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A lot has and will be said about SeeYouSpaceCowboy as a band and their proper debut LP, ‘The Correlation Between Entrance and Exit Wounds.’ How they’re a really significant aspect of the current metalcore “scene revival” a la Sanction, .gif from god, Bloodbather, and Wristmeetrazor, among others. How they’re a band undeniably inspired by The Blood Brothers, 7 Angels 7 Plagues, Heavy Heavy, Low Low, Drop Dead, Gorgeous, etc. How they’re “sassy”, their anime-inspired band moniker, how 2019 is now 2009 again, and so on. While all of that remains true now, what’s so great about their newly released album is that it’s the real fuckin’ deal. It’s not just empty hype; it meets all expectations and then crushes them. Similar to Knocked Loose, SeeYouSpaceCowboy can get away with this sound as they aren’t some long-running act clinging desperately to the sound and time when they were most relevant. No, they’re one of the brightest, freshest faces in the hardcore and metalcore of late, now truly showing people what they’re made of with an arresting debut album. (Clarification: not saying that the older bands are bad – I still enjoy a lot of the earlier bands that paved the way – but a lot of them stopped moving their own sounds forward and either stayed the same or died out. And a lot of them weren’t like SYSC here, on their first proper record, writing songs for the genre that are not only stellar now in 2019, but also would’ve been the shit back in the day too.)
SeeYouSpaceCowboy’s new record touches up the smaller issues I had with the solid and crazed ‘Songs For The Firing Squad‘. As it’s not a compilation package like that previous 2019 release, the production overall aligns perfectly and the track-listing flows so much better as a result. It’s more complete in tone; more cohesive in sound. Recorded and mixed by Kurt Ballou and then mastered by Brad Boatright, SeeYouSpaceCowboy have honestly never sounded better with their first official album. ‘The Correlation Between Entrance and Exit Wounds‘ contains that near-perfect sweet-spot between ‘raw’ and ‘polished’ and the songs – whether they be brief, aggro chugga-breakdown fests or more emotional melodic metalcore moments – are all the better because of it.
‘The Correlation Between Entrance and Exit Wounds,’ whilst still borrowing from the 2000s hardcore/metalcore landscape, now sees the U.S. group doing their homework on other, bigger movers-and-shakers from that time period. So while it isn’t as defined by the band’s self-applied “sasscore” label of their earlier releases, this album never needed to be: it sees SYSC really progressing their style, retaining the occasional math-core splattering that the underground and anyone who follows Mathcore Index has come to love. This fierce record also sees the band diving into a more mature, melodic, and dynamic direction, taking cues from an array of artists out of the previous decade. As this ain’t just a rehash of their Pure Noise Records debut. Expect SYSC will hit the Attack! Attack! and Enter Shikari metalcore-meets-electronica period and the djent years of the genre by 2020 and 2022 respectively.
‘The Correlation…‘ is mature because of the album’s evocative and authentic lyricism surrounding addiction, political ruling classes, failure, mortality, self-identity, and mental health issues, with that last part stemming from the band and vocalist Connie Sgarbossa’s losing a friend to suicide – the subject behind the incredibly moving and gut-wrenching mid-album cut, ‘Late December.’ Doubly mature because the song titles are serious titles and aren’t given silly but humorous labels like ‘I Am A Trans-Continental Railroad, Please Run A Train On Me‘ or ‘Self Help Specialist Ends Own Life.’ It’s a vehement, rallying album to challenge abuses of power and authority, to “bite back and claim your life” as per ‘Armed With Their Smile‘; it’s a soundtrack to stand up for yourself, making that pain and fire your own; it’s an album to mourn the passing of loved ones and to address difficult emotions and mental anguish; and it’s an album to also subtly talk about intersectional beliefs and LGBT matters. (SYSC features two non-binary/trans members: Connie, and guitarist/songwriter, Jesse Price.)
It’s deeper in melodic content as there’s now loads more spoken word vocals – reminding me a lot of what Brock Lindow was doing on the first couple 36 Crazyfists records (Make Metalcore Spoken Word Again) – as well as some subtle cleanly-sung backing vocals, like on ‘Dissertation of an Idle Voice‘. There’s also some great cleaner guitar work dotting the LP that heavily pulls from Misery Signals and Killswitch Engage, including more dynamic sections, like what’s heard in the touching first half of ‘Late December‘ before it erupts into pained longing, or with the instrumentals ‘A Space Marked ‘Escape’,’ and the delay-heavy ‘No Words, No Compensating Lies.’ In fact, the second half of the killer ‘With High Hopes and Clipped Wings‘ wields and harnesses that older melodic metalcore sound scarily well; better than KSE has done themselves since 2006. It easily could’ve been off of ‘Controller‘ or ‘The End Of Heartache‘ back in the day. And that’s what I adore about this LP: SYSC has pulled off this transition impressively so, successfully nailing what they were setting out to achieve here.
Opener ‘Armed With Their Teeth‘ is a short, feral and riffy hardcore assault on the senses; it really was the best pick as the first lead single. ‘With High Hopes and Clipped Wings‘ is then a graceful moment for the record and SYSC as a band; showing off both sides of the four-piece. These first two songs also show that Connie’s vocals have come much further along too, sounding even more unhinged and rage-driven than ever before: notice the random, intensive screams that help ornament the groovy and fast-paced ‘Disdain Coupled With A Wide Smile.’ These piercing screams almost sound like her vocal cords are being shredded open – such is their power – and they’ll peel the skin right off your dumb face when combined with the alarming instrumentals. Something that fellow album highlight ‘Prolonging The Inevitable Forever‘ best embodies too.
The dizzyingly furious ‘Put On A Show, Don’t Let Them See You Fall‘ sees SYSC hitting those dissonant “wee-woo”pinch-harmonics as hard as they can, also bringing in slick melodic guitar work that wouldn’t go amiss on a classic Misery Signals tune. And that snare-double-kick pattern that leads into a bass-slide that transitions into a vicious little breakdown for the finale? Tight as hell! The discordant-loving and angular ‘Dissertation of an Idle Voice‘ has some killer circular riffage remiss of Drop Dead, Gorgeous’s finest material, and it tows the line so well between SYSC’s earlier sound and what they’re aiming for. Then the band just outright say “fuck it” and write one of the best generic-sounding, 2000s-aping metalcore songs that I think I’ve ever heard: ‘The Pheonix Must Reset.’ This closer condenses everything that SYSC is doing on their first legit full-length into barely three compelling minutes: the moodier clean guitar passage halfway through; the hard-hitting metal riffs; the burning feelings of rage; all culminating in a confronting, panic-chord-stricken breakdown. And you know what? It’s sick.
‘The Correlation Between Entrance and Exit Wounds’ is SeeYouSpaceCowboy’s real claim to fame. It’s the band matching the ever-growing love and attention they’ve been gifted with from the underground heavy music community over the last 12 months. This was the exact follow up they needed to fully capitalize on not only their sound but also their momentum. As a result, we’ve ended up with one of 2019’s best hardcore/metalcore albums. While the transition from ‘A Space Marked ‘Escape” into ‘Prolonging The Inevitable Forever’ isn’t maybe as smooth as I’d like, and while the four-minute instrumental of ‘No Words, No Compensating Lies’ is perhaps a little longer than it needed to be, those very minor criticisms can be brushed off easily. as they don’t drag down what is already a wicked album. But most importantly, everything on SeeYouSpaceCowboy’s proper debut LP is written, performed and felt in such a way that it’s so genuine, seeing a band passionately caring and honouring the era of heavy music that they draw so massively from; so much so that it’s impossible not to take it as earnest, loving and honest. And I cannot wait to see where SeeYouSpaceCowboy will take this sound in the future!
- Armed With Their Teeth
- With High Hopes and Clipped Wings
- Disdain Coupled With A Smile
- A Space Marked ‘Escape’
- Prolonging The Inevitable Forever
- Late December
- Have You Lost The Plot
- Put On A Show, Don’t Let Them See You Fall
- No Words, No Compensating Lies
- Dissertation of An idle Voice
- The Phoenix Must Reset
‘The Correlation Between Entrance and Exit Wounds’ is out now: