Review Summary: Saetia, one of the cornerstones of screamo, proves its glory in its highly dignified debut LP.
Shortly lived screamo band Saetia was, to be blunt, the cornerstone of a genre. Oh, sure, there was screamo before them; there would be I Hate Myself in Florida, Orchid in New England, Loma Prieta in California, and pg. 99 in Virginia; heck, there was even Raein in Italy! But Saetia, originated in New York, thrived nonetheless in their 3 year career, influencing said bands. How did they do it? Good question -- they weren't exactly "innovative" to any extent in their lifespan. Sure, they were a bit heavier than the emo of the time (excluding emoviolence), they were aggressive, lo-fi, and unbelievably punk rock. But the answer to the original question lies not in their excogitation, but in their music:- behold 'Saetia.'
This nine song debut LP (proceeding 'Demo Cassette') was both scrappy and melodic, the immature production of Level Plane Records notwithstanding. Superb in its impact, first track "Notres Langues Nous Trompent" (which tanslates to "our languages decieve us") attacks the listener with shrieking and melody in one blow, assuring that said listener pays attention -- this won't just be another screamo record. Track 3, "An Open Letter", acts the same way in its predatory yet poetic nature, as do tracks 6 and 7, constantly pounding your eardrum with raw aggression. Track 9, "Endymion", is a good conclusion to the LP, but this track brings the songs we have NOT talked about into question; their "indie rock" influence...
Is it "bad?" No, not necessarily -- it all depends on the auditor, mind you (for me it was face-palmingly hideous) -- but amidst SCREAMO songs, well, that's a completely and totally different story; indeed, in might even change the quality of the songs. This album's categorial inconsistency is the main concept that will degrade this as part of Saetia. Not only is it BAD, but it definitely does NOT flow with the vocal hostility of this album, especially when acoustic guitar is mixed with screaming; this occurence is displayed quite perfectly in track 2, "The Sweetness and the Light", which is a really bad song anyway. "Woodwell", track 4, is just boring, as is track 5. When they try to do calm music among sheer chaos, it does not work. Fortunately, other bands such as I Hate Myself have been able to pull it off, but this was after Saetia; they made other bands better indirectly.
Once you have concluded this nonuplet of an LP, ponder underdeveloped in taste and production, debut record 'Saetia' is just that; young, precious, a baby wrapped in a blanket, clinging to its mother's bosom. It may have its imperfections: it screams in helplessness sometimes, and other times is as peaceful as an angel. But somehow, it seems uneasy when it isn't helpless among its vaguely defined emotional episodes. You have to get used to it to truly appreciate it in its fragile beauty, as a young being -- but I digress severely. Give this album a listen, and like it or hate it, give it another chance; sure, the songs might be boring or inconsistent, but it's very important that you listen to it as many times as it takes, and eventually, tears will well up in your eyes when you really hear Saetia in all its glory. 3/5