Review Summary: French emo novices Sed Non Satiata add a dash of Envy to the European formula and strike gold
There’s no denying that the European emo scene, especially in the last five years, has exploded. Its seemingly endless supply of great bands has made many emo fans, including myself, daring to say that is has surpassed the American scene in regards to being the new “what’s next” hot spot for emo. But equally important to note is that European emo is not only given it’s own separate genre niche for the area that it comes from, but also for a very similar sound that remains constant within each band hailing from the area. Though it’s hard to explain, my best bet at explaining it would be to say that there is definitely more of an emphasis on incorporating post-hardcore elements into the traditional “emotional hardcore” base that defines the genre. What post-hardcore elements you ask? Most profound for me is definitely the more open and minor sounding chords used by bands in the genre, giving the music a much darker or epic sound to it. Not to mention plenty of delay on the guitars and picking lines. Basically, this isn’t your Rites Of Spring or even Moss Icon traditional power chord hardcore. You have bands like Amanda Woodward (France), who despite sticking closer to the roots of emo than their peers by relying heavily on octave chords and fast paced rhythms, using delay, tremolo and overall, more minor sounding progressions. Then you have bands like Raein (Italy), Mihai Edrisch (France) and Daïtro (France) who stray far from traditional emo with more reliance on dissonance, more epic song structure, pedal tones and in some cases, bouts of blast beats and other dynamics associated with grind. But most importantly, though the bands have no doubt experimented and pushed the boundaries of emo, the music still retains the strong sense of emotion, usually expressed through desperate screams, spoken word sections, etc., and is essentially based in hardcore, therefore holding true to the genre of emotional hardcore, or emo.
Now that we’ve gotten that short intro out of the way, it’s time I talk about the newest offering of European emo, Sed Non Satiata. Also hailing from France, Sed Non Satiata’s album Le Ciel De Notre Enfance
is honestly one of the most promising and finest pieces of emotional hardcore of the last 5-10 years. Their sound is actually not that hard to describe: imagine the European sound as described in the above paragraph plus a hefty love for Japanese emo titans Envy. The result is 5 tracks of epic, dissonant, brutal yet beautiful music. An essential factor in what makes so Le Ciel De Notre Enfance
such a masterpiece is the way it is recorded and mixed. As song as the opening lines of “Moi Le Premier” begin to wash over your ears, you are enveloped. The guitars intertwine, the bass is thick, the drums pound away, the keyboard line weaves in and out of the dueling guitars. Then the vocals enter, abrupt yet most certainly powerful. The emotion behind the singer’s voice is undeniable, as he screams and yelps his way over equally dissonant duel guitar work. Another defining factor of Le Ciel De Notre Enfance
is the dual guitar interplay, much like the defining dual guitar work of obvious influence Envy. “Spirit Fuel” begins with a single dissonant chord being played repeatedly and then explodes into heavy bass and discord. The song pummels along and ends in bursts of chaotic vocals, delay-ridden guitars and syncopated drum hits. By the end of the second track, Sed Non Satiata’s sound has been established. The way the instrumental section works together so perfectly, how everything is layered so perfectly and how the vocals fit the music so perfectly, as if battling with the instrumental prowess yet simultaneously complimenting the music so well.
And as if the first two tracks were ambitious enough, Sed Non Satiata splits the album in half with a seven-minute instrumental, and an extremely formidable one at that. “En Attendant L’aube” is a beautiful foray into the realm of post-rock/instrumental music. It has the soft to loud dynamic changes, a shimmering lead line and overall stunning instrumentation and an epic feel. Halfway through Le Ciel De Notre Enfance
, if you are not yet floored, I wouldn’t hesitate in calling you a liar. But the album’s momentum does not trail off and at once, “Hypocrisie Des Sentiments” begins much like “Spirit Fuel,” though with a much more mellow chord repetition. “Hypocrisie Des Sentiments” follows the same structure as “Spirit Fuel,” exploding into heavy open chords, pounding bass and jarring dissonance thanks to the signature duel guitar work. Clocking in at 1:58, “Hypocrisie Des Sentiments” is Le Ciel De Notre Enfance
’s shortest track but nevertheless packs just as much of a punch as any other track on the album. Without notice, “Urgent D’Attendre” begins with feedback, quick drumming and frantic screams. The song’s main progression is a standard, last track, epic progression but “Urgent D’Attendre” does not fail to deliver. In addition to an impressive clean vocal movement, the song explodes into its final movement, featuring tempo changes and full out chaos. And as the last chord rings out and it seems all is well, the album ends with an evil and ominous sounding riff and pained screams.
Le Ciel De Notre Enfance
is short but sweet, and one of the most exciting pieces of music put forth from either the American or European emo scene in years. Ambitious, youthful, dissonant, beautiful, epic, chaotic, bliss. I honestly can not help but to simply shower praise for this album. Although I am a big fan of Envy, I truly believe anyone can appreciate both the fantastic and intricate musicianship and the cathartic feel which the music so perfectly conveys. There is something for everyone here and fans of European emo or just new and inventive emo will find no trouble delighting in the superb chunk of music offered on Le Ciel De Notre Enfance
. The only faults I can find with the album are it’s length (it's too short!) and the clean vocals on “Urgent D’Attendre” are a bit too gimmicky/cliché emo. But the good by far outweighs the minor faults with the album and I can say that it has been quite some time since I have been so engaged with an album and I have never been more excited to see what this band will offer up next. Let’s just hope they can overcome the ridiculous emo band cliché and breakup once they realized they have hit their pinnacle.
Numerous props to Jared for recommending this band.