Hi, before I begin this album review/spotlight/feature/thing, I have exciting news! Sophie's Corner has recently hit 5000 unique views! Thank you all so much for reading this blog and being patient as I very slowly make new posts. The year end list burned me right out and I've been taking music listening slowly this year, but I'm getting back into it. Anyway, without further ado, let's start this thing.
Corea - Los Peores 7 Km De Mi Vida
First things first: I'm not versed in screamo as well as I'd like to be. Certainly I've heard some of the classics (Orchid, Pg.99, Gospel, City of Caterpillar), but that's about it. I've loved most of what I've heard, so I've been trying to get more into it, and that led me to this album, by the Spanish band Corea. To my knowledge, it's gained quite a bit of traction on RYM in recent years, despite being from 2004. However, I suspect that this is probably not well known among screamo fans more generally, because it's not on streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music, there were only 400 CDs pressed total, and the band is from Spain, further obscuring it at least to American screamo fans. In fact, even the Youtube video for the album (likely the easiest way to listen to it), doesn't even have ten thousand views total. For reference, a band like Orchid has twice that many listeners on a monthly basis.
Personally, I think this is a massive shame, because this is among the finest screamo I've ever heard, and it certainly deserves more attention. Yes, the lyrics are in Spanish, so if you don't speak Spanish but want to understand the lyrics without looking them up and translating them, you'll be disappointed. Personally, I don't mind, I don't really listen to screamo for decipherable lyrics anyway. But it's worth noting if you care about that sort of thing. In all honesty though, a large portion of this album is instrumental. This is likely because of the post rock influence the album has, bringing to mind City of Caterpillar. There are long passages where the tension builds and builds, until it boils over with cathartic screaming and a torrent of noisy guitars. There are also long passages of calmer, sometimes acoustic instrumentals, that serve as a palate cleanser after an intense peak in the music.
Personally, I think these lengthy instrumental passages work incredibly well in these contexts, but if you're looking for a constant barrage of intensity, this album isn't it. This album takes time to create a brooding atmosphere, with moments of outpouring emotion, amidst a wine-dark sea of emptiness and depression. This album definitely captures a specific mood, and if you're looking for sheer aggression, probably best to look elsewhere. But for me, this album is pure catharsis. The mood it captures, it portrays masterfully. To me, it represents the feeling of a depressive episode over time, where it can range from pure emptiness and lack of emotion, to intense hatred and anger, either directed at the self, or at an external other. Whether this is actually the intended goal or not, who knows, but that's how I interpret it.
Highlighting particular tracks here is largely a mistake I feel, as this album is paced amazingly well, and singling out individual experiences from it misses the point of the whole. Now that I've said that, I'm going to ignore what I said completely, and point out the track 7 km, or Siete Kilometros depending on your track listing. I'm not pointing this out for being a particularly good track (though it's pretty great I think), but because it's by far the most unique track on the album. It appears to be a very noisy sample of a Spanish radio program, with a large part of it being some sort of piano(?) ballad. However, it's filtered through such a distorted haze that it sounds almost funereal. It has a genuinely tragic atmosphere, despite the lyrics being unrecognizable, likely even to Spanish speakers. Words aren't needed here, the melody and sonic texture speak plenty loud. What's wild to me, is this is often regarded as the album's weakest track. I can't agree, though it's certainly wildly different to the rest of the album. But I think it works beautifully for the album's pacing, providing a surreal, unnerving intermission before the album's finale.
Anyway, I'll just rapidly touch on some other things I love about this album. Those vocals are so amazing, they're wonderfully powerful yet beautiful simultaneously. They're daggers in my heart every time. The songwriting is stunning throughout, as I've already mentioned. It fits the mood perfectly. The guitar tones are nasty, and the guitarwork is stunning when it needs to be, and restrained when it needs to be. I really could go on and on, but I think I've gotten the point across. Genuinely, this is one of my favorite screamo albums, along with Gospel's single album. I think if I had to choose between the two though, this would win without much contest. It's really a shame that it's not as widely recognized or known as the giants of the genre. If you're a screamo fan, this should be required listening for you. If you haven't heard any screamo, I'm not sure if I'd recommend this be your introduction, but if you listen to some of the more popular releases in the genre and like them, this should be your next step. Ultimately, this is a masterpiece of the genre, in my opinion. I hope it continues to grow in recognition over the years, and I hope to contribute to that with this blog post.