Saturday, March 16, 2013

Review: Strangers Now/Enta Split

Wow. Well, boys and girls, I'm beginning to wonder where the bad bands are. For the past two weeks or so, every band I've gotten the chance (or, should I say pleasure) to review has been absolutely incredible. In fact, I feel like a broken record sometimes, just repeatedly typing "incredible" into this small writing space that I have. And, yet again, I've been dealt a wonderful hand with this split! Coming from the always wonderful, always lovely Skeletal Lightning, this split actually marks the label's first ever vinyl release! And, boys and girls, it's a damn good one. Strangers Now plays melodic hardcore like you've always wanted to hear, and Enta writes the atmospheric, emotional hardcore (I grew up in an era where "screamo" was a death sentence, so I hate using the word) that will make you cry and sweat like your favorite band tried to do.

If you don't listen to this album, you're an idiot:

Enta "Become" - Enter melodic, clean-picked lead, layered over frail, reverb-heavy notes from the rhythm, and crisp, solid snare hits. I'm a sucker for layered guitar, and these dudes hit all the right spots. Raspy vocals, screaming hoarsely over a sonically-induced coma/heaven. Emotion bleeds from the throats of the vocalists, ripping across the delay from the lead, and crashing into the cymbals with every frantic bash. I can't remember the last time an atmospheric post-hardcore song over 5 minutes didn't bore me, but this captivated me all the way through--all 352 seconds. I was waiting on the hook of every time change, every word, sweating with anticipation. I'm sweating. Damn.

Strangers Now "One Thirty-Six A.M." - Growing up loving bands like Life Long Tragedy and Modern Life Is War, this song makes me feel all kinds of tingly. This is real, emotional hardcore that tons of bigger bands have tried to do recently, but none of them have quite nailed the emotion and pain that Strangers Now has introduced us to. More along the lines of forefathers Give Up The Ghost and American Nightmare, this track will make you love melodic/emotional hardcore again. If you like We're Down 'Til We're Underground, you're going to love this band. Actually, regardless of your musical preference, you will love this band. They're irresistible.

Enta "Ghoulish" - In an effort to show us that they can master any style of emotional hardcore, Enta uses this track to showcase a faster, more aggressive style of the sub-genre. Bringing to mind We Were Skeleton's faster songs, and even a small (but still there) Give Up The Ghost influence, this track is an absolute crier. Most bands write about emotion, but Enta makes you feel it like very few bands can nowadays. I am in love with this split, in case you couldn't tell; but, even if I wasn't, there's no denying that these two bands kick more ass than 90% of their contemporaries.

Strangers Now "The Love I Had" - With this track, Strangers Now has passed the point of tapping their GUTG influence, and has driven a pickaxe into the source of the spring. Maintaining equal parts emotion and aggression, this song is a slow death, and doesn't let the listener look away for even a moment. With complete mastery of their instruments and raspy vocals, they belt out, "You were supposed to be the one that understood me." Clearly coming from the bottom of a blackened heart, this song strikes right into the gut of the listener. You will know pain when you listen to this split.

Enta "Unchanged" - "There is no hope, there is no comfort here." After a short, fast intro, Enta plummets back into their slow, anxious verse, complete with soaring leads, a manic depressive bass, and heart-wrenching screaming. There's not much I can say about this song, without taking away from the credit that it has earned itself. This song shows us--as well as the 90% of bands that they outplay--what emotion in music sounds like; what it feels like. "Everything will be okay. We will remain unchanged."

This split, shamelessly, had me crying; weeping both tears of pain and joy. From one end, it is emotionally charged, evocative, and brings out the emotion that is hidden within all of us--the pain we've forgotten or refused to deal with. From the other end, it brings me the most joy that this split is one that actually exists, and will revitalize the stagnant emotional hardcore scene that exists all around us. This is not the "same ol' same ol'," boys and girls, this is a whole new ballgame.