Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Review: Kilgore Trout - The Golden Altar / The Black Hourglass

Kilgore Trout is an emotional hardcore/screamo band from Virginia, the beautiful state that I get to call my home for this time in my life. Besides being named after a Vonnegut character (if you didn't already know that, you need to read more), this band kicks an enormous amount of ass. Also, they have a female vocalist, which rules. Without further ado, let's do the damn thing.

Virginia's finest:

"Roads" - What a great start to an incredible album; Kilgore Trout kicks off "The Golden Hour / The Black Hourglass" with atmospheric, haunting picking, leading into an slow, dread-filled Orchid-esque verse that powers through a full-minute, until it collapses on itself and implodes into a bloody-fingers-fast, energetic riff, all under the scratching, raspy vocals of their vocalist, Meg. Ending this track with slow, self-destructive, clean strumming and dual vocals. Beautiful opener.

"Departure" - Ah, the almighty feedback. Coming in with fuzzy guitars, lo-fi bass, and pounding drums, Meg screams raspily, "All we needed was each other... Or maybe it was me that needed you." With a melodic riff soaking the verse, the vocals get increasingly more aggressive until the drop out--with beautiful bass interlude a la Circle Takes The Square.

"Scepter & Crown" - Embracing the more melodic side of screamo, this song delves into harmony, letting the guitars intertwine over rapid-fire snare, while the vocals bark and scratch at the melody. The last 30 seconds feature lightning-fast riffing and frantic vocals, ended with a lead riff drowned in fuzz. Nice little treat for me.

"In Tongues" - The shortest track on the album, and also, logically, the fastest. Although it is a killer track, with brilliant metal-influenced riffs that chug along head-bobbingly and dual vocals--both things that I love very much--I don't think it really does a great job of showcasing the band's talent at songwriting. But, as a short intro at a live show, I'd lose my shit, so I understand. Keep in mind, however, that this one Kilgore Trout song that I don't love is still better than 90% of your favorite band's songs.

"(I) Regression" - This track begins the three piece ending of the album. Regression begins with a dark, reverb-heavy picked section, while the bass plays subtly underneath, and the drums build until the drop out of the music and the beginning of callused vocals, screaming anxiously. This song exemplifies the newest screamo movement, doing a great service to their forefathers in Orchid and CTTS. Meg's vocals are at their most ferocious in this song, and left me short of breath--in the best way.

"(II) Dead Of Night" - A beautiful, dark, brooding instrumental, this track is reminiscent of (I mean this in the best way, so don't be an asshole, viewer) mewithoutYou's "[A-->B] Life." I honestly think anything else I say would fall short of doing this song credit, so I'm just going to let this song speak for itself. Haunting.

"(III) In/Finite" - Man, it's great to see a band that doesn't let their closer suck. In fact, it's best to see a band that doesn't frontload their albums and pulls out all the stops on the last track, and that's exactly what Kilgore Trout does. This song, taking from all of their best qualities, is schizophrenic to the core, dark as hell, and ends the album on just the note I wanted (and you, viewer, wanted).

This 7-track album from Kilgore Trout is one that explores the range of screamo, and taunts the viewer just into the realm of melody before crushing them with raspy vocals and bashing guitars. The only problem I have at all with this album is the recording quality, but with talent like them, you can bet your ass that it won't be long before Kilgore Trout releases albums ten times over the sound of this one. Overall, a nice treat from my fair state, and a killer debut. Right on, VA.