Wednesday, November 11, 2009
PENSIVE & SEASONS IN THE FIELD
Alright, so anyone who knows anything about me understands both my knowledge and obsession with 90s metalcore; especially that in which roots from western Pennsylvania. For whatever reason, it was only yesterday that I got my hands on this monumental release. I am quite ashamed that I had never gotten my hands on this earlier; especially considering I own every other release on the often-ignored Akeldama Records out of Michigan. Either way, I finally got my copy of the Pensive & Seasons In The Field split and I feel a bit more fulfilled as a human being considering.
While I was fully aware of the respective legacies of said bands and knew I would be very into their musical undertakings, I never would have guessed to what extent. I'm talking better than Zao and better than The Juliana Theory here, people. In case anyone is not familiar with the names I've been tossing around, I'll give a bit of history. Pensive featured Brett Detar, Chad Monticue, Martin Lunn, and Joshua Walters. Brett Detar was responsible for Where Blood And Fire Brings Rest ... at the very least, the catchy guitar riffs of the albums. Along with Joshua Walters and Chad Monticue, he also started (and fronted) The Juliana Theory. Martin Lunn, a half of a decade later, would join Zao to fulfill bass duties. Seasons In The Field has an even larger connection to Zao as its members consisted of Daniel Weyandt, Russ Cogdell, Steven Peck, and Jason Keener. Daniel Weyandt and Russ Cogdell are obviously the members who took Zao into the next level of metalcore with their contributions that came in the form of Where Blood And Fire Bring Rest. Steven Peck would also join Zao around the same time as Martin Lunn (in 2004) to take the place of Jesse Smith on drums. To top things off, Joshua Walters (of Pensive) was supposedly going to be playing drums for Zao a year or so ago, but it never came to fruition for whatever reason. Enough about Zao, though ... this post is about Pensive & Seasons In The Field.
The first half of the split comes from Pensive in the form of six songs. This was a follow-up effort from their debut release, The Subtlety Of Silence which was released a year earlier. The pre-Juliana Theory mention gives you a pretty good idea what this sounds like. However, while there is definitely the hooks and catchiness of The Juliana Theory, there are also plenty of screamo-esque backing vocals matched with the occasional Blood And Fire styled metalcore riffs. While the last thing I want to do is paint these songs out to be "predictable" or anything close, it is the exact music you would expect coming from someone who would later go on to be in both The Juliana Theory and on Zao's Where Blood And Fire Brings Rest album. It makes sense, that is all.
The true infatuation I am developing with this album comes in the form of Seasons In The Field, however. To sum it up in a sentence, it sounds like kids who would eventually go on to write Where Blood And Fire Brings Rest while they were still worshiping Passover and ripping off Iggy from Abnegation's vocals. In fact, they even recorded in the same studio as Passover as admitted by Daniel on the Zao documentary DVD. Surprisingly, however, Daniel was merely playing bass on this recording while Jason Keener was handling the vocal duties. The true talent of the vocalist lays in his ability to simultaneously sound like Iggy from Abnegation while also sounding like Jack from Passover. I should mention that when I make these comparisons, I make them with the highest regard.
I really don't know how to sum up the perfection of this band. In the aforementioned DVD, the members seemingly minimize their efforts put forth during this era. Without any disrespect to the monumental works that they've accomplished with Zao ... Seasons In The Field kills all of it. I may be alone in this thinking, but I know of at least one other person who sees it my way.
Speaking of which, this entire post is dedicated to one Derek "Poop Toss" Camp. If it wasn't for his insistence on Seasons In The Field being the best metalcore band of all time (and consequentially his favorite band overall), I would have probably never spent the time that I did tracking this album down. His dedication to obscure, over-looked metalcore from the 90s rivals that of myself and I respect him just as much for that as I do his shit-scooping abilities.
Check this split out NOW. I will hopefully be collaborating with The Poop Crank to bring you demo material from both bands in the near future. Oh yeah, the layout for this album rules ... but you need to do your homework and track down a real copy to see that part.