September 28, 2010 - Panic
“I just want to go back to when we didn’t have to drink ourselves to sleep,” screams Andy Maddox with a desperate, breathless urgency on “Declaring War On Nostalgia.” It’s the opening track on You Will Not Survive, the new album by Boston screamo-throwback quartet the Saddest Landscape, their first full-length in seven years. Unfortunately for Maddox, it seems like he’s out of luck—these seven fraught, energetic and visceral songs are consumed by the overwhelming sense of grief, regret and anger that you feel when you’ve been drinking alone for too long. In fact, they act as shot after shot of vodka, each one a brutal, bitter form of self-punishment and spiraling sense of despair.
Melding epic post-rock soundscapes with bursts of vicious guitar and dramatic, shuddering screaming, “Eternity Is Lost On The Dying” may be just under four minutes long, but it’s as exhausting for the listener as it clearly is for the band—Maddox finishes it literally gasping for air as if he’s about to collapse at any given moment. You Will Not Survive absolutely overflows with dramatic emotion like this that builds and builds toward the incredible crescendo of “From All Of Those…,” which closes the album with a visceral, vigorous flourish. It’s almost as if a wild beast is tearing out the heart of each member one by one, yet their twitching bodies continue to play on, determined to fight to stay alive for as long as possible. So heavy and chaotic is the climax that it’s almost impossible to make out the final words being spat, bloodily, out through the speakers: “Let us toast to you and all of our broken lives/The ones that we lived/The ones that we were never meant to survive.” After that, the silence that follows is ghostly, devastating and almost unbearable.