Forest Green – In Waves (review)

Forest Green, 2020

The midwest emo scene has been turbulent and transformative the past few years. Genre staples like Tiny Moving Parts, Charmer, and The World is a Beautiful Place have made waves with their happy-sounding, depressed-lyric forays, but the more tonal side of the genre lies in bands like Forest Green. With a more traditional, alternative approach, this band looks to impress with their debut LP, In Waves:

Emotional and vehement, In Waves kicks off with “5’6″ Ain’t Bad,” a personal diatribe in the vein of Chevelle and Filter. Adhering to the checklist of emo, there’s ample angst, somber guitar riffs, and a drum fill sprinkled in here and there. Leading single “Ivory” lyrically encapsulates the sadness within failure, with a striking outro instrumental fitting the mood exquisitely.

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Gatherers return with new single “Ad Nauseam, I Drown”, sign to No Sleep Records

Gatherers, 2020

No Sleep Records, home to bands like Charmer, Hot Mulligan, and Shai Hulud, have signed Gatherers, a post-hardcore act hailing from New Jersey. After some radio silence in 2019, the band kicked off May 2020 with the stellar track “Ad Nauseam, I Drown” to commemorate the signing.

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Charmer – Ivy Review

Charmer, 2020

The newest wave of emo bands has taken the music scene by storm. Greats like Tiger’s Jaw, Pity Sex, and Tiny Moving Parts make being sad as relatable as possible through this outlet. While some efforts may come off cheesy, others, like Charmer, are able to evoke emotion with a perturbed vibe exuded through each and every song. Does their sophomore album, Ivy, hold up to this high standard?

Ivy kicks off with “Slumber”, establishing its somber vibe through the band’s upbeat instrumentation that’s given weight from its minor key. The pre-chorus, as well as other parts of the song, feature mathy progressions, reminiscent of genre staples American Football. “Dead Plants” has a memorable guitar hook throughout the verses that earns a melody in its outro.

Next is “Doom” with a quicker pace and multiple tapping sections to die for. “Wolf Fang Fist” has the most tongue-in-cheek lyrics yet, with “I don’t really wanna die, so why do I think about it all the time?” The most aggressive, higher-octaved vocals come into play in “Windbreaker” before the most intricate bridge on Ivy thus far.

The most reminiscent track yet, “December” laments a broken relationship over the most complex guitar runs on the album. “Wither” follows, and the highlight of this track is its mangled descent and leadup to the single, “VCR 666,” which received a fantastic music video displaying the fraught, detached mood of the band.

On “Track & Field,” the vocalist asks, “Did I impress you? I love everything you do.” “Sunshine Magazine” is the definitive slow song on Ivy, perfect to space out to; brass in the outro cements the traditional emo composition. The closing song is “Chandelier”, and finishes things up with a long, focused bridge.

Charmer utilizes all of the best pieces of the bands they’re inspired from to sculpt their own noteworthy sound. Ivy is as good of a follow-up as you could ask for from the young band and indicates a bright future ahead of them. Listen to Ivy when it releases Friday, April 3rd!

Interview: Great Grief

Formed in 2013, Iceland’s Great Grief have just released their debut “Love, Lust and Greed” on No Sleep records. Mixing elements of hardcore with pure emotion and some blackened elements, the bands sound is quite unique and is bound to gain them even more exposure worldwide. Having earned a reputation for being “Iceland’s hardest working band”, the guys have played over 150 shows in the US, Canada and Iceland since their inception, and have been called the driving force in the Reykjavik hardcore scene. 2014 saw the release of their first outing, EP “Ascending / / Descending”, under their former name Icarus.  Since then, they have been relatively quiet up until announcing both their signing to No Sleep and their debut. I recently had a chance to chat with the band about the name change, some of the lyrical themes on the album, and a handful of other topics, which you can read below. Be sure to give the guys a like on Facebook and purchase “Love, Lust and Greed” from iTunes, Bandcamp, or from No Sleep!

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