Chiodos - The Heartless Control Everything (as Chiodos Bros) (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


The Heartless Control Everything (as Chiodos Bros) (2003)

Search and Rescue

If you judge this EP by the first moments of seemingly standard "emo" in the intro of "Compromise of 1984", you would be way off, because this band doesn't stick to that style, or any style for that matter, throughout the record. You will continue on and hear Thursday-like screams and keyboards, and yes, so far all the elements still seem fairly typical of bands of the genre. But there is something else with these guys, and at first it is hard to put a finger on it.

The band is six young rockers from Michigan, and they try hard to switch things up within the disc. Throughout the tracks you get laid back "indie" moments, lymph-node-forming hardcore, and melodic choruses. The band put a bunch of energy into all the different elements, managing to pull it all together, even within single songs. When you're listening, one moment you're screaming nonsense syllables along to a harder section, and then all of a sudden you are tapping your foot, singing a catchy chorus, and you wonder how you got there.

A particularly catchy track is "Vacation to Hell" one of my favorites. It has a quiet introduction containing simple guitars, harmonized vocals and piano along with an underlying synth part, but quickly bursts into a chorus that will have you singing the Alkaline-esque "I'm taking down these pictures of you on my wall / these scars still bleed / and I'm letting them drip on our past." Then the next song "The Lover and the Liar" shows their eclectic nature, when after that last catchy tune, this one starts with drum hits and bass, which grows into lots more screaming. But even this one has a cheesy section full of piano along with pop-punk style skips in the music. It's cheesy, but good cheesy. The trick is that these sections are sparse, making them more effective. The screaming, which could also grate on one's patience after a while, is also done tastefully and at appropriately times.

There is a raw sound to this EP, which for the most part, does not hurt the overall effect. The sound quality isn't really what's lacking here, it's more of issues with tightness and some tempo fluctuations; however I think it gives the CD character, and this disc probably sounds more like their live show than with most bands. These guys can obviously play, so perhaps the sloppy moments are just a result of rushed studio time or budget issues. Unless you are accustomed only to ultra tight pro-tooled production, this should not be a problem for you. However, the band should watch out for these moments in the future.

The Chiodos Brothers are all 20 years old or younger, and what they are doing is already good stuff. This EP is very diverse in styles and pulled off well, they just have a few tightness issues and even those may work themselves out with a better recording. I will look forward to their future efforts.