Saetia
A Retrospective


5.0
classic

Review

by Electrocution USER (1 Reviews)
February 7th, 2005 | 558 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist


You probably stumbled across this review after having heard the name Saetia thrown around by several emo/hardcore aficionados attempting to plant themselves at the top of their respective food chains. Saetia was a short-lived screamo band (lasting from February 1997 to October 1999) from New York. However, despite their short lifespan, Saetia managed to establish themselves as one of best screamo bands of all time. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the buzz about this band came after their breakup.

During Saetia's life, they experienced moderate success in the hardcore underground. They were signed by Level Plane records not long after forming. While on Level Plane, they managed to put together two 7"s (Eronel and Saetia) and a self-titled LP/CD in addition to a demo cassette and a contribution to an ABC No Rio (the New York club where they coincidentally played their first and last shows) benefit CD.

So, why the history lesson? Well it's essential to understand this album. A Retrospective is a compilation of every song ever released by Saetia. For its entire 72 minutes, A Retrospective delivers throat-shredding screams and fierce guitars, but above all and most importantly, raw emotion.

Saetia's style of screamo can seem inaccessible to some. They tend to be rather spastic at times, immediately switching from a quiet guitar riff with hushed, almost poetic lyrics to heavy guitar with blood-curdling screams that pound your ears with no mercy. Also, on some songs, lead singer Billy Werner's vocals can be rather odd. Some are essentially him speaking into the microphone, others are screams that register rather high on the vocal range (this may be a turn-off for the chauvinistic types). However, it is these eccentricities that make A Retrospective all the more enjoyable. You may find yourself impatiently waiting to hear Werner launch into one of his bizarre mixtures of spoken-word vocals and high-pitched screaming.

OK, before I break this album down further, let's establish one thing: there is no "best" song here. All the songs are phenomenal pieces of work which all display a level of emotion that is currently lacking far too much in the majority of emo/screamo bands. Now that that's out of the way, let's proceed. A Retrospective opens with a brief crescendo of feedback-ish sound that gives way to the frantic screams of Notres Langues Nos Trompent, a definite standout due to the high level of energy that is present for all but about 20 seconds in the middle of the song. Four tracks in, Woodwell serves as a brief instrumental intermission (strangely Slint-esque) from all the sorrow and anger saturating the air at this point. After another four songs, Postlapsaria comes up to bat. The song contains a heavy section with yelped vocals bookended by quieter sections. In the quieter parts, Billy Werner moans sorrowful poetry amongst guitars that seem just as sad as Werner does. By the time track 13 rolls around, you are chest-deep in self-pity. This song, The Burden Of Reflecting, comes to the rescue and kicks your ass. It begins and ends with fast-paced guitar work and vocals that are about as subtle as an African elephant stepping on your face. Two especially great tracks follow: Closed Hands, which employs a similar vocal style as The Burden Of Reflecting, and One Dying Wish. The latter contains an excellent sections where all of the band's members (well...maybe not the drummer, this isn't Genesis) scream out the question, "When did we begin?!" This produces a stunning effect that really makes you feel the emotion that the band is trying to convey. After the 17 "core" tracks of A Retrospective are over, the listener is treated to five live recordings of the band (these are the Untitled Hidden Tracks). While the recording isn't the greatest, you can still feel the band's emotion tearing through the area around them.

All in all, A Retrospective is an excellent record of an excellent band's history. It is a must have for any fan, whether new or long dedicated, of the emo or hardcore genres.


user ratings (640)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
crandynewman (1)
I take back what I said about Kid A, this is the worst thing I've ever heard....

GeorgeCostanza (1)
“Dionysos does not take possession of the weak; he destroys them.”...

Rationalist (5)
A sublime passionate experience at its core....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
cbmartinez
February 9th 2005


2525 Comments


Nice review! I need to get my hands on this album.

Sep
February 10th 2005


297 Comments


Great review! Who wrote it anyway? I can't see username...
This album should be arriving in the mail in a few days and I can't wait for it. "Venus and Bacchus" is such an incredible song.

At first I thought the screaming was ridiculous. It definitely takes a few listens to realize how great this is.

Electrocution
February 10th 2005


7 Comments


This is the author of this review...

My user name is I Am Electrocution. I don't know why my name didn't show up. I'm new to this whole reviewing thing.

BuddyBigsby
February 11th 2005


531 Comments


Great review, great discography.

I disagree with the part about this kind of emotion missing from emo/screamo bands today though... there's quite a few bands in the genre with plenty of heart. I mean, Saetia are a tough act to top in that department, but saying that that emotion is lacking in the genre seems a bit far.

EvIL_ToASTER_OVEN
March 28th 2005


24 Comments


I love this. It's one of those albums that will never get old for me. Billy has the greatest vocals in the history of emo/screamo in my opinion.

pixiesfanyo
April 10th 2005


1223 Comments


Derek is cool.

Good review.

SpecialBoy
June 6th 2005


47 Comments


This is *the* emo screamo album I think. Ariadne's Thread is my favourite song.

204409
Emeritus
June 7th 2005


3996 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I guess everybody considers it that but it's definitely not my favorite. They seemed to be pompous and bombastic enough to grow posthumously because they set up a reputation and legacy that has been pumped up by message boards and forums all over the internet. I'd be curious to see how popular the band actually would be today if they kept touring. Probably not as respected but maybe having more fans?

AtTheDriveIn198d
November 2nd 2005


158 Comments


we need more bands like this back. proper emo. hotcorss are still good tho.

Arrakakaka
November 4th 2005


685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

WHOA! "Closed Hands" is nuts! I didn't expect that at all.

Apathy
November 4th 2005


645 Comments


Unstable Mind, you're always on my back about what's emo and what's not. Could you send me some tr00 emo?

My MSN is thomas_mazzetti@hotmail.com

Arrakakaka
November 4th 2005


685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sure. I'll send a few songs from a few artists.

Apathy
November 5th 2005


645 Comments


Thanks man... I owe you one.

weezer1208
February 7th 2006


24 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

easily in my top three! saetia just may have been the greatest band of all time.


204409
Emeritus
February 7th 2006


3996 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Man they have such a sick online reputation but that doesn't mean jack if they're dead. Oh wait Hot Cross gets props now too sweet.

masada
February 10th 2006


2733 Comments


I've listened to some of this.

Good stuff.

204409
Emeritus
February 10th 2006


3996 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Grade > Saetia

Jawaharal
February 10th 2006


1832 Comments


No way
saetia > poop > grade

204409
Emeritus
February 10th 2006


3996 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Saetia is for gaytrons. THAT IS YOU. Have you even been a witness to the glory that is Grade?

Jawaharal
February 10th 2006


1832 Comments


Saetia is for gaytrons. THAT IS YOU. Have you even been a witness to the glory that is Grade?

I haven't heard grade, but I've heard Black Maria, and that gave me an idea of what they probably sound like. But there could be that tiny little chance that I may be wrong.

Saetia is for koolkidtrons, which would not be you. rawr








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