A Wilhelm Scream - Mute Print
A Willhelm scream is a legendary sound effect originated in some old 50's Hollywood film - it's basically a shriek of pain, that has been reoccuring in many movies (like "There's Something About Mary", "Toy Story" and all of the "Star Wars"-movies). A Wilhelm Scream, on the other hand, is the product of a bunch of guys playing together in a band called Smackin' Isaiah, only to go through some line-up changes and reforming with new fuel and ambitions. "A Mute Print" is the band's sophomore release, and their Nitro Records debut album. Now, Smackin' Isaiah never got very big - which probably is the reason for the band now reforming to put 100% of their time and effort into making music - so many of you have no idea about who these guys are and what they sound like. To be honest - before this release, neither did I. But I'm definitely glad that I, in the midst of anticipating some awesome releases this year, have found myself a new "Favourite Band".
Like a pissed off Thrice. Yeah, that's about how they sound. It's complex, beautiful, catchy, hard, melodius, inspired - but also filled with attitude, aggression and enough energy to power a suburban neighborhood (or a small castle, or something). From opening a capella to closing waltz, this is an album packed to the rim with vocal and instrumental harmonies, stop-go rhythms, hooks, and catchphrases - everything sticky enough to stay with you for a long time (provided melodicore is your cup of tea - I don't see why it shouldn't be though). While aWS sounds a bit too much like Thrice at times (like on the otherwise awesome "The Rip"), both the vocals and lyrics hold enough originality and personality to easily set them apart from all other bands out there today. Lead vocalist Nuno Pereira's pissed off, harsh-shouting vocals - almost constantly backed by bassist Jonathan or guitarists Trevor's singing - might not be the most soothing, but they definitely add to the whole feel of the album. And that's nothing but a good thing.
The bands blazing dual guitarwork and brilliant songwriting is most apparent on Thrice-esque single "The Rip" (a extremely catchy song about how everyone is talking but no one has anything to say), "Famous Friends and Fashion Drunks" (a song I fell in love with upon the first listen, and one that's got me hooked to the point where I listen to it almost every day) and bitter betrayal story "Stab Stab Stab". But they're not beyond writing simple, effective pop songs with melodicore arrangements - like "Retiring" and "Dreaming of Throwing Up". All excellent songs in their own right.
On what should be the downside - there are a few things... Not many, just a few. For starters, it is a bit annoying to, every now and then, think someone just changed the CD to Thrice's latest album. Although Thrice are excellent, they have their style. But, meh - aWS does a beautiful emulation, without resorting to blatant thievery. Other quirk - some of the lyrics are too nonsensical for me. I get the general idea and emotions conveyed from most of them, but some of them just seem like drivel to me... Maybe I'm just reading them wrong, though.
This release is definitely a strong candidate for "Album of the Year 2004" - it's just great. You can really tell that there's loads of effort, time, talent and passion invested in this album. Every aspect of it, from production to artwork to songs to lyrics, just shine with an aura of accomplishment, and I'm totally sold. We've all been waiting for someone to raise the bar on melodicore - this just might be that raise.
:D :D :D :D :)
4.5 / 5