The Saddest Landscape/Trophy Scars - Split
Record Label: Bear Records
Release Date: December 2009
After some time apart, New York-based screamo band The Saddest Landscape came back together in early 2009 for a weekend of reunion shows. Upon playing them, it was clear that the band still loved making music together, and so they decided to officially regroup. They played those shows with New Jersey natives Trophy Scars, and the bands have since teamed up for a split with a new track from each.
The Saddest Landscape takes the A-side of the record with "So Lightly Thrown." If this song is any indication, the break-up didn't seem to affect the group. They continue to write top-notch music with equal influence from the early days of both emo and screamo. Sometimes it's loud and chaotic, other times it's solemn and harmonious, but there's always a strong sense of raw passion. Frontman Andy Maddox has a distinct voice that usually comes out as something of a quivering, strained yell that practically oozes with emotion. The production is as raw as the music, which may turn some off, but the band as always utilized somewhat of a lo-fi sound.
Side B brings Trophy Scars' offering, "August, 1980." The group was once categorized as post-hardcore with distinct emo influences, but this song expands on the eclecticism explored on their last release, Bad Luck. Clocking in at 5 and a half minutes, it's the orchestral creation of a total of eight musicians and includes trumpets, violins, and cello. While it's an interesting exercise in experimentation, the somber track is outshone by the power and intensity displayed by The Saddest Landscape.
Fans of either of the bands will tell you that their lyrical offerings are among the best, and neither disappoints. Both songs tell lugubrious tales of failed romance. When Maddox yelps "I just don't deserve you anymore," you know that he means it. Meanwhile, Trophy Scars' singer Jerry Jones delivery is much smoother to fit the gloomy tone of the song, crooning lines like "The darkness has consumed my forsaken soul."
The split is only available on a 7" limited to 500 (pressed on half black/half clear vinyl, which looks great) and digitally. Prior to the aforementioned shows, the crossover audience between the The Saddest Landscape and Trophy Scars was likely limited, but the split will hopefully open each group's respective audiences to the other band. Not only is it a nice collector's item, but this record is a great taste of material to come from two promising bands.
I thought the Trophy Scars song was a lot better. But they're one of my favorite bands, so that makes sense. Both songs took a few listens before I could fully enjoy them though.
With "August, 1980", I was expecting something a little faster or more growly like on Bad Luck. When I first heard it I thought it was too slow and boring. I think learning the lyrics and singing along with it helped me appreciate more.