The Saddest Landscape - After the Lights (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Saddest Landscape

After the Lights (2012)


A lot of bands try this punk/screamo outlet a lot but don't refine it to what it should be. There's the raw unpolished sound that works for bands such as Pianos Become the Teeth and Troubled Coast, and a fierce grit that stands out for La Dispute, Defeater and Touché Amoré. The Saddest Landscape uses the proper mix of that gruff sound of screamo with a lot of fast punk/heavy riffs that are evident on songs like "Desperate Vespas" and "Days of Punched In." Both open the record nicely with Vespers giving that militant drum roll that dominates a lot of the album. The focus of the heavy bassline works a lot on this record that gives the right blend of screamo punk into the range of that heavy post-hardcore sound. The latter song is built with faster riffs and their sharpness adds to keeping an impressive punk feel to the record. It's frenetic and dissonant.

Adam of La Dispute did the album's cover on a side note and it's clear they all influence each other. "We are the dreamers / You are the reason that I know I will make it through" adds that visceral impact on "The Comfort of Small Things." With all these bands touring and rubbing off on each other, it's nice to see they aren't giving the same monotonous sound that a lot of bands throw at us. They usually add clean vocals to a screamer and want us to guzzle that Saosin and DGD effect but it's kind of gotten too old, too fast, with all those bands saturating the market. This record reminds me of The Lack Long After by PBTT as it's a breath of fresh air but, despite the comparisons, it's different as it doesn't slow down too much to work on soothing melodies. These guys want to remain in your face.

"When Everything Seemed to Matter" and "The Urge for Permanence" maintain the fast pace as the band emphasizes on a few slower arrangements internal to the tracks. It's intricate yet not that subtle because you feel that thrash punk and mosh jones throughout. In this grit, the songs are not that short and this adds the extra layer that allows the guitar and drumwork to sound peculiar at times, but still craft a cool feel to the sound. Fear Before, From Autumn to Ashes, Dillinger Escape Plan and Circle Takes the Square fans would appreciate the work these gents put in with a good musical range as in "This Heals Nothing." The album is safe to say very solid and rounds off with a slightly slower yet provocative song in "In Love With the Sound," which may be the strongest on tap. This screamo and heavy post-hardcore vibe is decently pulled together, and it's a good sign of things to come from this band.