Remember those studded belts and knee-high Converse you’ve been clinging onto for dear life as the last reminder of “the good ol’ days” – MySpace, damaged backcombed hair and an unorthodox amount of energy drinks. Relics of your former life now collecting dust in your parents attic? Well, unlike the overdue Beanie Baby return, it may be time to crack those bad boys out because screamo is back with a vengeance. /.
Social media has been the catalyst for this return, marking a decade of the Rawring ‘20s with pop punk, emo and now screamo all getting a new life with a new batch of artists. While not necessarily dead, things on the screamo front haven’t been too exciting compared to its heyday.
Known as emo’s angstier brother, screamo has all the melodic choruses and whining clean vocals of any O.G. emo band but blended harsh unclean vocals and some hair raising riffs more comparable to early 2000s metalcore or post-hardcore.
For a typically angsty genre, the new wave of screamo artists charging to the forefront couldn’t be more exciting! Take If I Die First, formed in 2020 offering their brief but breathtaking They Drew Blood EP, the LA five-piece have already amassed a whopping 78,000 listeners on Spotify.
Or perhaps SeeYouSpaceCowboy, who share a split EP with If I Die First, and have been knocking around since 2015 but have finally caught the eyes and ears of listeners and music alumni alike, landing their Pure Noise Record deal in 2019.
Across the pond over in the U.K. you’ve got Leeds finest, Static Dress, who are arguably one of the most exciting up-and-coming artists that are soon to take over American territory, and maybe the world.
Let’s take a look at the MySpace era’s return to music through this list of 11 Bands Leading the Screamo Revival.
Vic Fuentes, is that you? If I Die First nail those whiny, higher pitch vocals matched with catchy punk guitars that bands such as Pierce the Veil, Isles and Glaciers and From First To Last mastered a decade ago. Where Needles And Lovers Collide transports you right back to the glory days, and you won’t want to leave.
Listen to: “Where Needles And Lovers Collide”
Screamo’s main components are raw, untethered sadness and teeth gritting rage, nothing embodies that better than SeeYouSpaceCowboy’s “Bloodstained Eyes.” It’s got those pesky crabcore chugs and exasperated screams that made this Frankenstein baby of emo and post-hardcore so unbelievably catchy – the cherry on top, it’s a combined track with If I Die First. As two spearheads of the movement, this track acts as an homage to screamo.
Listen to: “Bloodstained Eyes”
Static Dress have caused quite the storm over in the U.K., and for good measure. With no album or EP in sight yet, they’ve already landed spots on the Slam Dunk and Download festivals as well as a support spot playing a sold out tour with Creeper. It’d be shocking if this band weren’t a global success in the next five years or so.
Listen to: “For The Attention Of…”
Kaonashi’s approach to screamo is a unique one among this list, focusing less on softer choruses and harmonies and just straight-up gut punching you with fast-riffs and hardcore-inspired vocals. “You’ll Understand When You’re Older” is one for O.G. post-hardcore fans who’ve been trying to scratch that itch for well over 10 years.
Listen to: “You’ll Understand When You’re Older”
Alternative music bursted at the seams in the 2000s, it wasn’t uncommon for genres to mesh. A lot of 2000s screamo bordered into metalcore, and WristMeetRazor is summoning that headbanging rage once again. Fans of Miss May I or Bullet For My Valentine will appreciate the homage that “Last Tango In Paris” is to screamo that incorporated belly-rumbling vocals and heavy metal riffs, amplified on this track by the collaborative talents of Knocked Loose guitarist Issac Hale.
Listen to: “Last Tango In Paris”
Though underdogs of the movement, though their bark isn’t loud, L'Exquisite Douleur have quite a bite. “I’ll Be Late To My Funeral” draws notes from Papa Roach’s “Between Angels and Insects,” it’s this emotive powerhouse that will move you to tears but make you want to headbang like there’s no tomorrow. This would be your MySpace profile song after a breakup, no doubt.
Listen to: “I’ll Be Late To My Funeral”
Just shy of 6,000 monthly listeners, For Your Health is a diamond in the rough waiting to be discovered. “Birthday Candles In The Effigy” shows screamo is unstable and unpredictable, the song cycles in this constant state of jolting from anger to sadness – belting out rageful riffs to emotional verses that sound like the vocalist is on the verge of tears.
Listen to: “Birthday Candles In The Effigy”
Back in the ‘00s it was hardcore’s naughty affair with emo that made the screamo baby we know and love, but its 2020 counterpart has it’s eyes locked with deathcore for this contrast of very heavy guitars meets gut-curdling screams. Think Poison the Well or Underoath but even heavier. Bloodbather championed this new direction, with “Disappear” exuding their love for all things heavy and sad.
Listen to: “Disappear”
In similar fashion to Bloodbather, Portrayal of Guilt are fusing emo and deathcore together to create this heavier, angrier and cold-blooded strain of screamo that’s more ruthless than ever. “It’s Already Over”‘ is one track you’ll have to fight every urge not to headbang to.
Listen to: “It’s Already Over”
Channeling the mysterious and poetic side to emo, Letters To Catalonia’s “Manufacturing Optimism” may be a slow builder but it’s finished with a triumphant climax of harsh guitars and exasperated vocals crying out in pain that make the wait worthwhile.
Listen to: “Manufacturing Optimism”
Described as “American Hardcore,” much like other Ghost Spirit tracks, “Rome” borrows from the earlier post-hardcore styles influenced by screamo that gives this track its signature screamo sound. It’s loud, abrasive, and painfully upsetting — a perfect screamo track.
Listen to: “Rome”