Review Summary: "And we are another young heart that beat too fast, too soon."
I’d like to preface the following sentence by clarifying that emo is one of my favorite genres of music. That said, it’s also become an increasingly crowded genre in recent years, and as a result there are tons of bands which fail to stand out in the crowd. It’s not always that they’re bad, per say, but screamed vocals and constant guitar riffs have a tendency to sound similar from one band to another. Because of this, emo and hardcore bands have to do something to stand out for me, whether it’s a unique vocal style, exceptional drumming, or strong guitar work.
In case it’s not clear yet, The Saddest Landscape has succeeded in standing out from the crowd. But it’s not just one element of their sound that makes them unique; it’s the raw, emotional instrumentals as well as Andy Maddox’s powerful vocals. The production on “You Will Not Survive” is kept simple. There are no fancy effects here, everything just sounds real and unfiltered, almost as if it’s being heard in its purest form. Maddox’s vocal delivery is heart-wrenching, to say the least, and the rest of the band follows suit with dramatic but aggressive guitar work and ferocious drumming.
Though I generally don’t put too much focus on the vocals when it comes to this style of music, it’s hard to ignore Maddox’s voice. His screams are powerful, and occasionally the music will slow down as he almost speaks in a manner that sounds like he might just have an emotional breakdown, such as at the end of Declaring War On Nostalgia
and The Shadows I Call Home
. The lyrical themes seem to be very rooted in retrospective thinking, and Maddox delivers them with conviction.
“You Will Not Survive” is a very personal record, but it’s one that somehow manages to feel somewhat grand at times. This is due to a number of elements, from the surprise appearance of Bomb the Music Industry!’s Laura Stevenson on Imperfect But Ours
to the slowdown midway through So Lightly Thrown
reminiscent of City of Caterpillar. Even the drumming that opens the album on Declaring War On Nostalgia
feels raw and emotional.
The Saddest Landscape have done an impressive thing in managing to separate themselves from the crowd. “You Will Not Survive” just feels, for lack of a better word, real
. Maddox showcases some of the most emotionally powerful vocals around, while the rest of the band adds to that power with strong instrumental work. In a world where City of Caterpillar is gone and don’t seem to be coming back, The Saddest Landscape are a worthy alternative.