On their third LP, SeeYouSpaceCowboy combine the styles of all their previous releases. In doing so, the Californians create an equally atmospheric and aggressive amalgam of metalcore and post-hardcore with elements of grindcore and mathcore without missing out on harmonies and melody. In this review, you are going to find out whether or not this ambitious mixture works out.
The Correlation Between The Firing Squad and Entrance Wounds
In the opening track Life As A Soap Opera Plot, 26 Years Running, monstrous metalcore sections alternate with hectic mathcore elements and borderline blast beats. After a portion of panic chords, a spirited “Wooo” introduces the breakdown, which is followed by clean vocals and finally the feature with Keith Buckley (Everytime I Die). The first song already illustrates one of the band’s greatest strengths: their great dynamics of their sound, which make the different building blocks of the songs all the more hard-hitting. Especially in Intersecting Storylines To The Same Tragedy, the group’s play with dynamics stands out when the song pauses briefly before the instruments kick back in with full force.
In tracks like Misinterpreting Constellations or Melodrama Between Two Entirely Bored Individuals, the quintet’s melodic side comes to the forefront, but is given a certain edge by hectic mathcore and grindcore borrowings, while in Anything To Take Me Anywhere But Here, the latter become more dominant again. In this track, the band’s self-titled “sasscore”, i.e. mathcore with extra sassy vocals, meets harmonies and hard-hitting mosh parts before the song ends in an atmospheric alt-rock outro.
SeeYouSpaceCowboy diligently play with extreme musical genres and combine their different strengths with playful ease, which makes their rich sound feel all the more engaging and natural. Everything just comes together, even if it shouldn’t work on paper.
Personal and social struggles
In terms of lyrical content, the new album revolves around personal struggles and societal problems. Singer Connie Sgarbossa talks about the struggle with her drug addiction, and as per usual, sheds light on social issues. The opening track, for example, deals with the effects of alcoholism on those affected by it and on their relationships. Sharpen What You Can, on the other hand, calls back to the older song Armed With Their Teeth and similarly deals primarily with (queer) self-determination:
“Snap the chains and breath, stand for everything (you love), Reclaim your fate, those hollow hearts that keep calling to end the beauty (are you listening?) of self-expression instilled in ourselves. So bleed your substance until the end.”
Sgarbossa explicitly addresses important topics, but never becomes too clumsy and direct, but also likes to shape lyrics a bit more subtly, in a similar way to At The Drive-In singer Cedric Bixler. However, she hasn’t lost her humour either, as you can tell from song titles such as Life As A Soap Opera Plot, 26 Years Running or Melodrama Between Two Entirely Bored Individuals – the new LP is strong on both a musical and lyrical level.
Conclusion and Rating
The Romance Of Affliction offers a colourful mixture of genres, bursting with energy, but at the same time it is not overloaded. SeeYouSpaceCowboy have perfected their songwriting on this record and skillfully combine elements of all previous album cycles into a very coherent body of work. Features with genre legends like Everytime I Die and Underøath round off the scene sound, which in itself is a massive tribute to the scene sound of the 2000s. The quintet outdoes itself with this release and transports the aforementioned sound appropriately into the present. This LP is definetly worth a spin – or ten – for old and new fans of the band. This is a solid 9/10!
The Tracklist of The Romance of Affliction:
1. Life As A Soap Opera Plot, 26 Years Running (feat. Keith Buckley)
2. Misinterpreting Constellations
3. The End To A Brief Moment Of Everlasting Intimacy
4. Sharpen What You Can (feat. Shaolin G)
5. With Arms That Bind And Lips That Lock
6. Losing Sight Of The Exit …
7. … And My Faded Reflection In Your Eyes
8. Intersecting Storylines To The Same Tradegy
9. Ouroboros As An Overused Metaphor
10. Anything To Take Me Anywhere But Here
11. The Peace In Disillusion
12. Melodrama Between Two Entirely Bored Individuals
13. The Romance Of Affliction (feat. If I Die First)
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