Kaospilot – Shadows (2009)


my fellow americans, we really need to step up our game. we’re getting shown up on home turf, guys. the dizzying chaos of screamo that was born and bred in basements from washington, d.c. to san diego has been slowly creeping across the European continent for the better part of this decade, slowly mutating as it spreads. bands like france’s daitro and sed non satiata and italy’s raein, not satisfied with the short bursts of noise that have trouble finding any context outside of sweaty, cramped basements, have taken the style and reconstructed it from the ground up. they’ve succeeded in molding a new style that is incredibly listenable, complex, nuanced, and well-produced without ever cutting back on the emotional intensity that drew them in to begin with. the european hardcore scene, where Norway’s Kaospilot have achieved veteran status, seems equally as focused on making great music overall as they are on being intense and loud.

Shadows, Kaospilot’s first full-length since 2003’s self-titled outing, slashes and burns its way across huge, meandering song structures and extremely nuanced instrumentals. i cannot say enough about the production here; it is absolutely massive. the drums and bass blast and pound every scream and riff down to the bone, forming a near-indestructible skeleton for Kaospilot’s ambitious hardcore. like many of their peers in the European emotional hardcore scene, their ear for dynamics in both tempo and volume sets Shadows a few tiers above so many basement thrashers.

When you have bands like Kaospilot who are as passionate about musicianship and great sound as they are about playing emotional hardcore, the results are always explosive and exciting. While Americans like Cease Upon The Capitol/Dolcim and …Who Calls So Loud have begun to experiment with varying song structures and dynamics in their hardcore like City Of Caterpillar did in their shortlived heyday, it is the Europeans who continue to drop monumental theses on emotional hardcore that set the bar at new heights with every release.

i wonder what they’ve got in the water over there?

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