while it’s certainly not a cure, albums like Saosin keep me afloat on the days I need it the most.

I believe this album to be one of the great rock records of our generation, and the beauty in the craft of this record is part of what makes it so important to me. But even if you disagree with my thoughts on the album’s merits, we all have those albums we go to when we need a lift. Saosin may not have lived up to everyone’s hype, but I’m eternally grateful that every note landed where it did.

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Taste of Chaos 2016: A Reason to Look Forward

dashboard-confessional-toc-splash

If you’ve followed any of the chatter surrounding this year’s resurrected Taste of Chaos tour, you’ve undoubtedly had your fill of wistful musings of days past. Certainly, it’s easy to get sentimental when glancing at the lineup – a who’s who of scene goliaths that paved the way for the approaching hurricane of nu-emo culture at the turn of the millennium. But to boil this summer trek down to nothing more than a mere nostalgia trip would be to miss the point entirely.

Chris Carrabba has dusted off Dashboard Confessional in recent months, releasing a new song this spring with plans for further recording. Taking Back Sunday is fresh off the heels of 2014’s refreshing Happiness Is and has a new album in the works. Saosin has reunited with original lead vocalist Anthony Green and released a new album, Along the Shadow, to critical acclaim last month. The Early November dropped one of 2015’s best rock records in Imbue just last spring.

All this to say that while it’s fun to reflect on the past, every band on this year’s Taste of Chaos tour is in full swing and primed for another step forward. Even if there’s nothing left to prove, there’s still plenty left to say.

For Early November vocalist Ace Enders, a man who has written and released a mountain of songs through his various creative channels, it’s almost hard to believe that he’s still getting better. Imbue is arguably the band’s best work to date, and on night three of Taste of Chaos in Indianapolis, Enders sounds just as impassioned singing “Narrow Mouth” as he does “Baby Blue”. Playing from a catalogue that stretches across 12 years, The Early November sound tighter than ever.

Saosin

Saosin

Speaking of spans of time, it’s still hard to believe your eyes when Anthony Green takes the stage with Saosin, a band he departed in 2004. Still, after the release of the ambitious Along the Shadow, it’s clear that this reunion means business. With a collection of 13 new songs to draw from, Saosin is able to stretch beyond Translating the Name with their setlist, offering fans the chance to hear the band shred across their new tracks.

While it’s still just as fun to hear “Seven Years” as it was all those years ago, it’s more interesting to hear the band tackle their new creations. In this setting, “Racing Toward a Red Light” sounds like the heaviest song Saosin has ever written. Likewise, “Illusion & Control” allows guitarist Beau Burchell and drummer Alex Rodriguez to let loose on stage during the song’s climactic close. With an expanding setlist, the only downside is not being rewarded with “Voices” or another track from the band’s equally celebrated Cove Reber era.

Taking Back Sunday

Taking Back Sunday

By the time Taking Back Sunday takes the stage, the lawn at White River State Park has filled out and the sun is beginning to set along the horizon. Rays of light cut through the stage backdrop, highlighting a confident Adam Lazzara as he struts across the stage. It’s a testament to Lazzara’s continued commitment to his craft that the mystifying mic swings are now merely a compliment to his overall performance. On this night, he rips through the set, sounding as solid as ever.

It’s a mix of the old and the new as the band opens with “Cute Without the ‘e’” before shifting to “Liar” and “Flicker, Fade”. With six albums under their belt and a laundry list of hits, it gets harder to know which tracks are the real mainstays. During their set, Taking Back Sunday try out a few new tricks fresh from the studio. “Holy Water” sounds like a suitable evolution from Happiness Is, while Tidal Wave sounds like a Ramones cover.

As intriguing as it is to get a glimpse of the future, it’s still hard to deny the indulgence of “A Decade Under the Influence” and “MakeDamnSure”. With any luck, band’s forthcoming record will only add to the growing list of Taking Back Sunday signature tracks, just as “Better Homes and Gardens” joined the list two years ago.

Dashboard Confessional

Dashboard Confessional

After three provisions of various kinds of chaos, it’s almost appropriate for Dashboard Confessional to bring things to a close. Carrabba has long been one of the most joyful performers in the scene, providing an ironic catharsis in the midst of so many painful songs. Yet to hear the crowd sing along heartily to “Stolen” and “Don’t Wait”, it’s clear that his songs of delight resound just as loudly with fans.

Carrabba has shape-shifted through the years from broken-hearted loner to confident rock icon to pensive folk artist without ever seeming unsure in his step. He’s a crafty songwriter with a knack for connecting with his aging audience, effortlessly meeting them where they are. On stage, he’s just as much a conductor as he is a performer, leading the choir through a history of heartbreak and redemption.

It’s only here that the nostalgia seems prevalent, perhaps because of the subject matter, but also because Carrabba seems to understand his role in 2016. He no doubt wants to revisit Dashboard with the intent of creating new material, but he also seems satisfied to rekindle an old flame with his fans. As is his custom, he regularly steps away from the mic for long periods, letting the crowd carry the band through songs like “The Best Deceptions”, “Saints and Sailors” and even the chorus of Coldplay’s “Fix You”. We’re all Dashboard Confessional, according to Chris.

While it’s not wrong to remember the past, it’s unnecessary to dwell there. On this year’s Taste of Chaos, we reflect on the moments that made us fall in love with music, but we also celebrate the fact that the same voices that sang our soundtracks are still singing new songs. And so are we.

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Review: Saosin – Along the Shadow

saosin-shadow-new

Saosin fans know a thing or two about expectations. In fact, the post-hardcore icons have existed amidst a whirlwind of expectations since their 2003 breakthrough EP Translating the Name. Whether the band has met any of them depends solely on whom you’re asking. Suffice it to say, Saosin has been a lightning rod for heated debate, but there’s no debating the band’s talent.

Even after losing vocal phenom Anthony Green shortly after their debut, the band marched on to mainstream success three years later with Cove Reber at the helm. The band’s long-awaited self-titled album remains a post-hardcore classic and one that jumpstarted an entire subgenre, even if diehard Green fans balked at the sonic shift. Whatever side of the fence you stand on, there has never been any denying of Saosin’s influence and the technical prowess of their individual members.

You can buy Along the Shadow on iTunes.

You can buy Along the Shadow on iTunes.

Where the true problem lies for most fans is in terms of output. After the lukewarmly received (and, once again, long-awaited) In Search of Solid Ground, the band parted ways with Reber, promising that a return to form was just around the corner. You know the story by now – it wasn’t.

Yet here we are, seven years and countless hollow promises later, with the unthinkable on our hands – a new Saosin album with Anthony Green. How could this album possibly live up to the ungodly expectations laid upon it? How could fans ever be satisfied after such a wait? It’s really all a matter of perspective.

Along the Shadow, the band’s self-produced third full-length album, is not an album for the fans. It’s an album made by a band that still has plenty left to say and more ground to explore. It may be arriving late, but it’s certainly not arriving devoid of significance. Along the Shadow isn’t simply a reunion album or a fun trip for nostalgia’s sake. It’s the next chapter in Saosin’s growing legacy.

By now, you’ve heard “Silver String”, the album opener and first released song, 100 times over. What begins as a peculiar Circa Survive-sounding track slowly grows closer to the Saosin you love with every listen. The band’s signature riffs, courtesy of Beau Burchell, come in small doses here, but Green’s beautifully complex melody grows more appealing with each pass. Throughout Shadow, the band playfully experiments with new tempos and structures, building outward to new territory.

On “The Stutter Says a Lot”, Saosin tries their hand at The Moon is Down-era Further Seems Forever with incredibly smooth guitar tones and cool transitions. “Sore Distress” adds the addition of ear-pleasing keyboards atop an extremely experimental track that allows Green to shine, especially on the song’s airy chorus. Not to remove themselves too far from the norm, the track’s crushing bridge is highlighted by thrilling drum patterns, courtesy of Alex Rodriguez.

While Along the Shadow lives largely within the post-hardcore realm of Saosin’s wheelhouse, the band takes time to explore both ends of the spectrum. “Second Guesses” is a surprisingly poppy track reminiscent of “Finding Home”, while “Old Friends” provides a dark and sludgy, almost industrial vibe to one of the heavier tracks on the album. Even within the dense texture of the track, you can still pull out the signature Saosin guitar tones that help the track still feel close to home.

Yet for all of the new ideas and concoctions befitting of an album seven years in the making, the conversation surrounding Along the Shadow will rest firmly on the tracks that fans most identify with the Saosin they’ve been waiting on. And there’s no shortage of moments that remind us that the band are masters of melodic hardcore.

“Count Back from Ten” is the track that old school Saosin fans have been waiting more than a decade for. If the opening riffs don’t harken the ghosts of Translating the Name for you, then nothing will. Rodriguez’s drumming is otherworldly, driving the track through multiple changes of pace, especially during the track’s aching chorus, as Green sings, “And you’ll never find an answer / When you’re waiting there alone”.

“Illusion & Control” best exemplifies the old and new Saosin in a beautiful collision of guitars and Green’s vocals. The chorus is delightfully aggressive and the final minute of the song may be some of Saosin’s best work yet. The track closes with a violent ending, marked by the incredible drumming that made the final moments of “Collapse” so breathtaking on the band’s self-titled album.

Similarly, “Control and the Urge to Pray” will take fans back to the early days with squealing guitars and jerky transitions that keep you on your toes throughout. Green’s cryptic lyrics and off-kilter vocal melodies don’t hurt matters, either, especially as the song builds towards its conclusion: “Always a race to keep you dragging on / Until the currents change / Our days it pays to keep from burning out / You used to care so much”.

Still, for every moment in which Green’s signature cry feels like a homecoming, there’s still a sense in which his desire for a heavier outlet leads to out-of-place aggression. Several tracks on the album are harmed by monotone screeching when a more melodic approach would have sufficed.

“Racing Toward a Red Light”, one of the heavier tracks on the album, relies far too much on Green’s screaming, especially when you consider how delightfully melodic the song’s bridge is. On “The Stutter Says a Lot”, Green’s screaming once again hampers his own vocal patterns with unneeded hostility. For better or for worse, the Reber era of the band was highlighted by Cove’s ability to find soaring melodies that backlit the band’s heaviest breakdowns, something that is largely absent from Along the Shadow.

To dwell on such a hang-up feels like nitpicking of the highest order. What we have on our hands with Along the Shadow is one of the finest post-hardcore albums of the year from a celebrated band that many of us assumed to be gone for good. Whether this is Saosin’s swan song or a comeback story for the ages remains to be seen. For now, the band is once again a heavyweight title contender in the world of rock.

For all of the frustration and anxiety Saosin fans have vehemently vocalized in the time since the band stormed onto the scene in 2003, the payoff has been undeniably great. The band has delivered one of the most influential EPs in scene history and has now unleashed two undisputedly classic albums. Without a doubt, quality prevails – no matter how much we clamor for more.

4.5/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Saosin Play New Song “Silver String”

saosin-new

Saosin are back on the road with a quick tour to prep fans for their forthcoming third full-length album. Over the weekend, the band stopped at The Fillmore in Silver Springs, Maryland, and debuted a new song from their upcoming record titled “Silver String”. Take a listen to a recording of the song below:

The song recently made an appearance in the band’s short video announcement of their new record and sounds fantastic performed in this live setting. The new album is set to release sometime this spring on Epitaph Records.

Are you excited for the new record? Share your thoughts in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Is This Real? The Return of Saosin

saosin-new

The time has finally come. Almost. Probably. Hopefully. Maybe.

Last week, Saosin announced that they had signed to Epitaph Records and would be releasing their long-awaited third full-length album sometime this spring. For a band that has led the league in hollow promises and endless teasing for the better part of seven years, this is as close as we’ve come to jubilation and relief.

Just to be clear, we don’t have any new music just yet, unless you count a slightly intriguing 30-second YouTube clip that wisely avoids tipping the band’s hand. It’s just as well – I’d personally rather hear that first rapid fire drum fill atop a screeching guitar riff in its proper context when a full song is released. Until then, we wait patiently. Still.

For what was arguably the most buzz worthy band this scene had ever known, Saosin’s road has consistently been littered with bumps and unexpected twists and turns since their inception. Has a band with this much potential and talent ever been this mysteriously riddled with misfortune and discord? Even the lead up to this long-awaited moment has been blemished by the band’s painful divorce from founding guitarist Justin Shekoski. Another day, another strange and shocking revelation in the world of Saosin.

Nevertheless, this is truly the occasion long-time fans of the band have been pining for. The band’s original prodigal son, Anthony Green, has returned to the fold and is set to front the album we never thought we’d receive. Although the reunion has been anything but storybook, it’s played out in true Saosin fashion every step of the way – surprising, peculiar, lengthy and with very few details.

While I’m certainly interested to hear what a Saosin album fronted by Green sounds like in the year 2016, you could place any number of actual or rumored Saosin vocalists in front of the mic and still have my attention. To me, the heart of the band will always be Beau, Alex, Chris, and even in his absence, Justin. Both the Green and Cove Reber eras of the band brought unique qualities in terms of vocal style and substance, but the overwhelming significance of Saosin in the post-hardcore scene lies in the frantic, bewildering, powerful instrumentation.

Even when the band spent long stretches in radio silence, marked by constant transition and states of limbo, their influence stretched far and wide across an array of genres. Still, not a single look-alike managed to captivate and inspire quite the way Saosin did. For that reason alone, this long walk in the desert will have been worth it for a fan base that never seemed to dwindle, even as it perpetually grumbled.

It’s quite possible that the next few months will feel even longer than the years that preceded them as we anticipate the elusive album that is now within reach. Is it possible for this record to meet the ungodly expectations that will certainly be attached to it? That same question was asked before the release of the band’s self-titled debut in 2006. While opinions on the impact of that album still differ, there’s no denying its place in Saosin lore. It’s likely that the same will be true of the forthcoming record, no matter the outcome.

It won’t be long before debate commences once more. Let’s hope it was worth the wait.

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Saosin to Release New Album This Spring on Epitaph Records

saosin-new

At long last, it appears that Saosin is ready to release their long-awaited third full-length album. The band announced their as-of-yet untitled upcoming album and their signing to Epitaph Records today by sharing a clip from a new song. The album is set to release sometime this spring. Take a listen to the clip below:

What are your thoughts on the short clip? Share your excitement for new Saosin music in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Photo credit: Credit Gene Smirnov/Grizzlee Martin