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Old 06-07-2005, 03:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
Zealious's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: NJ
Posts: 375
Default To help some understand Screamo

Well a couple members here said that they took my input seriously so this week my only post will be this:

"In the early 1990's, the term screamo would be closely aligned with Gravity Records' bands primarily forming on the west coast, particularly in San Diego. Back then they called it emo, a shortened genre title to describe the more EMOtional aspect of bands influenced by hardcore and punk. Early 90's west coast screamo bands include the likes of: Mohinder, Angel Hair, Heroin, and Second Story Window (not to be confused with From a Second Story Window, a western Pennsylvanian metal act), just to name a few.

The problem with this term emo is, when bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate and Texas is the Reason started coming out in the mid 90's, they began using the term emo to describe the emotional aspect of their music and lyrics, and relate it back to their direct influence from hardcore. The problem with that was there was no screaming. I think a main factor in the changing of the "genre" name was to keep these bands' screaming credibility.

The modern term "screamo" as we know it, is first and most closely aligned to the likes of Saetia. In the late 90's, many bands from the east coast began pulling heavy influence from these early 90's Gravity Records bands, but with some modern flair. Modern screamo almost always refers to a group of east coast bands featuring college level kids looking to provoke thought and release their own aggression through the power of music. These bands typically stretched from Massachusetts to Virginia and rarely further west than Philadelphia (with a few exceptions, such as Georgia's Portrait). Although the term is first related to the likes of Saetia, I personally believe that there were lesser known predecessors. For instance, a pre-You&I band known as Instil first started playing shows around 95/96. Around 1997-98, bands such as Saetia, You&I, Usurp Synapse, Jerome's Dream, and Orchid began popping up playing in basements and other tiny establishments to only a few people. I've heard the late 90's screamo criticized as "artsy" and "pretentious," but I think naysayers don't quite understand the intended point of this movement. Normally, when a hardcore/punk kid begins college, he/she starts to understand him/herself better. They will grow bored of the "posicore" crap of the 80's and move to an entirely new genre of music and thought that isn't nearly as socially aware. Rather than abandon their roots in hardcore or punk music, the modern screamo kids wanted to expand on a tired sound and keep themselves socially, politically, and emotionally aware.

The following is a rather short list of screamo bands from this later era that is probably not nearly complete enough (feel free to let me know whom i forgot):

Saetia, Instil, You&I, City of Caterpillar, Songs of Zarathustra, Orchid!, Jerome's Dream, Page99, Forstella Ford, Neil Perry, Usurp Synapse, Joshua Fit for Battle, Portrait, DeadSeraphim, A Trillion Barnacle Lapse, Linus, Red Scare, Reversal of Man, Makara, Racebannon, Hot Cross, Lickgoldensky, This Ship Will Sink, Melt Banana (Japan), Envy (Japan), Welcome the Plague Year, Anodyne, Malady, The Assistant, Mannequin, A Day's Refrain, Transistor Transistor, The Wolves, Ampere, and Bucket Full of Teeth.

It is worth noting that by 2001 or 2002, the majority of these screamo bands disbanded. I think most of the reason can be attributed these kids finishing college and moving in separate directions with their personal, social, political, and emotional agenda. My personal opinion is that a lot of public interest in screamo waned by 2002. Of course many of the first string of modern screamo bands didn't sell out their beliefs of playing till their hearts stopped. Hot Cross, for instance, features ex-members of You&I and Saetia. The Assistant also featured former members of You&I. Bucket Full of Teeth, The Wolves, and Ampere all feature(d) ex-members of Orchid. Malady features former members of Page99 and City of Caterpillar. These more current bands still carry on with the screamo aesthetic, but with more maturity due to the fact that they're older and wiser now.

To boot, there are bands now that are heavily influenced by screamo that also help to carry the torch, including (but not limited to), Circle takes the Square, I would set Myself on Fire for you, Since by Man, and The Locust. Unfortunately, I think the growing popularity in bands like Since by Man and The Locust have forced their later releases into a sort of "accesible screamo" which in and of itself is an oxymoron.

I think when you kids argue over the screamo-ness of any particularly popular outfit, you're entirely missing the point. Finch, Thrice, FATA, Poison the Well, and especially Thursday are all well rounded musicians. The members of these bands enjoy products of many underground revolutions, including, but not limited to, screamo. These bands happen to use the emotional aspect without embracing the "arty pretense." For instance, Thursday, being from New Brunswick, played many of their first shows with You&I. They count You&I highly on the influence list. When listening to Thursday, their "Full Collapse" album sounds particularly screamo (moreso than the other bands' albums). I think Thursday's singer takes 3 main aspects from his bretheren in You&I: vocal patterning, vocal layering, and lyrical content. When Geoff Rickley decides to use 2 or more separate vocal patterns at once, they juxtapose each other beautifully. This is a page from You&I. A band like Finch or Thrice will do this much more subtly than Thursday. Extra vocals for these bands are more in the background, but the emotionally and socially aware conscience remains. Poison the Well's first album used a lot of screaming over clean parts, a concept first put into place by screamo bands. FATA I don't even want to touch base on because to me, they're more metal than screamo. I think people use the tone of the drummer's ****ty whiny voice to align it with screamo, when in reality it draws no parallel to screamo music. Keep in mind that although I haven't touched base on most of the bands you mentioned (ie atreyu, alexisonfire), they're not screamo. I think a good tool for measurement would be: If you've heard of them, they're not screamo. Screamo isn't about the genre, or the money, or the touring, or the girls, or the chops, or the fashion. It was about the music and the moment. I think, for the most part, "the moment" is gone and most bands considered to be blatantly screamo are just retreading a path already carved. It's sad to say I missed out on most of what these bands were doing at the time they were doing them. I'll have to tend to agree with previous posts that say not to really call it screamo. These bands weren't doing it because it was screamo. They were doing it for themselves.

Read it and have fun in this dissipated so called "emo" forum.
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