Review Summary: A poem is only as good as it is affective to its audience.
Behold the diary of a frustrated teen, of one who is tired of the bull and sick of being pushed around for too long. Have you met him? He usually keeps to himself and confides in only his journal writings, each entry labelled as numbered Documents. Maniacal and full of hate young Pg. 99 pens line after line of self-confided esoteric poems. The years kept passing and the documents kept coming until one day they stopped… Pg. 99 took his journal, filled with all his grief and tossed it into a field only in hopes that someday, maybe someone else will find his documents. Maybe he hopes ‘they’ll realize between the lines of vampires and pink nosed liars that they too could find solace within its passages’.
Document #8 is an appropriately fitting title for this record, because it is just that: a personal diary entry composed of all the anger Pg. 99 holds and it is all the better for it. This album at first glance is very chaotic in nature but to mark it off as a sloppy would be too superficial. Meticulous design and cathartic creativity are the reasons this piece becomes successful because it feels natural.
Document #8 is a concept album both lyrically and musically in greatly differing ways that interplay upon one another to advance the thickening plot. While the lyrics may at times come across as rather angsty, the album actually benefits from it. “She dies in his arms and the wind sends her crumbling” the song ‘In Love with an Apparition’ chants over and over again. Momentum builds as if the character is to be yelling this at something or is angry at specific object. The eye of the storm approaches, he calms and completely lets loose with an indecipherable frantic wail complimented by a hardcore take on a breakdown. Present only to indicate that yes, he has indeed lost it. Why the band benefits from the animosity is because unlike most angst ridden bands the proverbial curtain matches the drapes, by which the instrumentation and emotion align with the contemptible catharsis.
In addition to the lyrics, the instrumentation also follows a concept of sorts. The guitar work on this album is top notch and suits its purpose gracefully. The guitar leads on this prove to be rather interesting due to their chaotic nature, yet often contain bounciness as if are hurdling through an obstacle course, weaving about through the motions of the songs jumping from low to high pitch grinding as the tension builds in the songs. Tension is plentiful consistently throughout this album. Found within the confines of nearly every song exists post-rock passages which may seem typical of a screamo band to engage in such activities alike the works of City of Caterpillar, however Pg. 99 adds an unexpected twist to the element. Most bands have slow, winding, uphill trudges to eventually let loose into short bursts of onslaughts. This album however is only has a running time of 20 minutes, and it lacks nothing because of it. Pg. 99 aren’t here to wank around, they utilize post-rock elements but when doing so never allow the grating tension to subside. The energy only goes from high to madness throughout the crescendos. A prime example of this practice being in ‘The Hollowed Out Chest of a Dead Horse’ where the song starts out hard hitting but only builds up until it reaches organized chaos notably featuring some great bass towards the middle that does a lot to thicken the build-up.
The lyrics represent the exhausted insight for the angst and pain of the character. The lyrics in combination with the instrumentation move through the motions of eroding sanity. During the beginning the character is trying to deny their pain and loss. By the time ‘Your Face Is A Rape Scene’ hits he loses it until ‘We Left As Skeletons’ were the song serves a great service to the tension-filled build up along the timeline. During this song seemingly the protagonist, red faced, stops to catch his breath and attempts to bring himself together acting about as much of a breath of air as one would find on the album. The desperation grows climaxing at ‘The Lonesome Waltz of Leonard Cohen’ where both the vocals are instrumentation seamlessly fuse together to display an emotionally shaky soundscape reminiscent of all previous tension. Finally the storm blows over with a quirky, unexpectedly upbeat song ‘The List’ that shows Pg. 99 aren’t always just about loathing, but can have some fun as well. Ending on a high note the storm is now over. The resulting story is a masterfully crafted album with vocals and instrumentation in unison displaying a existential crisis in music form.