Puto Diablo

The Aftermath Of Comprehension EP

Written by: PP on 20/08/2009 18:38:41

Danish emo/screamo act Puto Diablo's new EP "The Aftermath Of Comprehension" is another release that's been giving me trouble for a good couple of weeks now. It's been bobbing up and down on my playlist to the point that I must have listened to it almost 25 times now, not because I didn't have anything to say about it, but because I wasn't sure I'd be able to express my thoughts on it well enough in words to make the band justice. I could just start by calling the 25 minute EP the band's best material to date - because that's what it is and it sure as hell surpassed my expectations - but I'm not sure that the people who didn't like the band before would be drawn back to them based on that alone. But lets find out which ingredients I can pull out of my review cook book.

Firstly, it's important to note that the band has audibly improved in every area of their sound. The riffs are better and more interesting, the clean vocals are actually on tune now, the screams have become more solid whilst still keeping the oddly identifiable pitch to them, and most importantly, all rapping has been abandoned in favour of more traditional emocore singing. There's a short spoken-word intro that's designed to construct the right mood for the record ("I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out bubblegum"), before "Jukebox Baby" opens the record with a "Yiihaa" shout. It's funny how such a small detail can reveal so much about the album in question, because straight away I had a feeling that the band sounds just that much more convincing than before, perhaps because they believe much more in their own songs this time around. The track has a fantastic chorus, featuring their trademark half yelled, half screamed vocals that are supported by sparkling guitar work on the background. There's a heavy focus on the classic quiet/loud dynamic of emo/screamo as we reach the clean vocal parts, which frankly isn't anything new but the band does it convincingly enough. The riffs are a bit quirky, weird, and southern-fried during many of the verse passages, but that works as a point of interest for the band rather than against it.

The track is followed by "The Business End Of A Shotgun", which is easily the best track the band has written to date. After an explosive start, the first catchphrase arrives ("So scream for nothing and sell yourselves [...] elvis must be turning in his grave"), one that'll stick to your mind straight away. There's lots of melody, and the dual vocal approach between Marco and Danni works brilliantly here. Right before the chorus the guitars start executing a chilling high-pitch scale that underlines the better riffs aspect that I talked about earlier, showcasing the band at their most melodic yet (compared to the past anyway). Throw in a passionately shouted "Ignorance is not a bliss" towards the end of the song and you can't but like the song. After the short (and a bit pointless) break in the form of "Interlude (Fevered Egos)", the band continues to be heavy on the melodic side of the sound spectrum with "Fellatio Won't Fill The Hole In Your Soul". The song first opens with an a Capella scream that develops into great clean/harsh dual vocal contrast later on, and once again I have to mention that the riffs are just so much better than anything the band has written in the past; they are bright, sparkling and memorable. This is also where you can best hear the improvement in Marco's & Danni's clean vocals, because the harmony in the chorus and the bridge halfway the song is perfectly on tune, not to mention that it's irresistibly catchy and sing alongable. There's a breakdown towards the end of the song which ends into a multiple-voice scream fest to top things off.

Afterwards, the band dives into Glassjaw territory with "I Used To Pick Flowers, But Now I Pick You", which begins with a quirky guitar sound that's almost straight off "Worship & Tribute". The cleanly sung, desperation filled "Seven years of disaster ended on a day in June" line towards the end of the song is the highlight before exploding into more chaotic Glassjaw-esque instrumentation and great alternating vocal lines. Finally, "Here's To Better Days", a song about the state of the Danish music scene, takes a slightly more straight-forward approach to the riffs while still keeping things very melodic. The chorus is again very good, but the real reason I like this track is the chaotic finish where you have about a million vocalists singing along in a strange gang-shouted mess. There are so many different sounding clean vocals and screams in the mix towards the end that I refuse to believe they're all just Puto Diablo's - especially the last clean lines sound a lot like Johan from Trusted Few, but I could be wrong of course.

Alright, that became longer than I intended, but I don't mind writing a longer review on a good EP, especially when the improvement from the previous material is this significant. My rating at the end of the review might not reflect this fully, but honestly listening to "The Aftermath Of Comprehension" makes "Turning Points & Respirators EP" sound a little bit amateurish in comparison. There may still be a long way to catch up with the heavyweights in the genre, but inside the borders of Denmark, this EP is a one-up from the rest of the scene, a friendly challenge to the rest of the bands to improve their game.


Download: The Business End Of A Shotgun, Here's To Better Days
For the fans of: Trusted Few, Glassjaw, LoveHateHero, Zebrahead
Listen: Myspace

Release date 12.06.2009

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