If Danny Elfman fronted a hardcore band, they’d be Chiodos.
Their crowning musical achievement? 2014’s ‘Devil’.
'Devil' is a new version of hardcore that's dark and mysterious while still filled to the brim with a primal anger we all feel doing tasks as simple as staring in the mirror. Melodic and shrill, 'Devil' is a significant step up from Chiodos' previous album “Illuminaudio”, and not just because it sees the band reunite with Craig Owens, their former frontman, but because it returns their sound to the head-bobbing guitars, haunting synths and double-kick-happy tunes familiar to fans of the band's early work.
Look, it’s complicated. Liking new Chiodos because you liked them before new Chiodos doesn’t make you a hipster. I think.
Ironically, the complexity of “Devil” matches the chaos going on behind the scenes - the musical chairs-esque fiasco that is the lineup of musicians in Chiodos, Dance Gavin Dance, D.R.U.G.S and Emarosa.
Seriously, go down the rabbit hole of Chiodos’ wikipedia page and try to comprehend the layers of in-band feuds he and his pals have found themselves in.
It’s no wonder Craig Owens and Chiodos have some passion to burn off.
On “Devil”, everything sung, screamed or squawked from Owen’s mouth is either sexy or angry, and listeners are equally caught in the crossfire.
There’s an evil whimsicality to ‘Devil’, a musical space where you’re encouraged to examine the darker urges of your mind while laughing and drinking cheap cans of PBR.
'Devil' is the most diverse of Chiodos' records. The piercing highs and guttural lows of Craig Owen's voice are enough to please the heartiest of hardcore fans while serenading power-pop loyalists with tracks like Under Your Halo. Even on these sweetly soothing songs, however, Owens drops lines like “fuck the world without you” so you can still feel tough.
Production-wise, ‘Devil’ reminds me of a conversation I had with my friend Zane sometime around 2003 - we were both in love with the melodic post-hardcore screamo band Thursday:
Zane: “Y’know why I love Thursday?”
Kelvin: “Why, dude?”
Zane: “Cuz they don’t need ridiculous distortion and ultra-clicky kick drums to be heavy, y’know?”
Zane was a smart guy. Still is.
This Chiodos record would also make Zane happy; toned-down guitar riffs heavy on melodies and a focus on vocal quality, lean on unnatural post-production make “Devil” as easy on the ears as it is on the love of intricate, powerful hardcore.
Let’s just say I love Protest The Hero and I love Chiodos, but for very different reasons.
With previous efforts, Chiodos managed to toe the line between absurd and passionate - the haunting circus noise of the Chiodos brothers’ first full-length album “All’s Well That Ends Well”, the playful horror-rock of the disappointing ”Bone Palace Ballet” and the powerful operatic anthems of the Owens-less “Illuminaudio”.
With every album, Chiodos’ rythmic and sexy metal verses mixed with catchy, angry choruses all have one element in common: contradiction.
It’s that tendency to contradict themselves that sets Chiodos apart from bands in the same genre. Contradiction is their fuel, the foundation upon which Owens, John Mess and Jonny Craig of Dance Gavin Dance have built their careers. Bickering, fighting and kicking eachother out of bands they may or not even be members of is intertwined through every thread in “Devil”, be it positive or negative.
With ‘Devil’, Chiodos has created an anthemic flagship of contradiction upon which the entire crew can be proud.
In any case, this is my review, and the surging tension between a band and their formerly estranged frontman explodes beautifully with this punk rocker-turned hardcore kid-turned 30-something Jack-of-a-buncha trades at least.
I’m in the middle of writing a guest post for a talented local copywriter, and I just can’t go any further without taking my own advice. The post is about doing the things that you used to do before you started a freelance career based on those things. I started a freelance career based on copywriting, because I love writing, rambling, and getting thoughts out of my head and on to a piece of paper.
This is also why I started Jargonize Your Horsenoise.
So, here’s 5 random things that I did this summer that totally rocked balls.
1. Drove. A Lot.
I drove to Seattle in early July, stayed for a week, then left on the Friday and drove to Spokane, stayed in a shady hotel and drove to Edmonton the next day. Stayed with my sister in Morinville for two weeks, and then drove back to Vancouver, through Kelowna in early August. Did a lot of thinking. About rock-jams.
2. Being Hot
Read: warm. It was so hot everywhere I went this summer, and it still is here in Vancouver. The heat encourages me to write outside.
I wrote more than ever this summer. Like an obsessed person.
I started Jargonize Your Horsenoise to capture ideas that didn’t immediately present themselves as having a clear cut purpose, but were worth keeping anyways. This blog in itself is an example of one of those ideas. I don’t know how it fits in to anything else I do, and perhaps it doesn’t need to.
So far the best thing to come out of Jargonize is the Clay Chalkboard series, which I can’t fully explain yet either. They’re like, um, an example of chalkboards you find on a sidewalk as you walk down the street. Clay is a bit more permanent than chalk, and it just sounds cool. Could be a marketing…thing.
5. The Internet
Holy bananas, for a non-technological sorta guy, the internet is second only to air for me. You can do anything here. I run a business online, I’m starting a podcast with friends that live a thousand miles away, and everything is automated and organized. This is a good thing, because I literally don’t know what I’m doing three hours in advance without some sort of alarm going off telling me to OH GOD BYE.
Leon hadn’t walked far when he began to consider: do chameleons walk? Of course, they needed to transport themselves to and fro, but could it possibly be considered walking? So not graceful was Leon, he thought as he considered the long toes on each of his four feet and the skinny legs that…wait, legs? Or arms?
Bloop, blorp, blip.
Perhaps the back two were legs, but the front were surely arms. However, why then was he walking on them?
Splush, splosh, splish.
And if these weren’t legs then what were the star-shaped dealies at the end of…
“Gasp! We need rain!”
“Huh? Oh hey there Liargor , Lee-ARE-gor; how are you today?’ Leon asked as he finally noticed his good friend, Liargor the Gorilla, tending to his flowerswith his state-of-the-art watering can in the ground-level yard of his treehouse. Leon also made sure to accentuate the middle syllable of his friend’s name as he always did. No one knew why he did that, especially not the old gorilla.
“I’m doing alright, but I sure wish it would rain some. My petunias are parched,” said Liargor as he removed his trademark purple bowler hat and wiped his brow. “I mean, how long has it been? Three, four days? At least?”
“Um, I’m pretty sure it rained last night. I mean, my eavestroughs were over-flowing this morning and my rain barrels had a flock of geese drinking out of them when I woke up. That’s why I woke up, actually, the incessant honking! All night it felt like! Useless. Useless honkbags.”
“Well, whatever, but I need more rain. My petunias need more rain.”
“I’m actually pretty sure that it’s raining right now,” Leon exclaimed almost emphatically as he looked up into the sky. Sure enough, despite the heavy canopy tht provided the jungle shelter, fine young drops of water pierced the fronds of the green palm trees and splashed onto Leon and Liargor’s faces.
“Pfft,” Liargor the gorilla went back to watering and feeding his flowers, a brilliantly boisterous bunch of colour, vibrant and alive. Leon hummed quietly for a few minutes, content to spend time with his friend, when he remembered why he got out of bed in the first place that morning.
“Liargor, I have question for you. A problem, I need solving.” Liargor’s ears perked up at that. “Did you notice something…different, when you woke up today?”
The usually focused Gorilla set down his watering can and propped one elbow on top of the hand of the other hand across his chest so that he could stroke his silver beard inquisitively.
“It’s interesting you should ask that. What did you say your name was?”
“Right. It’s interesting you should ask, Larry. When I got up this morning and came downstairs I was shocked by what I found.”
“Oh boy, what was it? Was it something different?” Leon hooped up onto a giant toadstool and clutched his knees with his arms in anticipation. He was about to find out what was different!
“Oh it was different alright,” Liargor whispered as he inched closer to his prize-winning (his own prizes) flowers. “So different, you’d think the whole world was different!” Leon shuffled off the toadstool and hopped over to stare at the flowers with his friend.
“What I found…was…”
A silence, save for a few light drops.
“Was that there was no rain and that my flowers need rain and that it hasn’t rained in way too long!” Liargor instantly grabbed up his powerful watering can, realizing his mistake of ignoring his flowers and went back to work.
“Wait, Liargor, we already figured this out, it has been raining. It’s raining now!” But the old gorilla wasn’t listening, so immersed in his passion he was. “Liargor?” No response.
Oh well, thought Leon. It seems as though Liargor didn’t know what was different about today. The wiry chameleon took one last look at his friend’s petunias and the water dripping off them and onto the wet floor of the jungle before shrugging his shoulders and skipping off down the road. Maybe someone else knew what was different.
The Time Machine is a novella written by H.G. Wells in 1895. Although the idea was conceived two centuries removed from this one, the content remains powerful today, and personally is an obsession of mine.
After I first saw Guy Pierce in The Time Machine in 2002 I was hooked, I wanted everything H.G. Wells ever wrote, so I went and bought his original book. This is ironic because it took a story about time travel to teach me about timeless content.
Also, this is a lie. It’s true that I find the idea of time travel mind-cripplingly fascinating and the fact that Wells’ story (about time travel) is pertinent today totally blows my thinker, but I actually don’t own the original book, The Time Machine.
I’m gonna go pick that up, though.
One day when Leon woke up it was clear that every thing wasn’t the same as it had been the day before. He couldn’t quite figure out what thing might be the thing that was causing the confusion, but he was certain that the thing was out there. Or maybe it wasn’t.
He had only opened one eye, but Leon decided it was up to him to find which thing was out of place. Or which thing was in a place it was not supposed to be in. “It’s up to me,” Leon whispered. It was time to get up.
Leon wasn’t a large chameleon (by chameleon standards, that is – chameleons in general aren’t really large, unless they’re sitting next to an ant or a plant that’s also small), but he sure acted like it sometimes. Sitting up on his perch high in his favorite tree, Leon bonked his melon (that’s what Leon calls his head) on the tough branch that kept the rain away the previous night. His fuzzy hair was mussed, his comically large ears perked up and his blue, purple and green eyes went wide.
“That’s it!” Leon shouted, even though no one was around. “That branch is the thing that’s not where it should be! I solved the case!”
This proclamation, of course, was all wrong. The branch had not moved and Leon had finished growing long ago. After a quick scan of he jungle floor beneath him (to search for predators, not to see if there was another animal around who might believe his claim of a suddenly out-of-place branch, even though that’s what Leon would want you to believe), Leon decided that the branch was not the thing that was different and that he must leave home to discover the truth of this most strange day.
I am literally going to write a children’s book exclusively via Jargonize Your Horsenoise. It’s a story about a chameleon named Leon who wakes up one day to discover that all is not as it seems, although he is hard pressed to figure out precisely which thing, of all the things, is different.
Introducing: The Thing That Was Different.
I’ll write more later.
Asked by tumblrbot
Stonehenge, of course! Also, 7-11’s everywhere.