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City Of Caterpillar - City Of Caterpillar (Cover Artwork)

City Of Caterpillar

City Of Caterpillar: City Of CaterpillarCity Of Caterpillar (2002)
Level Plane Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: AnchorsAnchors
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Level Plane Records have had some intergral releases in the world of hardcore and screamo, between Saetia's discography, You And I's discography, and all of Hot Cross's releases. They've all played a decent size role in shaping or redefining the sounds of hardcore and screamo, and City Of Caterpill.
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Level Plane Records have had some intergral releases in the world of hardcore and screamo, between Saetia's discography, You And I's discography, and all of Hot Cross's releases. They've all played a decent size role in shaping or redefining the sounds of hardcore and screamo, and City Of Caterpillar are absolutely no different.

In 2002, the now defunct City Of Caterpillar have dropped on us one of the most promising releases I've heard in years. Equal parts Rites Of Spring, Cave In, and Pg99, City Of Caterpillar have created a meshing of sounds with their self-titled effort that's as techincal as it is passionate, and as beautiful as it is brutal. A lot of bands are billed as genre-defining, and whereas it's usually completely untrue, City Of Caterpillar is a band incapable of being pigeonholed. Is it punk? Yes. Is it hardcore? Yes. Are there lots of atmospheric and instrumental moments? Yes. Does it actually work cohesively? Absolutely.

There is a certain air to this album. One of intrigue, intrigue that builds and breaks through each and every song. There's so much packed into each song, that to truly grasp them you'll have to listen to this album a few times. Condensing and confining Cave In-type atmopsherics, and an old-school punk feel in some of the vocals, and the passionate and intense screaming that reminisces some of the members' former bands, Pg99 and Majority Rule. The album's first track, "And You're Wondering How A Top Floor Could Replace Heaven," starts off quite eerily, with an ominous humming, then followed up with an almost Twilight Zone-sounding guitar. Immediately it kicks into some of that old-school punk sound I was talking about, which is followed up by the intense screaming I also talked about. The dual guitar attack works amazingly well for this four-piece, sometimes mellow and brooding yet absolutely shredding the next minute. The song mellows out at about the 2-and-a-half-minute mark, and then proceeds to build into a crushing crescendo that leaves you almost out of breath by the time this almost nine-minute song finishes up. Three of the album's seven tracks are upwards of eight minutes long, giving it a real epic feel.

Following up this song is the shortest on the album, the frenzied "A Heart Filled Reaction To Dissatisfaction." While not even three minutes in length, this song takes you on a ride, and finishes off with the urgent, screaming vocal assualt at the end while the guitars and drums are pounding equally intensely. The album's third track, "Minute-Hour-Day-Week-Month-Year-(The Faiths In My Chest)" really showcases those moody atmospheric moments that are scattered thoughout the album. The vocals don't kick in until almost the six-minute mark, but quickly cease and give way to an eeriily spoken sound sample, completely surrounded by waves of reverb. The reverb almost completely engulfs the spoken part, coasting into the end of the song far after the spoken word is gone. Track five, "When Was The Last Time We Painted Over The Blood On The Walls" best showcases the excellent guitar work. Kicking in immediately with heavy distortion and not relenting in keeping the mood throughout the song's duration. There is a patch of clean, slowed down guitar in the middle, but it so well accents everything that it only lulls you in until the vocals and pounding guitar comes back in. The vocals and lyrics however, are no less important than the music that drives them.

The vocals have two different but equally good sounding approaches on this album. At times, you get an old-school punk or early emo sound from vocalist Brandon Evans. He sometimes comes off sounding like he could easily replace Guy Picciottio of Rites Of Spring. Other instances, and probably the more prevalent sound, is the screamo vocals you'd get from Pg99. Not too shrill, but just as passionate as anybody else whose sang for this type of band. Either way, the vocals never stray from the very raw, very authentic feel that they keep throughout. That gives them something that would serve a lot of bands around today well: honesty. You don't feel like these vocals or lyrics are contrived at any point, they're always intense, and always seething with emotion and urgency. That adds more to any song than could ever be done in the recording studio through some production wizardry. The lyrics here follow the vocals well, being equally as solid and effective. In my opinion, this is best shown on "And You're Wondering How A Top Floor Could Replace Heaven:" "And not a finger lifts till it all turns to shit / And you all act like you're impressed / You slouch now even further down as you're wondering how a top floor could replace the heaven you once saw so well / We've built it all we've made our gods now we're locked in ourselves." It's not Robert Frost, but it works so well for the music it's enraptured in. Most of the lyrics you'll find are similar to that, though I seem to remember some suspect lyric about a penguin in one of their songs. At any rate, with the emotion of the vocals, every word seems so profound, though it doesn't even necessarily have to be.

City Of Caterpillar have constructed something so beautiful with this album, taking all the best parts from three varying styles and throwing it in a blender. Luckily for them and us, it couldn't have worked better. I can't even just reccomend this to fans of one type of music, as it appeals to such a broad range. The moods created by bands like Cave In with their later material, the raw sound of Rites Of Spring, and the absolute frenzied passion and intensity of Pg99. All of it together has created something so strong, and so soothing at the same time. I love every minute of this record, and given the chance, I'd have to guess many of you will too.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Orchid - TotalitySaetia - A RetrospectiveCircle Takes The Square - As The Roots UndoAmpere - All Our Tomorrows End TodayCircle Takes The Square - Circle Takes The SquarePortraits of Past - DiscographyAmerican Football - American FootballForstella Ford - QuietusHot Cross - Fair Trade And FarewellsPelican - The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
JohnnyMachine (March 20, 2007)

10 out of 10 btw.

JohnnyMachine (March 20, 2007)

thurstonXwhore, are you for real? You call CoC boring? Not loud enough??? Your volume knob must be fucking broken or something, cos there's no way you can in all seriousness call a bombastic, in-your-fucking-face track like A Heart Filled Reaction to Dissatisfaction "boring" nor "not loud enough." And You're Wondering How a Top Floor Could Replace Heaven, Minute-Hour-Day-Week-Month-Year (The Faiths in My Chest)... it's all genius, plain and simple. This is quite possibly the greatest album of all time (either this or Slint's legendary Spiderland album, I can't decide).

As for Maximllian Colby – all I can say is that they were nowhere near as legendary as all the fanboys say they were. But at the very least they spawned the fucking amazing Sleepytime Trio. Sleepytime's Discography record is easily in the top 10 greatest recordings of all time.

P.S. Fugazi – greatest band ever. Nuff said.

thurstonXwhore (February 13, 2007)

This shit just isn't loud enough.

Very boring.

Buy Maximillian Colby's discography instead.

Maybe They'll Gnaw Right Through is a fucking great song though.

fritobandito (January 12, 2005)

one of my favorite albums of the last few years. these kids were excellent.

soulbleed (January 11, 2005)

as much as i love saetia, you and i, and hot cross, they aren't the only bands that influenced others on level plane. pretty much every band except lickgoldensky and air conditioning rock hard nuts. but lickgoldensky doesn't really count beause their crap is only distributed through level plane and they're actually on some other label. this album is as kickass as you say it is though.

wrongstring (January 11, 2005)

"dual guitar attack" has got to be the sweetest description used by critics ever, and by sweet i mean totally cool.

hobbitcore (January 11, 2005)

The chaotic and spastic moments, and the screaming remind me of Pg99, mixed with Cave In-like atmospheric moments, and early emo style guitars, and vocals too at times. There's the Rites Of Spring.

The comparison still doesn't make sense...the chaotic moments sound nothing like Pg. 99 and the atmospheric parts don't compare at all to Cave In (Cave In is spacey and experimental where CoC is dark, brooding, and epic). The only somewhat acceptable comparison is Rites of Spring but you can compare their "emo style" vocals and guitars to quite a few bands more suited to that comparison

I know you like to comment, making a complaint on pretty much every review I write, it's pretty sad. Find something else to do with your time. I know you'll reply with some juvenile comment to the effect of "Maybe if your reviews were good, blah blah.." but save it. You've written one review, so you're really in no place to be critiquing.

1. you write about 20 reviews of "screamo" records per week and they're usually involve albums or scenes I happen to be very familiar with.

2. i've probably only commented on like 2 (MAYBE 3) of your reviews

3. i've written more than one review actually but even if i hadn't, what the hell does that matter? not everyone has time/energy to write several reviews per week.

Anonymous (January 10, 2005)

One of my favorite albums ever. I also enjoy Malady a ton! Another amazing band although not as good as CoC is A Day In Black and White... they're on level-plane too.

Anonymous (January 10, 2005)

Anchors is hellafied screamo.

Anchors (January 9, 2005)

Had you actually read the review, the comparison is explained.

The chaotic and spastic moments, and the screaming remind me of Pg99, mixed with Cave In-like atmospheric moments, and early emo style guitars, and vocals too at times. There's the Rites Of Spring.

I know you like to comment, making a complaint on pretty much every review I write, it's pretty sad. Find something else to do with your time. I know you'll reply with some juvenile comment to the effect of "Maybe if your reviews were good, blah blah.." but save it. You've written one review, so you're really in no place to be critiquing.

hobbitcore (January 9, 2005)

"Equal parts Rites Of Spring, Cave In, and Pg99..."

You've sold me.

too bad that comparison makes zero sense

ThriveToFailure (January 9, 2005)

"Equal parts Rites Of Spring, Cave In, and Pg99..."

You've sold me.

ElVaquero (January 9, 2005)

scott, i can only assume that you didn't quit, you were fired for being so gosh darn crazay.

Anchors (January 8, 2005)

They did.

They have members in Malady, on Level Plane.

www.level-plane.com/malady

Anonymous (January 8, 2005)

I got really drunk and started yelling shit at these guys... now I feel bad.

I obviously missed out.

(P.S. I was sure that this band had broken up like a year ago.)

maverick (January 8, 2005)

"the undeniably instrumentally amazing Planes."

I'm denying it. Their songs aren't exactly the most creatively structured in the world. The band is intense as all hell both live and on recording, but it doesn't take a lot of skill to play what they play, just stamina.

I personally believe that the Malady record has a shit-ton more talent displayed.

-Scott

Anonymous (January 8, 2005)

was anyone else on the way to see them at the blackcat the night they broke up?

Anonymous (January 8, 2005)

great band, saw em open at Pg. 99's last show.

HOT SHIT.

ElVaquero (January 8, 2005)

great review by the way, once this guy gets through opening some eyes to past classics, how about staff-inizing him?

ElVaquero (January 8, 2005)

Wow, Scott, not to doubt your judgement after all these years, but boyyyy, yo ass is trippin' balls!

I'm going to compile my top 10 in a couple weeks and you know that PMFS album is on the top of my list. You can appreciate Malady without taking out some crazy ass vendetta against the undeniably instrumentally amazing Planes.

Anchors (January 8, 2005)

I've heard the Malady record, and I'd say it's pretty solid. I like both Pg99 and COC more, but for what it is, it's done well.

I probably won't get to reviewing that for a while though, I've got a bunch of other stuff I'd like to do. Yaphet Kotto, Hidden Chord, Reversal Of Man, Backstabbers Inc, Some Tree, and The Iceburn Collective. It's a bit down the road.

If somebody else wants to do it instead of me, it's all yours.

P.S. Scott - Planes Mistaken For Stars own you, and your family live.

maverick (January 8, 2005)

El Vaq:

I dunno which Malady songs you heard, but the album as a whole pretty much rips from start to finish. It sounds like the new Planes Mistaken For Stars record if Planes Mistaken For Stars were actually musically proficient as well as being intense.

-Scott

Anonymous (January 8, 2005)

Great band. Pity they broke up.

ElVaquero (January 8, 2005)

can't we agree on emotional hardcore?

Anonymous (January 8, 2005)

but it is amateurish. i guarantee you that none of those bands would refer to themselves as playing "screamo". the word "emo" (a dumb term to begin with) plus the word "scream" equals an even dumber term. there's no way you can sound intelligent while refering to a band as playing "screamo". it's just a rediculous term, no matter what band it's applied to.

Anchors (January 8, 2005)

As far as reccomendations in the vein of this and CTTS, I'm not sure there's much I'd say out right now that really can rival, or come close to either of those in that aspect. Funeral Diner comes closest, comparitevely to COC.

Some other bands playing some good stuff, that you'd probably enjoy if you like COC, are Fall Of Troy, Cowboys Became Folk Heroes, and A Day In Black And White.

As far as Taken/Envy, Amanda Woodward comes closest to being like those two bands, and I'd reccoment them. Solid stuff.

Nobody out right now is like Circle Takes The Square though, that band slays like no other.

And to the kid below me, I'm using it in the correct context, as it was always meant to be used. Did MTV disfigure what screamo is, and try to construe it to be The Used and Thursday? Yes. Has that cheapened the word, and genre as a whole? Probably. But anybody who's actually into screamo, as I am, knows what kind of bands are associated with it, so I see no reason that it would make a review 'ametuerish.'

Anonymous (January 8, 2005)

please please PLEASE do not use the term "screamo" in a review. it's such a fucking dumb term and it makes a review, no matter how well written, sound amateurish. leave that term to 15 year old kids who don't know shit, 'cause that's where it should stay.

ElVaquero (January 8, 2005)

the songs i heard from malady weren't that great. some cool hooks but i was overall fairly unimpressed. completely different style from this band though...

how about some more reviews/recommendations of more epic hardcore like this group, circle takes the square, taken, and envy?

ElVaquero (January 8, 2005)

this album is fucking king.

maverick (January 8, 2005)

Someone needs to review the Malady CD. That thing fucking rips.

-Scott

yellowtrash (January 8, 2005)

Out of all the hardcore stuff that's been out in the past year or so, this really stands out as really good.

Anchors (January 8, 2005)

Colin, you son of a bitch.

I was just looking through the archives to see if anybody did the new Circle Takes The Square, and it was you. Bastard. I really wanted to review that.

Oh well, maybe I'll do their self-titled.

Anonymous (January 8, 2005)

Wow, this is so weird.
I had that same line you quoted in your review stuck in my head all day.

"And not a finger lifts till it all turns to shit..." & at first I couldnt think of the band that I was thinking of. Anyway, great review. But I dont think words can give this album justice. Its just that good.

colin (January 7, 2005)

ridiculously amazing album.

theundergroundscene (January 7, 2005)

This is so amazingly good.

Inspection12e (January 7, 2005)

great cd. i knew who reviewed it before i even clicked the link.

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