The Orange County emo/post-hardcore legends are back!!
After 7 years since the release of their last full-length, In Search of Solid Ground, the band has returned with their signature, albeit matured, sound. Just look at the promo photo above! Those dudes don’t look like the hip young early twenties punks they once were. The retro LA Kings logo and the “20 years of Mustangs” shirt aren’t really helping the cause much either…
But goddamn look at Anthony Green (far left)!! The 34 year old looks as young as ever!
Woah, woah, woah there broooo. Did you say Anthony Green? As in the talented Circa Survive frontman???
YEAH, BRO! I FUCKING DID!!
Green is once again back at the helm of the band that helped launch his career back when I was but a wee 9 years old. His only previous work with the band, 2003’s Translating the Name EP, is viewed as a classic by both Saosin and post-hardcore fans alike. The album did well on the internet thanks to the whole Myspace scene popular at the time. Green left the band soon thereafter experiencing homesickness, depression, and frustration with his bandmates over the direction they were going and his exclusion from the writing process.
Green went on to found Circa Survive, the talented progressive post-hardcore quintet. He was succeeded in Saosin by Cove Reber, who was much more than just a serviceable replacement. The group signed to major label Capitol Records and enjoyed success during the post 9/11 emo explosion of the 2000’s. But after three full lengths, including their popular 2006 self-titled work, and an additional EP, the band lost steam. Reber’s voice was drained of its magic. Fans felt that he had lost enthusiasm and seemed disinterested in the band. He was kicked out in 2010 and the Newport Beach outfit lay dormant until now.
As a brief little aside, one day last summer I was hanging out in my friend’s garage waiting for a couple of our other friends to arrive. His neighbor walked over to us from across the street and invited us over for a dab and a quick Smash Bros sesh (a super chill combo, as I’m sure you can imagine). While we were in his room, I noticed a Saosin poster hanging above his dresser so I asked him about it. He told us that his high school band once played a show at Chain Reaction as the opener for Saosin back in the day, which I’m sure was a pretty big deal at the time.
As for the guy, he was probably in his late twenties and smoked a lot of weed. He lived at home but was quite swoll and had a well-paying job so I can’t really question his life choices. But his Saosin story was cool.
Okay, enough of my stupid stories.
For years, Saosin fans had been divided into factions over the true identity of the band. Some thought Reber best served as the face of the group due to his longevity at the helm. As great of a job as Reber did in fronting the band during their commercial success, many fans still felt that there was something missing. The true identify of the band, they believed, still rested with Green and his brief five song EP (us music fans always long for the days of old).
After 13 years of waiting for a full-length Anthony Green Saosin record, fans finally got their wish.
Now on Epitaph, Along the Shadow is yet another solid work in Green’s discography. His clean vocals are on point as always and it’s nice to hear him scream (shriek?) again. The album as a whole is pretty safe in its sound and doesn’t push the envelope in any unfamiliar direction. That isn’t necessarily a negative though and several songs are truly enticing to listen to.
“The Silver String,” “Racing Towards a Red Light,” and “Control and the Urge to Pray” are truly phenomenal singles complete with catchy riffs, sweeping hooks, and are all excellent representations of the post-hardcore genre. If you’re feeling brave enough to listen, I recommend starting with those tracks. I also dig “The Secret Meaning of Freedom” for its pure aggression and catchiness once the cleans kick in.
“I’m shocked about how well the new songs have been received. It’s really cool to be back playing with those guys. I’m super proud of the record. It’s one of my favorite things that I’ve ever been a part of creating, I’m so proud to be on it. It makes me really happy,” quoted Green in an interview with Rolling Stone Australia.
Saosin is definitely back and I’m not sure what I’m more excited about. The fact that this sounds like what Chiodos should’ve become (in my opinion) or that Green is using his vocal cords for more than just his high tenor range.
The more I listen to the album, the more I realize how much I enjoy this genre. Screams are certainly an acquired taste but I find them satisfyingly worthwhile. The duality between clean and unclean vocals creates an amazing contrast that can’t be matched in any other genre.
As Green once penned, “They Perched on Their Stilts, Pointing, and Daring Me to Break Custom.”
Now go break custom.