The Callous Daoboys – ‘Celebrity Therapist’

By Dave Stewart

If you’ve been missing The Dillinger Escape Plan and The Chariot, say hello to your new favourite band. Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, sextet The Callous Daoboys (an actual band, not someone that’s too drunk trying to say The Dallas Cowboys) and their brand new album ‘Celebrity Therapist’ provides a remedy for the ache you might have been feeling, so if this is your first introduction to the band and what they’re capable of, this is the perfect opportunity to get acquainted. 

The band make a heavy music mash-up full of calculated metalcore precision and chaotic mathcore madness, creating an aural onslaught that’s both hard-hitting and playful. Their 2019 debut album ‘Die On Mars’ provided a 35 minute barrage of exactly that, and this new album sees them fully embrace and evolve what they’ve started into something that sounds more heavy, more unhinged and a whole lot more theatrical. It might only be eight tracks long, but those eight tracks are wild.

Opening the record is the furious ‘Violent Astrology’, which is a wonderfully fitting name. It’s pulverisingly heavy, it’s fast, it’s jarring and complex, and within its duration it darts down so many different avenues whilst still managing to link them all together. ‘A Brief Article Regarding Time Loops’ offers up a thick slice of the same as it jumps from fierce, dissonant thrashes to groovy riffis and dense brutality like child’s play, both songs working in tandem to provide a breathless opening gambit.

The rest of the album ensures that you’re kept guessing the whole way through, and it makes for a truly surprising and jaw-dropping experience. The dramatic urgency of ‘Beautiful Dude Missile’, the razor-sharp noughties metal-tinged ‘What Is Delicious? Who Swarms?’, the destructive jazz-decorated ‘The Elephant Man In The Room’ – it’s just blow after devastatingly glorious blow. But it’s not all about the heavies, mind you.

It’s an album full of highlights, but some of its brightest colours can be found in its softest moments. ‘Title Track’ briefly dips its toes in horror-like dissonant stabs, but takes a sharp turn into countless vocal hooks and anthemic passages that slowly evolve and swell, all the while burrowing their way into your brain. ‘Field Sobriety Practice’ plays a similar role, flitting between seductive melodies and Converge-like explosions with ease. 

‘Star Baby’ is the big show-stealer here though, both closing and rounding out the album perfectly by ripping through every trait that preceded it. Intense havoc, crisp heavy guitars, epic vocal passages and, in this instance, a brass orchestra all weave together to end the record on a hugely triumphant note. This is a crazy, totally unpredictable and adrenaline fuelled record, and it puts The Callous Daoboys in a position to lead the charge for a new wave of aggressive music.

‘Celebrity Therapist’ clearly isn’t supposed to be a comfortable listen – mathcore isn’t a sugary sweet genre and it shouldn’t be – but it certainly sounds comfortable for the band. It also doesn’t sound like a rip-off of Dillinger or The Chariot, nor does it sound like an imitation; the band wear their influences proudly, but they have proved here that they’re worthy of so much more than just a comparison. This record is confident, it’s assured, but most importantly it’s frantic, fun and completely unique when compared to everything else doing the rounds in alternative music at the minute.

The album is a little bit like a personification of a short attention span (not a dig, I promise – stay with me here). Every progressing section shouldn’t fit with the one that preceded it but it always works, like channel-hopping through various TV channels and hearing all the different programmes form a coherent sentence. There are countless unexpected leaps genre to genre, switching between math, post-hardcore, jazz, metalcore, ambient and many more, and though the contrasts are often miles apart they don’t sound out of place. It’s a real thrill-ride and all the sudden drops the album takes will take you completely by surprise, just like all the best attractions do.

The Callous Daoboys have truly tapped into something special on ‘Celebrity Therapist’ and, right now at least, no one else can touch them. Bedlam has never sounded so good.

DAVE STEWART

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