The Casino Brawl

Shades; Directions

Written by: PP on 16/12/2009 15:38:15

Ahoy scene fans, it's time for another review that's likely to push the right buttons on about 90% of you. The band in question is The Casino Brawl, the album's called "Shades; Directions" (you can tell they're scene just from the fact that they're using a semicolon in a title), the location is Northeastern UK, and the genre is screamo / post-hardcore. So we're a little closer to home than the last three scene reviews on the site, so lets get to it, shall we?

"Hellooooooooooo UnderOATH. Oh wait." is likely the first thought to cross your mind as you enter "Shades; Directions" opening track "Time And Tide", thanks to the band's screamer whose dominating, thick scream is near-identical to Spencer Chamberlain's. Otherwise, the band plays polished screamo that's also rough around the edges and not too ambitious, kind of reminding you of UnderOATH before they went all epic, hollow and over-ambitious with their sound. Think somewhere between "They're Only Chasing Safety" and "Define The Great Line": the guitars aren't as angular as on the latter, but they are much more hook-driven than on the former, and there's lots of room for clean vocals during choruses. The resulting sound features a great deal of intensity and urgency; two elements that I thought the latest UnderOATH record was missing in its quest for sonic perfection.

In fact, where UnderOATH have recently attempted to bend, stretch, and break the genre's predefined boundaries in various imaginative ways, The Casino Brawl are perfectly content with having the odd glitch here, the raw part there, suggesting that the band aren't interested in artistic completeness as much as they are in writing driving, catchy, easily-accessible screamo songs that'll fill their live shows with people. On the flip side, the sons aren't quite just there yet. There's potential in many of them, especially with regard to an explosive live show that I've heard these guys own, but a little more identity and originality is still required for the band to remove themselves from the shadow of UnderOATH's, and in part, Oh Sleeper's similar-sounding songs.

Download: L Is For Liars, Time And Tide
For the fans of: UnderOATH, Oh Sleeper, Deaf Havana
Listen: Myspace

Release date 07.09.2009
In At The Deep End Records

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