Emo is a tired term, in all respects; it's creatively artistic and original days well behind it at this point. Leaders like Falling Forward are a distant memory, while others like Elliot, Sunny Day Real Estate, or Get Up Kids have either broken up or moved on creatively to greener pastures. So when perennial hardcore powerhouse Eulogy Records floated their newest emo release to Eclipse, some dreaded the possibilities of hearing another unoriginal Juliana Theory or Dashboard whiny-confessional. One should know better than to think that Eulogy would serve up anything less than amazing quality. Christiansen are the most refreshing emo band since Elliot thrust into the scene, and they aren't afraid to get heavy. More parts Fugazi or Falling Forward than Promise Ring or Get Up Kids, the fellas get your ears perked with the guitar-drenched intro, before the musically dynamic Hum-ish "Vox Humana/Vox Celeste" swirls through the listener, locking interest. Yearning, emotional vocals grab hold for the duration of the album, without sacrificing sentiment for sweater-wearing whininess, as the propulsive musical energy and loud punk guitars (something Falling Forward used to establish holy grail of emo status) mold the albums biting personality. What this means in simple terms is that Christiansen are not afraid to let out their anger in appropriate musical measures, as is evident by standout tracks such as "Ill-matic Fills the Urn" or "Function Over Design." Terry Campbell's intense, engaged drumming lays down the perfect vibe of rhythmic energy that allows bassist Brad Magers to be active in the vein of Fugazi's Brendan Canty, all leading to something fitting for the musically dynamic Eulogy. Guitarists Bondehagan (also the vocalist) and Atzla's equal love for melodic, progressive punk and grinding Chicago noise rock, á la Shellac, forms a wonderful musical dichotomy that keeps each song fresh, energetic, and highly memorable, as is evidenced in "The Slanting Sun" or especially "Concordance of Worms." Now, come on. How many Emo bands have song titles as morbidly cool as that? Emphasizing... is recommended to those listeners who like heavier progressive punk, or those who are as exhausted with emo's recent pathetic catalog. Either way, it is another quiet masterpiece from Eulogy. Keep it coming!
Emphasizing Function Over Design Review
by Jason Hundey