an inherently goofy genre. No matter how machismo the guitar chugging and gruesome the growls may be, there's something a little funny about the absolute mania that emanates from a well executed mathcore track, with all its erratic time signatures and weird breakdowns. As technical, heavy, and mechanical as mathcore is on a fundamental level, the secret to really enjoying this genre is to let yourself lean into its fun.
Callous Daoboys, as foreshadowed by their project's name, embraced the inherent weirdness of their respective genre and pushed it to unexplored levels with Die on Mars, an album that I think right away made them one of the very best acts in mathcore ever. I loved that album on so many levels. Callous Daoboys completely dropped any pretension of masculinity that often plagues hardcore sub-genres and instead swapped in their own little humorous mathcore magic, all while flexing technical skills on par with the Dillinger Escape Plan and a heaviness that rivals any other band in the scene.
It was already probably safe to call Callous Daoboys one of the best mathcore acts ever based off their debut album Die on Mars alone. With Celebrity Therapist, now it's definitely safe to say so.
Following up a beloved debut is hard, but following up Die on Mars has gotta be even harder-- it's such a distinctly special release that trying to recapture its magic could easily fall flat into the "it's just the same thing but not as good" trap, or simply not pack as much awe since we've heard it done before. It's a hard line to tread for any successful artist, but Callous Daoboys knocks it out of the park.
What I love about Celebrity Therapist is that while it maintains the erratic nature of Die on Mars, it diverges in one very important and courageous way: The Callous Daoboys dares to take themselves seriously. It's hard to play mathcore and get genuine emotions across, as it runs into a real risk of coming across as melodramatic and cliché; but with tasteful twists and turns the Callous Daoboys pull it off by tapping into old school hardcore political rage and classic post-hardcore emotional catharsis. It is never cheesy, and it's definitely earned. What's more is they back it up with powerful vocals that truly sell its performance, and incredible jazz musicianship to boot. They have succeeded in matching the quality of Die on Mars, if not surpassing it.
Essential listening for fans of mathcore, post-hardcore, and progressive rock :D