The modern digital connection snaking back and forth across the global music community can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, there’s a lot more material to listen to than the options that might be available if your only music source was a local record store. On the other hand, awesome material can fall through the cracks.
Here are three releases that definitely should not slip away from memory. “Screamo” here is used in reference to the idea of emotionally urgent, boundary-less “punk” music, not in reference to some list of technical specifications associated with that genre idea, and definitely not in reference to the slang concept for heavy music.
Most importantly — just listen to this music. Three of the bands are from Germany (what are y’all drinking over there? Is there a screamo enhancer in the water?) while one of them is from Denmark. They range from grinding, harsh intensity to more open-ended, breathable but still intense tunes.
Disillusionist – the fire on the freeway as seen from the mountains
Denmark’s Disillusionist are fantastically musically passionate on their four track release the fire on the freeway as seen from the mountains, which came out back in January via the also Denmark-based Dasein Records. The band specialize in uniting melody and noise — they’ve made utterly devastating deliveries of noisy meltdowns into something powerfully surging and even (if you listen long enough) beautiful. It’s like the caustic modern noisiness of Loma Prieta intertwined with melodic hardcore sensibilities, with a heavy emphasis on the melodic part of that. It’s a fascinating, slightly brighter (but still definitively tumultuous) environment to explore.
Their music feels like an extremely emotionally honest adventure in sound. While delivering their immersive, strikingly on-point musical appraisal of relatable human conditions of being left behind, this band have also at least begun to crack open some light off in the distance, giving some kind of perspective to the turmoil packed within the music. There’s a nearly simultaneous sense of catharsis and empowerment, the former delivered by the enveloping, understanding, focused musical mayhem, and the latter coming in with the stunning way in which this band bring their threads together with a melodic flourish. You don’t have to get stuck in the emotional muck — while still possibly remaining “dirty,” this band offer an alluring path forward.
dispassionate/ Floating Woods split
The German bands dispassionate and Floating Woods unite on a sonic hurricane of a split release that emerged this past July. Each band bring uniqueness and utterly devastating ferocity to the table that together, make for a really rewarding listen. This music feels like the result of an awl driven straight into the heart — there’s musical approximations of the whole meltdown, including the spouting blood, pain, and more, and there’s a darkly alluring thread that runs throughout the whole mixture as the bands stun with a remarkably on-point musical portrait of who we are and where we’re going.
dispassionate seem (at least sometimes) to incorporate more of a direct hardcore punk sensibility into their music. They’ve really amplified some of the caustic, palpable, emotional volatility found elsewhere into an incredibly focused, vicious creation that maintains a strong air of musical fascination. Their side of this split feels like an in-your-face meltdown, amplified by the hardcore-esque, harsh vocals.
Floating Woods feel more caustic than their counterparts here, indulging in a fascinating kind of harsh noisy mania to define their own jumps down into the emotional abyss. Their music feels most marked by blindingly fast (but still musically complex and fascinating) harsh spins out of control. “I am overwhelmed!” they scream on their track “Digital Homicide,” and the sentiment truly gets portrayed here to an utterly remarkable extremity.
Check it out:
erai – Before We Were Wise And Unhappy
On their early August release Before We Were Wise And Unhappy, the Berlin, Germany-based erai deliver a stunning, deeply emotional portrait of loss that feels cracked open to invite listeners along for the music’s ride. They’ve really done a stunning job of capturing and painting utter emotional desperation, begging for some kind of compassion, some kind of answer.
Their music is direct, and even almost surprisingly melodic, but their progressions feel carefully crafted to paint a musical portrait of a struggle between depression-driven sadness and wanting some kind of future spot all the same. They’ve musically revealed emotional desperation hiding around the corners of “normal” daily life, and while volatile and even in a sense dangerous, the flowing cathartic expression here also proves definitively refreshing, really. The music comes in, wraps around, and offers a word of understanding before heading off into this cavorting emotional abyss.