For Fans Of
There are few other bands coming out of the great Seppo nation right now, bands re-creating the best and brightest musical scenes and cornerstone records of the past, that have grabbed my attention with such ferocity and power as The Callous Daoboys have done. With the exception of Greyhaven and their power-house ‘Empty Black‘ LP in 2018, as well as scene stalwarts SeeYouSpaceCowboy, this fresh-faced Atlanta-metalcore seven-piece, whose moniker kinda sounds like that of a fictional sports team, are going to be math-core legends in no time flat, mark my words. Technically, nothing about this band’s feral sound or this here 2019 debut album that I’m catching up on now is all that new for hardcore, metalcore, and math-core. Just from hearing its first song, ‘Flip-Flops at a Funeral,’ you know that their three favourite records are: ‘Hot Damn!,’ ‘Long Live,’ and ‘Calculating Infinity.’
Singer Carson Pace sounds like a ring-in for Greg Puciato when he busts out either his caustic growls or his sinister clean singing, and there’s definitely some Mike Patton shades too, what with his theatrical moments, yet he pulls it off well every step of the way. Maddie Caffrey and Adam Collins‘ dissonant, discordant riffs and knowledgeable use of guitar feedback would make both The Chariot and Converge stand to applaud, lending this record a harsh edge. With one-off measures that rarely, if ever, get repeated once they make their presence known, just like all of the best mathcore bands, we hear saxophones from Rich Castillo on a handful of tracks; an electric violin from Amber Christman (that maybe could’ve been mixed better into the foreground); and Whitney Jordan’s equally frequent and noticeable synths adding to the detailed textures behind this wicked new Baker’s dozen.
In them being a very new band in the grand scheme of things, there’s actually not much that separates this young U.S. group from the greats of the genre(s). The greatest strength of The Callous Daoboys is that they know how to take something very familiar and make it feel so exciting, so urgent. They execute all of these recognizable ideas in grand fashion, which I feel, really makes all of the difference.
Following a somewhat chilling speech about the supposed eventual coming of the Anti-Christ, and the image that he will take, The Callous Daoboys put blindly-following people of faith in their place with groovy yet wacked out time-signatures of ‘Fake Dinosaur Bones.’ The voice-breaking screams and the slower but still alarmist sounds of ‘Faraday Cage,‘ or the varied, ‘Ire Works‘-like rock’n’roll swagger heard in ‘Pure Schlock‘ throttle you so damned hard. Not even counting its marimba-lead, lounge-room-jazz middle eight, there’s some crazed, atonal synths and violins heard during ‘Flip-Flops at a Funeral,’ and the second half of ‘Cobra Winfrey‘ sounds like one of TDEP’s most maddening, musically jagged nightmares, with added pitchy antics. Beginning with a neat acoustic riff before all hell breaks loose, ‘Dogfight Over The Trenches‘ sees the group channeling their chugging metalcore sides.
There are the experimental noise-rock aspects to the “Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Chaos Authority” songwriting behind ‘Die On Mars,’ like the often blasting, noisy and racey, math-metalcore passages that tear off the skin from your face. But then there’s the album’s cleaner, jazzier sections, like the breezy indie-rock splices that crop up in ‘Die On Mars (Sunspot),’ before some excellent vocal layering ups the ante for the finale. Ambient synths, clattering noises, low rumbles and eerie high-pitched loops of ‘Die On Mars (Side Story)‘ make for a tasty little mid-album interlude, creepy even with the cold, almost-off-putting vocal performances. Then, on the flip side, the fuzz-soaked instrumental piano-ballad of ‘Die On Mars (Addendum)‘, over-laid with a prayer sample concludes the album in a somewhat chilling manner.
Musically, ‘Die On Mars‘ is a straight-face layered over a laughing countenance. You can see this in the venomous, panicked metalcore parts that get placed alongside tongue-in-cheek jazz moments, and this extends to the album’s themes and lyricism. Whether it’s lamenting “creative torture” in ‘Flip-Flops…,’ Carson amusingly screaming ‘Stay out of Georgia!‘ to close out ‘Blackberry DeLorean,’ or calling out those who seemingly label anyone close to a public tragedy as being a ‘crisis actor’ in ‘Dogfight Over The Trenches,’ if you peel back these layers, The Callous Daoboys have something to say. Or maybe they’re saying nothing and any commentary intent is null and void. Either way, it doesn’t change how hard this album goes, how extra it all is, and I love that about it.
More than that, there’s a playfulness to this record that I just adore. For instance, after a savage opening minute of chaotic hardcore, ‘Contrail Crucifix‘ takes a brief yet big step back dynamically as it becomes this ironic piece of meta band commentary, as Carson shoots the shit about bands not playing their instruments, people forgetting The Callous Doaboys, the importance of buying merch, the power of word-of-mouth, and how this band will be dead by 2028 or sooner. The purposely blubbering, stuttering vocals in ‘The Absolute Barnstormer,’ along with the random restaurant-skit in the middle, sounding like something Enter Shikari would’ve cheekily done back in the day barring the wobbling dub-step synths and with way more amp feedback, helps to make for a seriously manic, out-there mathcore track. Which is a certain tone, a particularly endearing quality, that this band captures naturally and performs gracefully across the entire run-time for ‘Die On Mars.’ And there’s the “adult contemporary’ radio-ad bit heard early on in ‘Faraday Cage,’ which gives me heavy announcer vibes from ‘The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports,’ by the one and only Glassjaw.
At so many points during ‘Die On Mars,’ I’d find myself saying “wait, what!?” due to all of its twists and turns, and I got such a kick out of that experience. Given time, if they keep making records as good as ‘Die On Mars,’ I could easily see this band releasing a new underground classic for these genres; The Callous Daoboys could very well be modern math-core greats in no time. I completely slept on this baller record back in 2019, yet here I am now, correcting my failure and righting my past wrongs. So don’t make the same mistake as me; go acquaint yourself with the intricate, impressive insanity of The Callous Boys’ debut LP, ‘Die On Mars.’
- Flip-Flops at a Funeral
- Dogfight Over the Trenches
- Fake Dinosaur Bones
- Contrail Crucifix
- Die On Mars (Side Story)
- The Absolute Barnstormer
- Blackberry DeLorean
- Faraday Cage
- Pure Schlock
- Cobra Winfrey
- Die On Mars (Sunspot)
- Die On Mars (Addendum)
‘Die On Mars’ released on June 2019: