The entire mathcore scene lit up in a blaze of excitement when Die on Mars graced us with its presence. It was a firm debut from an explosive group of people. It still holds up quite well some three years later, but it demands a follow-up. The time has come for The Callous Daoboys to reprise their songwriting performance and deliver the goods. Celebrity Therapist is likely one of the most anticipated mathcore releases in the past couple of years, and let me reassure you right off the bat – the wait was worth it, and the record is a certified fucking banger.
I remember discovering Die on Mars a couple of years ago and simply going nuts over The Callous Daoboys and their frantic, erratic, tempestuous attitude. If you’re into heavy and chaotic music, it’s really hard not to fall head over heels for this band; I mean, they’re probably the mathcore band that best embodies the insanity-driven approach to presenting your tunes within the confines of the genre, adroitly carrying forward a torch which was ignited by The Dillinger Escape Plan, believed to be virtually dead. Yeah, yeah, big words, bold statement, sure, but have you heard this shit?! It’s unbelievable. While their live performances can’t yet be fairly compared to the ones of their spiritual ancestors, I’m sure we’ll eventually get to something on brand and uniquely their own up at that level.
Around my first listen of The Callous Daoboys‘ Celebrity Therapist I had a feeling that I’m at a Cirque du Soleil show, but held in the most hostile corners of the Amazon jungle, where the performers are juggling chainsaws and flamethrowers, jumping ramps and chasms with rocket-powered monster trucks. Even this doesn’t quite feel like it cuts it, but it’s the best I can do to describe my first impression. There’s so much going on in such short timespans that you simply can’t unpack anything. The first listen is like a throwaway lap; you just barely get to dip your toes. An attention span can only handle so much.
Subsequent listens allowed me to really revel in the crazy magic that’s running amuck all around. You can definitely tell that the band is still exploring avenues in terms of crystalizing their identity and sound, but you can also tell that they have plenty of edge and power, and that they sure as fuck aren’t afraid to parade it around like a glistening trophy of madness. They also went further with experimentation on the record, making it feel less like your casual cut-and-dried mathcore album and more like an experience that takes what it needs from wherever it feels like – in order to deliver the most compelling narrative possible.
Celebrity Therapist is, as one might expect, a highly diverse experience, one that makes excellent use of all the disparate ends that are thrown around. In spite of all the chaos encroaching every moment, there’s an oddball kind of sense/logic that permeates every fiber and gives us that gut feeling that it’s not entirely nonsense and that we should follow through with it. The rolling chugs and riffs are obviously all there, and they hit as hard as ever, beckoning you to bang your limbs as if being electrocuted.
“Title Track” starts out ominously with mellow and eerie noises before plunging us into a series of stacked conveyor belts made of coarse sandpaper. Only then does it proceed to build up what is one of the most anthemic and glorious paths through something that’s surprisingly upbeat and catchy. It’s one of the best courses I’ve seen a song take this year. It’s all in all a grand mood, which I didn’t expect to hear and it’s easily one of my favorite moments on the record. “Star Baby” ends the record in its latter half with what is basically one of the most pop-driven moments I could’ve ever heard on a heavy album. It’s relentlessly catchy and unbelievably tasteful. These are just two moments, but I wanted to offer them as examples to the diversity I rave about as being so novel. There are other, more experimental leanings besides these, which are going to subvert expectations and make you realize that there’s something you always wanted but never knew so.
The Callous Daoboys are alongside a mere handful of bands at the top of the mathcore food chain. I have absolutely no doubts about this, and Celebrity Therapist only further cements this previously acquired belief. Strap in, put your helmet on, exhale with relief, and live it up – you will be demolished, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Destruction has never looked so divine.