Cassus, Separation Anxiety
I am excited to write this review. When I last wrote, I had committed to Astronoid’s new album as my choice for February. I added it to my library and gave it a full listen. Boring. I read the initial reviews, which were overwhelmingly positive. So I gave it another week as my album on repeat…Boring and unreviewable, I’m sorry Astronoid… I had such high hopes after that exceptional debut (Air, 2016). But, I decided I am never again wasting 1 of my 12 yearly picks on another toothless album (I’m looking at you Thrice, Palms). Disappointed, I searched for Locktender on Instagram, last month’s album, hoping to find inspiration. Nothing, just hashtags. One of those hashtags listed some fan’s top 10 albums of the year, with the new Cassus album, Separation Anxiety, listed as #1 (with Locktender on that list). Holy shit, a screamo album made it as a monthly pick! This album is quite possibly the most fun 30 minute album you will hear this year. It is surprisingly an AOTY contender for me. January’s Locktender and February’s Cassus are setting my monthly bar way too high. Crazy there are going to be 10 more chances but I am officially happy that my album of the year this year is going to be an amazing album.
Separation Anxiety did not impress me until track 4. “Ceaseless Tumult” was a game changer. This track officially put this band on my radar. This was the best screamo song I had been attracted to since songs from the Miss Machine album by Dillinger 15 years ago (damn it that album needs a full review)
Again, “Ceaseless Tumult”: Listen to the precision of the drummer in particular on this vocal section extending from “a vessel, ravaged, ruptured, dissolved” (all the way to) “my head spins without bearings, impossible to find.” Dude is remarkably precise (and fast).
Being Sick on a Merry Go Round reaffirms that this band is not simply a noisy screamo band, but the song fails to pack the punch the band intended. Instead, I think it serves as the introductory song for this album’s powerful finish.
The finish to “Be A Man” needs to be reviewed by sociologists. Please do yourself a favor and follow along with the lyrics, and listen closely for this climax: “hate is valued over love…cruelty rewarded and compassion mocked…we grind each other down in an endless cycle of abuse, yet act surprised when we produce SOCIOPATHS, MURDERERS, SUICIDES”…and with that yell (aye so good). And into the music box, and, surprisingly the most memorable part is yet to come…
Hands down best part on this album is a finish and beginning combo, specifically the ending of “Boundless Torpor” (listen for the snare roll finish) into the beginning of “Have you Considered a Balanced Diet.”
This album tackles heavy topics, including masculinity, corporatism, sustainability, humility (please read the quoting of “Season of Autumn Floods” by Chuang Tzu in the liner notes), and absolute mental rage and anger in dealing with a bitter reality, one that seems impossible to change. At least we can find music to accompany the rage.
Separation Anxiety provides that outlet. Outstanding job in packing such power and originality in less than 30 minutes. I was a skeptic, but now can believe again in a VERY short album.
Personally, it has been a trying month for me. Depression reared its ugly head again, but I beat it for now. Sometimes, that asshole unexpectedly comes out of nowhere, without warning. I dealt with a weird “betrayal-like” situation, I dealt with loss, and had one HEAVY conversation that may have been just what I needed to make the right decision, long term. Sometimes, you have one decision per month that really matters. And I came across that at least 2-3 times in February. I am starting to realize that life is a crushing struggle, full of stress and conflict and waged on a never-ending, unpredictable mental battlefield. My happiness is determined by how I handle the challenges, and my imperfection means that happiness will always waiver.
Thank God for music and thank you for reading!