Jerome's Dream The Gray In Between
In the past several years there have been multiple reunions of long-dormant screamo bands such as City of Caterpillar, Gospel and Page Ninety Nine. Even Saetia is back to playing shows again, and between that and all of the more current bands pushing the genre forward, it feels like a new golden era has begun. While the second two of the aforementioned bands have been content with playing one-off weekend shows and donating the majority of the money to charity, the first two mentioned have made a full comeback of sorts, dropping new full length albums and playing somewhat regularly (at least in City of Caterpillar’s case). Jerome’s Dream are another of these bands bringing new music to the forefront of their reunion, with The Gray In Between being their second post-reunion full-length and first for the newly revived Iodine Recordings.
Always an outlier in the hardcore/punk scene, Jerome’s Dream took several different sonic forms in their initial years, starting off with full blown raging emoviolence (high-pitched bird vocals and all) before taking a more noise rock leaning approach to their chaotic sound with their excellent second LP Presents. Their 2019 comeback release LP found them leaning even more into noise rock/post hardcore territory, so it’s somewhat surprising that The Gray In Between is maybe the heaviest and most metallic leaning record they’ve released to date. To start off, the clean shouting vocals of their past two records have been fully switched entirely out for harsh, panicked high-range screams that share quite a bit of similarity to Loma Prieta (which the band now share a guitarist with). It’s a change that works extremely well with the darker, heavier tone of these new songs, and it’s frankly pretty awesome to hear a veteran band of this nature come back swinging with their most intense material to date, since the majority of the time it seems to be the opposite case.
With their bassist on record saying the entirety of The Gray In Between is “a portrait of an absolutely unrelenting fear and anxiety that never seems to let up” it’s clear why the band took a heavier and darker approach to songwriting on this record. While the vast majority of the songs on this record rage and seethe with an almost unrelenting intensity, Jerome’s Dream still manage to throw quite a bit of memorable melodic moments into the mix of each song as well with some impressive guitarwork, which keeps things consistently engaging and makes for plenty of standout moments throughout the entire duration of the record. Production comes courtesy of the infamous Jack Shirley (Comadre, Deafheaven, Joyce Manor), who handled the recording, mixing and mastering of the record and once again knocked it out of the park with the perfect aesthetic to compliment the cathartic and urgent nature of the songs on hand. From a production standpoint, Jerome’s Dream have inarguably never sounded better than on this record.
While I’d say I’m mostly all for the sonic changes employed by Jerome’s Dream on The Gray In Between, and I do think this album contains some of their best material to date, I do find myself somewhat missing the more noise-rock-leaning aspects of their previous two records. It gave them a very unique foothold on screamo music as a whole, and there really was no other band in the subgenre that sounded like them whatsoever. While they’ve certainly fully embraced and tackled this heavier sound with a great amount of focus—and in some cases perfectly executed it—it puts the band more in line with many of the modern screamo bands out right now and feels a bit less unique as a whole. That being said, it’s hard for that to be a major issue when they’ve nailed this particular sound so well.
Bottom Line: The Gray In Between is a top-tier screamo record from one of the genre’s most legendary bands, and proves that there’s a distinct reason for that. While their lean into heavier/more metallic aspects of their sound both vocally and musically puts them in a less unique musical space overall, this is still an outstanding set of songs that anyone who’s a fan of forward-thinking hardcore/punk music will want to check out.
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"Screamo is the hardcore equivalent to Nu-Metal. This sound has been dated for like 15 years." You're mom has been dated for like 15 years by an endless train of homeless men.
"Screamo is the hardcore equivalent to Nu-Metal. This sound has been dated for like 15 years." Top tier dumbass comment
Man, some people just can't help but go out of their way to hate on something when just shutting the f*ck up and not listening to the record is so much simpler. With that said, this is a contender for AOTY for me personally. It's nice to hear a band you grew up with come back swinging.
Screamo is the hardcore equivalent to Nu-Metal. This sound has been dated for like 15 years.