(Skeletal Lightning/Dog Knights Productions)
2017 is shaping up to be an amazing year for music, but let’s not skip over a last minute 2016 gem. Northeasterly chaotic winds ushered in some fantastic noise from New England-based group Youth Funeral. Their screamo-fied (actual screamo, not Hot Topic screamo) form of post-hardcore/noise rock. Holy shit, this record is something. This 15-minute “full-length” is to 90s screamo what grindcore is to death metal. It’s a triple shot robust espresso chased with a tall can of Red Bull, yet Heavenward never gets bogged down by the energetic blasts of noise. These 11 songs just blast on by before you know it, yet each song carries something unique and worthwhile; this isn’t just an aimless blast of noise. Youth Funeral know how to use dynamics and well-timed post-metal-tinged sections to keep things interesting.
Seriously, despite some more modern touchstones (like Loma Prieta), this is a blast from the ’90s past, when screamo and emo actually meant something brash and bold, as opposed to being the only one in your high school class who thought it’d be nice to shout your heart out over an acoustic guitar. Heavenward has an immense replayability factor, and hopefully this little gem won’t get lost in the late-year shuffle. Hot damn, this record is fun.