A horrible hack

Gospel - Kodan Armada


Year Released: 2004
Format: 10"
Label: Neon Boombox
Reviewed by Andy Malcolm on Jun 13, 2007
Man alive. Was this a tough record to get a hold of. It's been out for a little while, but most avenues of attempting to acquire copies for distro came up short. For it seems that anything that has the words KODAN ARMADA attached to it right now is enough to make peoples minds go blank. Normally rational people go beserk, indulging in a pre-ordering feeding frenzy, wetting their beaks in the pond of OOP. People are literally frightened that they might miss out on owning a record. It's quite scary really, that our little sub-culture which attempts to exist outside of the mainstream influences of materialism and corporations and capitalism gets so worked up about the possibility of NOT OWNING A RECORD! Christ. It's a record, the world will probably not end if you don't own a record. Except if you don't own a Moss Icon record. Then the world will end, you doof.

So what about the bands? Gospel are first up on this split and they are very fine. The band have folks from Helen of Troy and musically they aren't particularly far removed from that, doing long and involved prog-emo (sorry) stuff with screamy vocals and lots of instrumental noodling. It's like if Vida Blue was self-indulgent. Many bands have been chaotic and screamed lots prior to Gospel, but Gospel seem to get involved in complicating things and doing stuff in a slightly different manner that only bands like City of Caterpillar have succeeded at. You get echoey guitars in the breakdowns, widdly bits and all in all it's just that little bit different. Sometimes I wonder whether the emo / hc scene can ever really progress musically (and often I'd rather it didn't progress too much), but bands like Gospel (who I enjoy) and Circle Takes the Square (who I don't) at least are attempting to do that in their own small way. Actually the more complicated parts kind of remind me of Universal Order of Armageddon, so maybe we aren't breaking so much new ground, but at least it's refreshing.

I've loved Kodan Armada's previous vinyl efforts, but I can't quite get into their tracks on here. They do 4 songs of fairly typical screamo - they have multiple vocalists going off on one, fiddly metal parts, breakdowns, crying... all the requisite components. I forgive them because they do also throw in some nice emo Vida Blue style parts at times, such as on the second track where they frame the noisiness with some really impressive melodic moments. And they make more effort with their inserts than most bands in this scene, giving song explanations and other personal words. Aces. I just prefer their tamer musical moments to their outbursts of violence and RAAAAAAAH. This is solid overall, without being the stunning stuff I was expecting. Shame!

Overall - good split, don't wet your knickers if you don't own it though, it's not the best record of all time.

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