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Zealious 06-07-2005 03:41 PM

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.

Electric Ocean 06-07-2005 04:18 PM

I commend you for this post, sir. I've only just come across this forum and the lack of knowledge for a supposed "emo" forum atrocious, so much so that I complained in the "Top 10 Bands" thread. If you believe that any bands currently in rotation on MTV and the like are emo/screamo, I urge you to read the above post and checking out the key bands to get a good idea of the general sound/feeling/attitude of the genre. If you still require more information visit:

These sites contain much of what Zealious said but with some added history/definitions. If anyone is still is unsure of what emo is or finds it hard to find some mp3's I'm even prepared to upload some of the key bands for you.

riseagainstrocks 06-07-2005 06:42 PM

The Locust being scremo??? your joking. there is no emotion to that. Just dissonance and political rants.

Well written article though.

PerFeCTioNThrUSileNCe 06-07-2005 06:53 PM


thank you. a definition of "emo" was definately needed here.

who wrote that by the

EDGE 06-07-2005 07:13 PM

Though, I didn't read this word for word.

Work with me here. :usehead:

Electric Ocean 06-07-2005 07:51 PM


Originally Posted by riseagainstrocks
The Locust being scremo??? your joking. there is no emotion to that. Just dissonance and political rants.

Well written article though.

He just said thhat they have influences, I wouldn't call them Screamo either, pretty far from it infact. They're just a noise/spazz/grind band with electronics. Some people might call them "White Belt" grind, though thats not a real genre or anything.

David Frost 06-07-2005 10:42 PM

many of locusts side projects along with ALL of their old stuff on vinyl is emo. even there new stuff resembles more emo than taking back sunday ect...

Electric Ocean 06-08-2005 10:29 AM

To give this thread a bit more substance I've uploaded some Mp3's. They're mostly of recently split or currently existant bands although I've thrown a few old things in too e.g. Indian Summer, Antioch Arrow. Check out a few of these bands as they capture the Emo/Screamo aesthetic quite well. Most have hard fast screamy parts contrasted with twinkly, almost post-rockesque parts. This stuff should give you a basic idea of the general sound of emo:

City Of Caterpillar - ...And You're Wondering How A Top Floor Could Replace Heaven

Saetia - The Poet You Never Were

Saetia -
Venus & Bacchus

Hot Cross - Fortune Teller

I Would Set Myself On Fire For You - The First Word That Comes To Mind

Trophy Scars - Designed Like Dice (Crickets In Tune)

Circle Takes The Square - A Non-Objective Portrait Of Karma

Indian Summer - Angry Son

Antioch Arrow - In Love With Jetts

Though some of these artists might not be the most accesible music, it's meant to be emotional not poppy but I promise you, with this type of music you get out what you put in, just listen to it a few times and be open minded. If you're looking for the most accesible artists here, I'd reccomend you Hot Cross, Indian Summer and Trophy Scars as they are a good, not too harsh introduction to the genre.

Anyway if you're unsure check out these songs and try to persist with them. If this post only manages to make one or two of you understand/appreiciate this little known and often over looked genre then that's all I set out to do. :thumb:

riseagainstrocks 06-08-2005 12:15 PM

^Thanks for doing that, i've been looking all over the place for some COC.

Trauma 06-08-2005 12:47 PM

I guess you're sticking to your word Electric Ocean, tell these kids about emo.
Not "emo".
Zealious, I appreciate your words, but most others see this forum as a place to dis "emo" bands.

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