Various Artists – Emo Diaries Chapter 6: The Silence in My Heart

Various Artists
Emo Diaries Chapter 6: The Silence in My Heart

By now the term “emo” has weathered the backlash. Bands no longer seem to willfully embrace the term, yet they sneakily allow it to be used to attract the fans drawn to the melodic style of post-hardcore rock. And now, on the sixth addition of their Emo Diaries compilation series, Deep Elm is back with 12 more bands who would probably tell you to your face they don’t want to be associated with the term but embrace the sound and the chance to reach the audience this series has.
Once again, Deep Elm mines the world to find bands on this compilation, drawing artists from Japan, Sweden, Italy, England, Germany, Canada, and, of course, the US. And once again you get a nice mix of bands that share some similarities but not enough to bore you. Let’s hit the songs here, because that’s why you’re listening.
England’s Southpaw kick off with “Hub,” a catchy, Brandtson-like track that’s not bad but doesn’t hold your attention, mainly because it’s followed by the best track on the disc. “Everything’s Changed” by Lewis is beautiful and powerful, going from quiet to driving rock. The true wonder is the vocals, quite perfectly sung one moment and on the verge of a scream the next. I am content putting this track on repeat and never get tired of it, despite it’s 6 and a half minute length.
But let’s move one. Benton Falls, featuring former members of Ethel Meserve, has “Tell Him,” a nice, flowing song with complex guitar parts and a focus on very rich, deep vocals. “2:1” by Stuart is a nice, textured song, languid and slow-paced but quite moving. Dear Diary are from Germany, and their song, “This Year’s First Snow,” sounds like a rough two-part demo, changing completely at the one-minute mark and ending at the two-market. Maybe it would be better if it was fleshed out, but here it feels incomplete and starkly mediocre among these other slick bands.
Barcode may not be the best name for an emo band, but this Swedish band’s song, “Kent,” is a really nice rock song. Not especially emo sounding, it still has a nice slower-tempo Fireside kind of feel, with some 80s-style keyboards, and I enjoy it. “Flavour” from Hangin’ On a Thread (from Italy) is this chapter’s hard-rocking track. Unfortunately, instead of the more emphatic, screamed style of emo that’s often left out of this series but nicely represented on Chapter V, this is just a hard-rock sound, nothing more, and thus it feels starkly out of place. Move on to “Wellspent” by Andherson, another excellent track that’s a little more rocking than many emo songs, with bits of Brandtson meets Get Up Kids.
I can’t help but feel Honeysuckle Serontina’s “Stoopid” is a kind of emo meets popular punk-rock song. Destined for MTV’s Buzz Bin, it’s catchy but feels incredibly slickly produced and also out of place here. Thankfully, Japan’s Naht come through with the stellar “Way Not Stand Against You.” It doesn’t sound Japanese at all, but it has a herky-jerky, intense approach, and violin or fiddle is used throughout for a stellar and very unique effect. Along with Lewis, this is the other real gem on this compilation.
We move on to “Even if There’s a Chance in Hell” by The Dead Red Sea, which features the singer from Cross My Heart and thus sounds quite a bit like that band only with an edge that has been lacking from recent Cross My Heart, and thus it’s an excellent song. And The Desert City Soundtrack close off with “Left You For Who You Are,” a song that sounds as if it was recorded oddly and thus requires raising the volume. At one moment starkly quiet, the next with driving guitars, one moment quietly sung, the next screamed. It’s the most intriguing song here, and I’m hopeful to hear more from this project.
When all is said and done here, I’m not near as impressed by Chapter VI of this series as some of its predecessors. I wonder if the backlash against the term “emo” has caused bands to shy away from contributing their songs. Still, while the general emo sound is becoming homogenized and familiar, there are some bands out there – worldwide – who are doing some very interesting things, and Deep Elm continues to find them. There are some real gems here, and fans of the series will not be disappointed.
One thing Deep Elm has always been good at is drawing the bands in for this series and then picking the best of the talent to release later. They signed Lewis, my favorite band here, in June. Again Deep Elm chronicles some vital bands on their ongoing, one-of-a-kind series.