24 Nov 2022 - Brayden
Metalcore, Hardcore | MNRK Heavy | Release date: 02 Sep 2022
It is no secret that Metalcore has been struggling as of late. At first, the Iron Maiden Melo-Death At the Gates worship crossed with Hardcore breakdowns bands were fun and interesting (ahem Killswitch Engage, Shai Hulud and Misery Signals ahem) but many will agree when I say this: the sound has gotten very old, it is somewhat tired and the dead horse has been beaten so fiercely I’m not sure lyrics from a Carcass song could describe it. Corporate mongers have robbed us of the youthful spirit and angst of Metalcore and replaced them with unrewarding choruses, lazy breakdowns and several other formulaic bastardizations that boil the genre down into a cliche. If you miss the old genre, the ‘straight from the go’-genre, look no further than the Callous Daoboys (a play on the Dallas Cowboys) on their newest LP Celebrity Therapist.
While the rest of the Metalcore world is trying to figure out how to cheap out their way to a #1 single and be posted on Loudwire, vent frustrations through rehashing their dad’s old Hatebreed tapes (who needs therapy when there is Hatebreed) or pursue the new ‘Djentcore’ The Callous Daoboys settle for none of the above. Their aspirations are actually much more complex: they settle for nothing by capturing everything. Well most of everything, not many bands share the same chops as Cleric or Between the Buried and Me after all, but I can settle for mostly everything in 10 minutes less per track in running time.
Immediately, they introduce themselves in a blistering and disorienting manner as typical Mathcore “note-nerd” madness ensues with Carson Pace’s vocal interplay of frantic shouts, emo crooning and deathly roars that mask the satire of the sociopolitical themes of the album. “Violent Astrology” demonstrates this duality and subtlety with an interjection of messily arranged synths and distortion. This onslaught also permeates “A Brief Article Regarding Time Loops” offering a brutal Deathcore breakdown and manages to fit similar electronic warbling between its many spasms. In a sense, a bulk of these experiments have arisen from the ashes of Miss Machine-era The Dillinger Escape Plan. No matter how overt the influence can be like, it does not explain the many other wide-spread influences they draw from. “Beautiful Dude Missile” for example utilizes the Squarepusher-esque electronica but also included mellow folk playing before returning to hammering riffs and Mr Bungle-like cartoonish Avantgarde. A plausible drawback I could see is that their eclecticism may be too grand and overall detract from the overall experience like in “Field Sobriety Practice”. The track is a labyrinth within a labyrinth, its density is unmatched and has individual movements which don’t do much in the name of cohesiveness. It begins as a sung emo ballad (in the fashion of Brendon Urie) then introduces a combination of heavy metal guitar heroism and nauseating Mathcore to bridge these very anti-thetical sections with acoustic lounge music playing. Sometimes classic metalcore rears its head into the violent concoction of the track but segue ways sloppily into something unrelated. Clocking in at just above 5 minutes they manage to cram many sounds into a singular song at the cost of appearing haphazard via their rambling tendency. “The Elephant in the Room” also displays this rampant eclecticism with references to baroque music. This stylistic chasm is pronounced here especially which hinders the cohesiveness of the album. When they reduce their experiments the results are grand, “Star Baby “ and its romantic jazz sax playing and childish sing-song might as well be a Bruce Springsteen track from hell. What The Callous Daoboys manage to produce is a borderline satire of the genre, one full of quirk, ferocity, vigor, contradiction, nuance, all wrapped into an unpredictable cacophony of familiar, yet foreign, sounds. In no way do they ever surrender to any conventional musical dogma.
Ever since the first marriage of Hardcore and Metal, Metalcore has been the black sheep of both families, with neither side wanting to claim the innate ugliness of their spawn. The genre was alienated for some time and festered in select local scenes, brewing all sorts of grime together. Bands invited ugliness from the likes of Crustpunk, D-beat, Grindcore, Death Metal etc into their cauldron to translate their seemingly endless fury – this was the pathos of Metalcore. Only recently has the genre forgotten this pivotal energy and Celebrity Therapist serves as a refreshing reminder at how chaotic Metalcore once was, shout-by-shout and chug-by-chug.