If you are an emo kid at heart, the music scene was probably bringing tears to your eyes for a while, and not in a good way. With the rise of the hipster, emo and screamo started to give way to the indie and folk-rock takeover. Many genre essential bands broke up, went on hiatus, or started side projects. A few booted founding band members and tried to continue on with replacements, but somehow their original magic just wasn’t quite there. Razor blades were poised for the final cut… Then something stopped your hand dead in its tracks. Those intense, magnetic and angst-filled riffs and lyrics suddenly reassulated your ears.
Over the past few years we’ve seen bands reunite, many with original members we never thought would find their way back. Emo lives and here are some of the best resurrections:
Taking Back Sunday: In my opinion, they started this resurgence. After the release of their first amazing album, Tell All Your Friends, guitarist / backup vocalist John Nolan and bassist Shaun Cooper left the band. Nolan was replaced with Fred Mascherino, and the band went on with singer Adam Lazarra leading the group with his charismatic stage presence. Their sophomore effort, Where You Want to Be, was great, but the music started to slip a bit from there. Each follow-up album was good, though progressively less so. When Fred decided to move on, it looked like it might be the end. Then, in a twist that made fans giddy with excitement (or as giddy as an emo kid can be), the original line-up reunited and released a self-titled album in 2011 that was yet again amazing. “El Paso” hits so hard you can’t not want to jump in the mosh pit. Their next album, Happiness Is, was fantastic as well. Try “Better Homes and Gardens.” So much adult angst, it feels like we’ve grown up together. Look out for a new album this year.
Saosin and Chiodos: Two more bands that reunited with original members, this time their singers. Anthony Green (Saosin) and Craig Owens (Chiodos) have the most amazing voices, it’s hard to imagine the bands went on under the same names without them. Don’t get me wrong, the other musicians could have made spectacular albums either way, but it’s those voices that haunt our memories of those particular groups.
With Saosin, the Anthony Green days were like a mirage. The only album he initially made with them was an EP, Translating the Name. After he left on his own, they replaced him with Cove Reber (badass name right?) and he was a solid and talented alternative for a time. Their first self-titled album was strong and “Bury Your Head” will forever be a stand-out track. Unfortunately, their sophomore album just couldn’t hold up to the first and Cove’s vocals started to go downhill so the band quietly went on hiatus after. Jump to 2013 and the band reunites with Green and holy hell did they make a great record. Along the Shadow released in 2016 captures their original sound and then some. Markedly different than Green’s other successful band Circa Survive, yet I can’t quite capture how. It’s just harder, but not hardcore. Listen to “The Silver String” and “Sore Distress” and you’ll understand.
With Chiodos, Craig Owens was with the band for two albums before he clashed with the other members and he and drummer Derrick Frost left. Chiodos went on with a new drummer and former Yesterday’s Rising singer, Brandon Bolmer, and that line-up’s album Illuminado was actually a great record. If they had been a brand new band, they could have possibly gone on to make more music together, but we all knew what we were missing. 2014 re-enter Owens and Frost for their next album, Devil. Minus two more poppy tracks, the record is like the natural successor to their previous album with the singer, Bone Palace Ballet, as though they never went their separate ways. “Duct Tape” is just plain haunting and “Expensive Conversations In Che” is one that needs to be blarred whenever played.
Thrice made the first move to come back. Reuniting and teasing fans with a new album, everyone was anxious to see what they would do. They did not disappoint. 2016’s To Be Everywhere is to Be Nowhere is a momentous triumph. The album sounds like a culmination of their past eight records with many songs embracing a different vibe from their many reinventions. “Whistleblower” could have been on Vheissu, “Death From Above” on Major / Minor and “Salt and Shadow” on The Alchemy Index: Volume III – Air. From the opening song “Hurricane” to their first two perfect singles, the album rocks hard. “Blood on the Sand” and “Black Honey” seem a glimpse into the future and it’s dark and wonderful.
Thursday has started touring again after their hiatus (or whatever they want to call it), but no new music yet. Please, singer Geoff Rickly make it happen! Their music pre-break-up shows an interesting evolution. Their first albums, like Full Collapse, were raw, intense, and full of screaming. Their later albums were more mature and melodic, but still so intense. Common Existence made me wish I could play the drums. No Devolución had the perfect title. There’s no returning, only moving forward. It was beautiful and atmospheric. It was art. Hopefully, they make new music because we want to know what the next twist in their sound will be.
The Early November: Maybe not as well known as the bands above, but a quiet band worth mention here. I enjoyed their EP For All of This and album The Rooms Too Cold, but couldn’t get into their ambitious three-disc effort and then they fell off my radar a bit after that until they went on hiatus. When I heard they were reuniting, I was curious. While they did produce an album in 2012 that I have since gotten into, it was their 2015 album, Imbue, that rekindled my appreciation for Ace Enders and the band. It is amazing and a bit darker than their past albums. The songs pull you in and embed in your brain (get it?) and I didn’t want to listen to anything else for a while. Try “Nothing Lasts Forever” and “Better This Way.” I know the music scene is better this way.
Now if Dallas Green can just make some new music with Alexisonfire…