Greeley Estates

Go West Young Man, Let The Evil Go East

Written by: PP on 05/06/2008 02:15:30

Lets get the obvious out of the way straight from the beginning of this review: if you're not into the whole emo / screamo / post-hardcore scene, you will probably hate Greeley Estate's newest album "Go West Young Man, Let The Evil Go East", unless you can somehow magically make yourself appreciate generally great sounding musicianship and amazing songwriting enough to skip your prejudice. However, should you be an oldschool Estates fan, or new to the genre with an open mind, you should be prepared for one of the most ambitious, biggest sounding emo/screamo record to date. Kind of like what The Used tried to accomplish on "Lies For The Liars" except more epic, and with much more lasting value. But nothing like what Greeley Estates have sounded on their previous two full lengths. Everything, and I mean literally everything, has been pushed aside from their sophomore slump album "Far From The Lies", and replaced with words like grander, better, heavier, faster, more complex and so much more. The best part of it? Greeley Estates actually succeed almost 100% on a record which has more ambition than the rest of the screamo genre put together.

First off, singer Zimmerman sounds like he took some steroids for his voice at the gym, while in the meantime someone murdered a relative of his in the most brutal way imaginable. He sounds pissed off as fuck, screaming like an uncontrollable lunatic on every track, with enough power, volume and thickness to destroy every wall in your home. Take the album opener "Blue Home", where he opens up with a voluminous I'm NOT A MONSTER! scream, filled with more desperation than Bert McCracken on The Used #1 and #2 combined. His clean singing has become more melancholic than in the past, but at the same time it has improved: he is now singing better in tune, and with much more confidence.

This wealth of self-confidence explodes out of him throughout the record, as he effortlessly switches between manic screaming, scratched yelling and melancholic clean vocals in the same breath, making it sound as easy as flicking a light switch on and off for him. While a lot of the time he can sound over-dramatic and a little too desperate, it mostly ends up working perfectly, especially when the backing female duo vocals jump in on "If We're Going Out, Let's Go Out In Style". The contrast between the absolutely chaotic and the colossally mainstream is so shocking and unexpected that it catches me by surprise even on my tenth listen. And this adds to the epic factor of the record, because on one hand you'll have the female duo calmly singing in an almost choir-like manner in the midst of the racing instruments, and in a direct contrast Zimmerman's desperate screams fly in and out above it all. Producer Cory Spotts (Blessthefall, Job For A CowBoy) has really done a fantastic job in separating the two vocal styles, and making them sound crystal clear even as they criss-cross each other.

Instrumentally, the album doesn't run short either. There are huge breakdowns, which are usually followed by shocking pauses in instruments, where either Zimmerman's genuine clean vocals or the female duet dominate the atmosphere, and a faded classical piano supports on the background... and then BOOM, Zimmerman destroys the delicate balance with his monumental scream. Then there are bits with intricate guitar work sure to give you chills, complete with finger-tapping, scale-races, and all the other emo/screamo goodies. See "Mother Nature Is A Terrorist" and especially the magnificent "Let The Evil Go East" for a great example, the latter easily qualifying for being the best emo/screamo song I've heard in at least two years. Put these elements together with infectious, desperation-filled choruses that have you crying for help at night, and you've got the emo-fan's wet dream on your hands.

However, after all that praise, I have to note one minor flaw with the album. Although it houses some of the best and freshest emo/screamo songs we've heard from the stale genre in a while, it's also slightly inconsistent. The album starts out with a storm, reminding you of early The Used gone more chaotic, but then songs 4-5-6 fall through a little, before the climaxing tracks 8-9-10 (and to an extent, 11) intensely throw you to emo/screamo heaven.

That being said, no track on the record is bad, and every one far surpasses anything Greeley Estates has written in the past. I didn't think it was possible to combine the massive echoing arena soundscape with the intensity of emo/screamo without losing tightness in the process, but apparently Greeley Estates seem hellbent on proving both me and the rest of the media wrong. "Go West Young Man, Let The Evil Go East" is a milestone in the genre's history, a record which will still be listened to in 10 years time when the scene has almost certainly faded away. Most importantly, it is the album that sets the new standard in the stagnating scene, the one that shows others how it's are done. In effect, "Go West Young Man..." is a strong statement that good music still exists in this genre. That it was Greeley Estates who was to undertake this role, I don't think anyone saw coming.

Download: Mother Nature Is A Terrorist, Let The Evil Go East, Go West Young Man
For the fans of: The Used, old From First To Last, Chiodos, Blessthefall
Listen: Myspace

Release date 07.05.2008
Ferret Records / Science Records

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