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Mainstreaming screamo

Scary Kids Scaring Kids
Scary Kids Scaring Kids
By Scary Kids Scaring Kids

Immortal Records: 2007

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This review first appeared in Turbula in November 2007.

Much as Judas Priest, AC/DC and Ozzy Osbourne took heavy metal mainstream (and to Top 40 success, with all the financial success that entails) in the late '70s, so is Scary Kids Scaring Kids helping to bring new-century hardcore to a wider audience. In that regard, Oceanside's Scar'd Sanity, the music on the latest CD from the Phoenix-based Scary Kids Scaring Kids has metal, screamo and other hardcore styles as its foundation, then applies a heavy burnishing to give the music a pop polish.

The song where the energy of its hardcore roots comes together best with the pop accessibility they're clearly aiming for now is on "Star Crossed." A grand, sweeping theme plays well to the strengths of Tyson Stevens' singing voice (rich timbre, not so much range), while the mix captures a wall of sound sonic depth that gives it a nice radio-friendly feel.

The rest of the album isn't as solid as that track, though, with the band sometimes seeming unable to decided if it wants to be a mainstream band or a screamo / death metal outfit; the indecision sometimes coming in the middle of a song.

It's an interesting approach, one that yields several gems, but one the band doesn't seem to have quite figured out all the way.