Saosin-Along The Shadows, the newest album from post-hardcore outfit Saosin made me laugh. It’s not because I find it funny. Scream-sung vocals and the stuttering downbeat rhythms are something I’ve heard a lot in recent years, but man, this is not my wheelhouse.
These are sounds with which I have little visceral experience. My acrimony and rage were cultivated in the power chords and disgust of more traditional punk, hard-rock, and heavy metal, and my most vivid memory of hardcore vocal stylings include Brokencyde, whose first albums were reviewed so poorly that I still laugh when I remember the absurd hatred. When I want to go into overt rage, or exhaust myself emotionally and physically, I’ll often turn to emotionally brutal records, or melodic death metal—but not post-hardcore.
Which makes talking about this LP difficult. I actually do like many thing about this record. The production is top notch and the music has a nice sense of space. The chords and singing have a nice clarity to them, which makes the entire album feel polished. Furthermore, the breakdowns across the album, when they do occur, hit their mark sufficiently well. I like how the rhythms zig and zag against the vocals. There are drawn out moments with arpeggiated guitar work, nice and reverberated that really does it justice. The drums are tight and non-straightforward, which I love, and everything moves nicely.
But I get nagging feelings of sameness, which the production—or music—can’t save.
I’ve heard pretty much everything here before; whether it’s stuff like Periphery’s Juggernaut, a very different musical expression; or the work of bands like A Day to Remember, Blessthefall, and Pierce the Veil. Nothing here is particularly new. That’s a problem.
Harder to swallow than the generic sound, however, is the dull middle section, which completely lacks distinction. None of the songs on this album stand out with any particular clarity. There are no moments of technicality that astonish or lyrical nudity to enlighten.
If we’re being honest, not all records need those transcendent moments. Good music doesn’t have to be great. But I would certainly prefer something to keep my attention. Ultimately, for all the technical, musical, and emotional merits this album has, it doesn’t hit me where I live. But I enjoyed the ride.
Until I hold the silver string,
5,608 out of 10,000