That Eskimo Callboy are four albums deep is probably their most impressive achievement. Where the handful of other party-metalcore bands who emerged in the early 2010s have completely fizzled out, this German sextet have actually managed to weather that particular storm, despite the fact that their music is both deeply unfashionable and totally stupid. Then again, maybe that’s where Eskimo Callboy’s appeal stems from. There’s definitely some self-awareness about how ridiculous and base they can come across, and for some dumb, uncomplicated fun, they at least have the potential to provide that.
But even though the potential is there, that doesn’t mean they can live up to it. Indeed, for as much as Eskimo Callboy clearly don’t want to be tied down to the bawdy party boy image, they’ve got the agility of an injured slug when trying the make the transition between serious and stupid, and even then there’s little about The Scene that’s particularly gratifying and engaging, just pile-ups of sounds that have no real end goal or natural progression.
And for an album like this, there’s a lot that can be let off the hook, especially pertaining to how monumentally stupid and insufferable this can all come across as. There’s a distinct feeling that the band know this though, and it’s clearly being played up for that satirical value; MC Thunder‘s cartoonish recollection of a car-jacking basically has its tongue glued to its cheek but works in that context, and for the clash of insipid clichés that is Nightlife (see that oh-so-inspired hook of “Clap your hands to the rhythm of the song”), that’s really the point overall. Hell, with its clattering hard-rock stomp and almost complete aversion of screams, VIP actually circles around ironic enjoyment to be a pretty good song in its own right.
But there’s a line to how much this technique can work, and when Eskimo Callboy try to be “sensitive” and “sincere”, the scales tip massively in the other direction. For one, the same hyperbolic spike in the writing really doesn’t work and just sounds like a total adherence to the same wet, done-to-death tropes that literally everyone is sick of. Sebastian Biesler’s hyper-earnest bleating doesn’t help either, and topped off with flagrant levels of AutoTune across the whole album that doesn’t help with satirical means when the satire is borderline nonexistent in places, and tracks like The Devil Within or the atrociously mawkish ballad Frances are dead on arrival.
At least Eskimo Callboy could keep a consistent pace or tone throughout to hit the lowest possible passing benchmark, but they can’t even do that. The Scene‘s biggest flaw is that, above all, it’s just so tired and played-out, relying on metalcore that was dated and had aged horrendously when this band first came out. There’ll be a couple of songs of electronically-driven genericore pulled straight from 2008, a couple more of dull, melodic balladry from a few years later, and the whole cycle repeats over an unfulfilling thirteen tracks. There’s no flow or reason that these tracks should even exist in the same containment, but they do, and Eskimo Callboy themselves seem as clueless as anyone as to how to make these disparate parts that have zero chance of working, work.
As such, The Scene feels like an album of nothing. Get to the end and you’ll have no more emotional growth than you did at the start. There’s no progression, or even any clue that you’re listening to a comprehensive body of work that’s supposed to go together. At least Attila have the benefit of being so deluded and consumed by their own ego that they’re memorable, and it does say a lot that Fronz’s guest appearance on the title track is the longest-lasting element of this album. By comparison, Eskimo Callboy feel like a band who used up all of their ideas a long time ago, and are desperately trying to make the same ones work again. But then again, there’s a difference between beating a dead horse and pulverising it to nothing but red dust.
For fans of: Attila, We Butter The Bread With Butter, Skip The Foreplay
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘The Scene’ by Eskimo Callboy is released on 25th August on Century Media Records.