Evergreen Terrace

Sincerity Is an Easy Disguise in This Business

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Twenty-first century hardcore is a lot like an S&M dungeon -- there is the dominatrix who is totally sadistic (that would be metalcore) and the dominatrix who isn't afraid to crack her whip but offers more nuances and doesn't govern by brute force 100 percent of the time (that would be screamo, also known as post-hardcore or melodic hardcore). Sincerity Is an Easy Disguise in This Business definitely falls into the latter category; Evergreen Terrace is the hardcore equivalent of the dominatrix who makes frequent use of her cat-o-nine-tails (ouch!) but provides some hugs and cuddles as well. Andrew Carey's screaming, tortured lead vocals are the cat-o-nine-tails; guitarist Craig Chaney's clean vocals are the hugs and cuddles. Of course, the bad witch/good witch contrast is hardly unusual for screamo bands; that's what separates screamo from the merciless, bone-crush savagery of metalcore. But some screamo outfits do it better than others -- and while this 2005 release isn't the best that screamo has to offer, it's far from the worst. One of the things Evergreen Terrace has going for them is the fact that more often than not, Chaney's clean vocals don't sound like a mere afterthought -- they are used to provide real hooks. In fact, many of the songs on this album could have been reworked into more mainstream, non-hardcore alternative pop/rock tunes; take out the brutal parts and Carey's agonized screaming, and you're left with the ingredients of songs that a post-grunge or emo band might find useful. Actually, this 27-minute disc concludes with an acoustic, non-hardcore number that lacks the hammer-to-the-skull element and wouldn't be out of place on a Gin Blossoms album. But all of the other tracks are screamo-oriented on this generally decent, if slightly inconsistent, effort.

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