The Saddest Landscape

Exit Wounded EP

Written by: PP on 26/08/2013 22:52:37

So you can't avoid having run across The Saddest Landscape if you've been following the developments within the 'wave' style of emotional hardcore / post-hardcore. They've gained much respect through their post-rock based, ambient style that's juxtaposed directly against the anguished vocals of singer Andy Maddox and the original screamo backdrop that he brings to the expression. It's a soundscape of passion, desperation, and brooding darkness (from an emotional viewpoint, at least), but also one where you (still) have to struggle to appreciate Maddox's unusual vocal delivery. Boysetsfire is another band with a similar vocal style which have long battled with the same problem.

And that I see as the core issue as to why The Saddest Landscape aren't sitting at the top of the 'wave' scene instead of just appearing to approach it from different sides without the ability to have a full breakthrough of the kind we've seen with Touché Amoré, La Dispute, and before them, Envy, who are the primary influence for The Saddest Landscape's sound. Their soundscape may be depth-laden in that there are layers upon layers of instrumentation to discover and enjoy, but much of it is hidden underneath Maddox's frankly irritating--albeit still raw and undeniably passionate--vocal delivery that's clean all the way with a rough lower range to it. The screamo of other bands is therefore skipped and replaced with a unique style, but alas, unique is not always a good thing.

But by track three of "Exit Wounded", the instrumentation becomes so emotionally powerful with its Traktor/Saetia style original screamo chaos that Maddox's relentless style starts to match up a bit better. Track four, "Coffins Like Ours", is probably the highlight track of the EP, because here the melodies are at their strongest, the tempo of the song is at its fastest, and the whole expression is drowning in urgency and immediacy of the sort not seen elsewhere on the record. So when you compare this EP to their previous albums "After The Light", and especially 2010's "You Will Not Survive", it feels like a step down, because there aren't enough tracks like "Coffins Like Ours" spread across the record. Or maybe it's just the genre becoming saturated and too many bands doing this style, but The Saddest Landscape are falling behind with this release, while still sounding fairly decent in the process.

Download: Heartbroke And Fear Sick, Coffins Like Ours
For the fans of: Pianos Become The Teeth, Suis La Lune, Defeater, State Faults, Envy
Listen: Facebook

Release date 11.06.2013
Topshelf Records

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