The relationship between metalcore and nostalgia is an interesting one, mostly because there’s never really been a general consensus on where the most potent nostalgic stimulus falls. It’s still a relatively new genre for one, and while emo and post-hardcore have recently been reaching back to their mid-2000s variants to capitalise on that familiarity factor, that same period was when metalcore’s prominence was reaching a peak either with the generic slurry that really hasn’t gone away, or within the MySpace scene with garbage like I Set My Friends On Fire somehow rising to the top. But with the proliferation of bands like Vein or – to a far lesser extent – Wristmeetsrazor, the surge of more underground, technically profiecient metalcore from the time has been producing something much more interesting than typical nostalgia pandering, and this year especially, SeeYouSpaceCowboy have been making their bid to stand high among those ranks. They released Songs From The Firing Squad earlier this year, a compilation of earlier EPs and demos that received plenty of critical acclaim for the sort of frantic, frenzied metalcore that few have bettered in a good number of years, balancing the irreverence of those MySpace bands with the forward-thinking angularity of bands like Botch in almost perfect equilibrium. They, along with Vein, are the band spearheading this new wave of old-school metalcore, and the fact that SeeYouSpaceCowboy have established that position so early on is immensely promising of what’s to come.
And subsequently, The Correlation Between Entrance And Exit Wounds has the vast majority of albums calling themselves metalcore nowadays pale in comparison to it. Not only are SeeYouSpaceCowboy re-injecting the buckets of creativity into a genre that’s been drained of it for years now, but there’s a viciousness in the way they do it that just completes their perfect representation of what metalcore has been so thoroughly starved of. Basically, this is absolutely great stuff that’s essential listening, especially for anyone who’s been checked out on metalcore for any considerable length of time, but also for those that want a band bringing tremendous progressiveness and breathlessness in absolute spades.
That’s primarily where the thrill of SeeYouSpaceCowboy lies, and how they’re able to condense such a manic sensibility into two-to-three-minute bursts while still feeling like wholly complete packages. There’s definitely an emphasis on pushing the hardcore forward that metalcore’s earliest incarnations mutated from, and when that comes in the form of the screeching, warped shrapnel of Armed With Their Teeth or the low-slung snarl of Prolonging The Inevitable Forever with its seismic bass and breakouts of discordance, there’s definitely a contemporary edge that’s applied to it that SeeYouSpaceCowboy knock out of the park with almost no trouble. Then there’s Connie Sgarbossa, and in the current scene, it’s hard to pick out a vocalist that can bring an intensity and blistering, bristling shriek to the same extent as her. She has the sort of emotional overflow that works wonders for this type of music, as well as the sharper timbre of 2000s hardcore and screamo that leans towards an incisiveness that only makes it all cut deeper. And even beyond that, there’s a level of dynamism that SeeYouSpaceCowboy can bring when they mellow out that brings to mind that wider MySpace scene, somehow without seeming even remotely forced or mawkish. When With High Hopes And Clipped Wings dips down to melodic guitar flutters reminiscent of Madina Lake of all people (and similarly when the next step is taken to fashion that into a fuller piece on Late December), it honestly shouldn’t work and wouldn’t from basically anyone else, but when SeeYouSpaceCowboy are so directly rooted in an emotionality that shares a lot of similarities with emo like that, the end result does pay off even if the blending can leave a bit to be desired.
And of course, that directly feeds into the writing, where SeeYouSpaceCowboy aren’t necessarily pushing against the wider parameters of their own purging, but they aren’t pulling any punches either. They already have one of the most vicious sounds around, and to have that feed into expected chastising of the current US political system and Sgarbossa’s personal anguishes around the creation of this album immediately lends a vigour to these sentiments, but also a vulnerability that becomes so necessary when balancing everything out. That can be perhaps most pertinently felt on Put On A Show, Don’t Let Them See You Fall, a song that’s very much anchored to the emotional purging that colours so much of this album, but in its message of standing up to adversity that in lyrics like “Don’t be afraid to exist” feels directly targeted to the LGBTQ+ community, it’s exactly the way that this sort of self-esteem anthem, especially within a subject of this magnitude should be tackled.
It’s just one piece of an album that feels so wonderfully complete in everything it’s trying to do, from a band that could well be one of the most exciting currently in metal, not just metalcore. This is far more than just a nostalgia trip; SeeYouSpaceCowboy are perfectly capable of providing that, but there’s a modernity that’s so crucial, and a tightness in composition that never lets up for even a second. It makes for one hell of an impactful listen, even just from how charged it all is, and one that just keeps delivering more and more upon every fresh spin. This is the sort of band that the scene desperately needs more of, and to have SeeYouSpaceCowboy’s revolution spread even further can’t come soon enough.
For fans of: Vein, Botch, The Number Twelve Looks Like You
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘The Correlation Between Entrance And Exit Wounds’ by SeeYouSpaceCowboy is released on 27th September on Pure Noise Records.