Review Summary: Overlooked but fantastic post-hardcore album
Every once in a while a band will write a record that either defines them, or saves them a special place in the history of a genre, possibly even music itself. Most modern “-core” music fans might cite The Opposite of December, by Poison the Well
, Calculating Infinity by The Dillinger Escape Plan
, The Satellite years by Hopesfall
or Full Collapse by Thursday
. Of course if they wanted to go back further it might be bands like Botch
or Minor Threat
Skycamefalling never really had the same impact of the above bands, but 10.21 probably deserves to be in the same league as those other modern bands. This is a wonderfully crafted, finely textured post hardcore album with angry, larynx shredding vocals and a strong musical and lyrical theme running through the tracks.
The lyrical theme, somewhat unsurprisingly, ties into the title; “10.21”. I have to admit it confused me at first, decimals not being the most common of descriptive tools. But I soon realised it was my crazy English date system making me miss the point; this is a date, a period in time that means a lot, the start of the end, or possibly the end itself. The emo influence of the album is most felt in the lyrics, which are almost completely about the breakdown of a relationship. The eyeliner jokes don’t have to start just yet though, as this is a very well written album. “November’s neverending” is about the dark of winter and how it never seems to end, and is compared to the initial feelings of loss and the struggle to move on. “The nothing” is about a relationship ultimately leading to nothing, and hints at what he wants to hear:
‘So where were you when one heart became two?
When three words became more than you could chew?’
The fear, anger and shock at no longer hearing “I love you” back wouldn’t be the same without Chris Tzompanakis’ vocals, which are screamed from his lungs and given their gravely edge by his throat, rather than the deep metal roars that come from the stomach like some other bands like between the buried and me for example. If you’re already into the bands mentioned in the first paragraph this shouldn’t really be a problem, as his voice never falters, and is as angry and emotive as the genre can be. Cameron Keym adds a melodic counterpart to Chris, but he rarely sings, mostly using spoken word, but when he does sing he is more than capable.
He is also a more than capable guitarist and pianist and probably the reason why this album slots together so well. This album contains three instrumental parts; an introduction, a short instrumental, and the title track, a nine minute epic featuring swirling, lightly picked clean and acoustic guitars and pianos that have eastern influences and lightly rolling drums with percussion, that crescendo to a finish. This is a true breath of fresh air, and they all have the same musical theme, which really sticks the album together and is a great concept for a genre that can often lack creativity.
The eastern influences venture into the “main” songs, but often it is about crushing guitar riffs that constantly shift from one passage of the song to the next, choruses don’t live on this album. The songs are all very well arranged and I can’t say that there is a bad song on this album; the interaction between the two guitars is wonderful when they are playing complementary riffs or playing the same lines for emphasis.
The drumming is also a highlight, with varied fills and rhythm sections, which you would expect from a band that like to vary time signatures and move the song forward how they like rather than sticking to a 4:4 because it leads to a good chorus. If all this sounds good to you and you like the bands above I highly recommend you listen to “The Nothing”, “With Paper Promises” and “10.21” because they cover everything about the band. Then once you’ve decided it’s worth your pennies download/buy the CD and add it to your life and save a place in history for it, even if it just your personal history.