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Album Review: The Saddest Landscape - You Will Not Survive

In a time where ‘emo’ has become a word dirty with the connotation of haircut, over-dramatized angst, and make-up overload, it’s hard to come across a band that still wears its original definition with pride. Not only that, but the elapsing time between the birth of the genre and the present has made artists grow weary of fighting for relevance. However, this year has blown new life into hardcore emo with the unfathomably great Pianos Become The Teeth and this new release from veterans The Saddest Landscape, who have no intent of relinquishing any emotion, power or creativity for now.

Their newest offering ‘You Will Not Survive’ opens with ‘Declaring War On Nostalgia’, a track that thrashes out only after the excitement is appropriately built up by an epic combination of drums and feedback. The riffs here may hint to familiar hardcore punk territory, but the rhythm guitar is complimented by some fine touches of guitar melody that never fully allow themselves to swoon you out of the rampage. The onslaught is powerfully conducted by Andy Maddox’s raw but intense vocal work.‘Torn, Broken, Beautiful’, on the other hand, is a rhythmic belter with instrumentals stop/start-ing through walls of distortion, with a cocktail of guitars that lie somewhere between shoegaze and the pace and power of hardcore punk. At the halfway line, the band unleash a gentle leaning that shows signs of The Refused’s influence on the genre before the listener is quickly pulled back into the gritty raw edge of The Saddest Landscape.

‘Eternity Is Lost On The Dying’ and ‘Imperfect But Ours’ are both armed with knife-sharp intensity for the hardcore punk sections that are only bettered by the emotion achieved in the more emotional ends of their songwriting spectrum. Both tracks are great examples of what this band can do, with the latter being a stand-out track that adds more variety, and perhaps accessibility to the untrained ear, with female vocals adding an eerie quality to their style. And while ‘So Lightly Thrown’ may sound like more of the same, the acute listener will make out guitar work blessed with tasteful flavours such as blues-rock tinged intros, reserved palm-muting and the necessary fugazi-fuelled instrumentals.

After the opening salvo, closing track ‘From All Of Those...’ becomes a perfect example of the mastery the band has developed towards their songwriting. The melodic build-up here takes the form of a dual-vocal and dual-guitar choreography that shyly announces the amp-wrecker about to come. Yet, surprisingly, the chaos is swiftly over, and the post-rock elements are back to the fore-front complete with psychedelic revolving guitar sounds. Building up from the foundations of the previous section, the song slowly slithers its way into what might be their most emotionally-packed combination of vocals and guitar. If you allow yourself to truly lose yourself into this, then you’re in for one powerful personal moment as well as a fine curtain closer for this impressive offering.


'You Will Not Survive' by The Saddest Landscape is available now on Panic.

Official Website

The Saddest Landscape on MySpace

James Berclaz-Lewis

Alter The Press!