Each week The Hard Times looks over the crop of current artists and decides whether to make or break their career with one of our reviews. This week we look at “Celebrity Therapist” the sophomore full-length from The Callous Daoboys.
As the Hard Times resident genre expert/gatekeeper, I eagerly volunteered my services to review the latest from The Callous Daoboys. After all, the Atlanta six-piece are known for their adventurous sound and I’m known for inventing the term “industrial pisscore.”
As the opening track (“Violent Astrology”) haphazardly lurched its way through various time changes and tonal shifts, I quickly realized this was no ordinary mathcore album. It was clear the band would be incorporating liberal doses of nu-metal, jazz, and even West Coast rap. Also, I was pretty sure I could make out some backmasked Hungarian chanting and the sound of someone signing into AOL 3.0.
Still, it’s been done before, hasn’t it? Many bands have made careers mashing up subgenres and experimenting with form. Look no further than Korn’s magnificent dubstep album, or that time Avenged Sevenfold released their own line of chardonnay. Did it decimate my sperm count? Sure, but I still admired the bold provocation of it.
But, moving on to songs like “Beautiful Dude Missile” and “Title Track,” I was relieved the Daoboys weren’t merely delivering another deconstructed metalcore album. No, you see, “Celebrity Therapist” is far more ambitious. In fact, it seemed to travel through time itself, moving from post-hardcore to hardcore to pre-hardcore. By the album’s conclusion, I didn’t even know what the fuck a guitar was anymore.
Refusing to be constrained by previously identified genres, the Daoboys appeared to shatter the very expectations of music as an auditory experience. Was I reviewing a metal album, or watching an 80s buddy cop action movie? Was this a transgressive masterpiece, or an established part of the Shondaland metaverse? Was I listening to music, or suffering some sort of stroke? Who’s to say?
Still, enough can be enough. By the time the album closer (“Star Baby“) came around, I was wondering just how many times the band could subject us to a pulverizing breakdown followed by the stirring harmonies of the Harlem Boys Choir. If you ask me, even once was pushing it. Yet, I had to appreciate the audacity of “Celebrity Therapist,” even if I hated listening to it. Sometimes that’s what being a music critic is all about.
Score: 512 out of 534 Mike Pattons