At The Soundawn

Guttural screaming vocals in rock – it’s like Marmite isn’t it? You either love it or hate it. I must admit that this kind of hardcore noise is not usually my toast spread of choice.

On first listen to this seven track mini album I wasn’t sure I would be able to stomach the shrieking that makes a direct hit on your ear –drums within the first few seconds of the first track. But as with most hardcore bands stick with the tough stuff and the more subtle tones lurking under the squealing can be most fulfilling.

At The Soundawn produce an extreme version of the loud-quiet-loud dynamic as invented by The Pixies all those years ago at the height of the ‘Grunge Wars’ (© Geffen records 1991) Although the actual melodies, tunes and lyrics that made those new sounds such a thrill are not quite as prominent as in their erstwhile indie-rock pioneers most ground-breaking work.

Vocalist Mirco screams into the mic for all he’s worth; interspersed with more melodic interludes where you can even almost here snippets of words from the songs. For example the third track in ‘One Day Before’ starts off with a lilting guitar line; before building up through some heavier riffage. The banshee like screeching then kicks in; and if you can get through this the closing guitar sections coupled with gently murmured vocals are actually rather exquisite.

On the next track ‘Phone Will’ following Mirco’s initial rasping surge the vocals completely give way to the lush, resonant sounds created by guitarists Matteo and Andrea. You may have gathered that I’m not a fan of someone screaming in my ear for pleasure - this means that this track is a definite highlight for me.

The album tends to follow this pattern throughout – but there are enough changes in tone and structure to keep up the interest. If I can remember that’s it’s not all screaming then I’ll definitely revisit for further listening.

Steve Claire