The Saddest Landscape - Exit Wounded EP
Record Label: Topshelf Records
Release Date: June 11, 2013
It's hard to think of many bands heavier and more emotive than The Saddest Landscape. Throughout their stellar back catalogue, we've been presented song after song of brutal agony and anger and their new EP, Exit Wounded, does very little to deviate from that path. Five tracks in total, the EP serves a couple of functions; knocking you out with its sheer harshness and brutality, and then reducing you to tears with the tired pain of the vocalist. This certainly isn't hardcore music to bro-down to, this is music to get angry and sad to.
Exit Wounded is a stellar EP. Whilst it might not be the most exciting of releases and it doesn't mark any particular change in the direction that The Saddest Landscape have been travelling so far in their career, it's still better than the vast majority of releases in this particular scene. And, aside from that, it hits harder than seems possible. "Heartbroke And Fear Sick" is a destroyer of a track. Sounding a little like a cut from Endless Days And Sleepless Nights, the pained, strained vocals are juxtaposed beautifully with the occasional hoarse spoken word and by the time "I don't know how to say, I'm sorry and I miss you" kicks in, The Saddest Landscape have dragged every last emotion out of the listener.
The rest of the EP is, if not quite as masterful as the aforementioned track, similarly heavy and sad. "Breath In A Darkened Room" is quite beautiful in a strange way. Almost entirely instrumental, bar a few distant screams which seep in at the end of the track, the heavy but intricate instrumentation is a perfect climax for the EP and leaves the listener wanting more. The instrumentation and technical ability on here is so accurate and refined that it's difficult to not be a little bit impressed by the sheer tightness of the band. The vocals are similarly impressive and the lyrics, despite not always being decipherable, are always intense and powerful. The flawed side of this EP mostly stems from the The Saddest Landscape's lack of deviation. It's obvious from listening to them that this is a talented band who are completely capable of creating music out of their comfort zone. However, although they hint at other genres (post-rock, mainly), they always retreat into full out hardcore which occasionally makes it hard to differentiate one song from the next.
Overall, Exit Wounded is a gem of its genre. While its unlikely to be the Saddest Landscape release that people return to over and over, it fulfill its role in providing fans with a little more discography to chew on. With a little more experimentation, The Saddest Landscape could easily be up there with the likes of Defeater and La Dispute for being trailblazers of the genre. Definitely keep an eye out for these guys.