White Belt Wednesday is a monthly piece where I dust off my camo shorts, jump into my time machine, and take you back to a simpler time when swoopy haircuts and breakdowns ruled the land.
For our first history lesson I’d like to take you back to August of 2001 in Buffalo, New York where a little band known as It Dies Today(who shall henceforth be referred to as IDT for the sake of space) was forming. IDT released a 3 song demo later that year, and in 2002 dropped their Forever Scorned EP. They toured the US extensively in support of this with bands such as Between The Buried And Me and Alexisonfire. Eventually they signed a contract with Trustkill Records, and on September 24th, 2004 unleashed The Caitiff Choir on the world.
The Caitiff Choir is one of my favorite albums. Ever. I was 16 when it was released and I still give it regular listens almost 14 years later at 31(Wow, this is making me feel old). It is everything I love about that era of metal and hardcore. The riffs are simple yet infectious. The clean vocals, while not pitch perfect by any stretch of the imagination, work beautifully and are extremely indicative of the time this album was released(No one could really sing but everyone tried to). The combination of high and low screams and growls, often times layered over one another to create a seriously demonic sound, are some of my favorites ever recorded. This album changed a lot for me, and for a lot of the people I knew growing up at the time.
The album opener, “My Promise”, hits the ground running with one of the most brutal and headbangable breakdowns I had ever heard at the time, and is a good indicator that you’re going to get pulverized by mosh parts for the next 41 minutes. The Caitiff Choir is relentless in its aggression, but the band expertly pulls themselves back from time to time to allow the more polished parts of the album to shine like the studs on a brand new belt. This is none more apparent than on the albums third track, “The Radiance”, which is heavy on the cleans but still gives you a breakdown worthy of smashing everything you own in a tornado of windmills.
“A Threnody For Modern Romance” and “Freak Gasoline Fight Accident” (Big shout out to Zoolander for that name) are my favorite songs on the album, although any of the 11 tracks would be an acceptable choice. Both of these tracks are packed with solos, two steps, chorus’ you can’t help but scream along to, and some of the heaviest breakdowns to ever come from the Trustkill camp. They are perfect metalcore anthems from a band that birthed a seemingly innumerable amount of copycats that never did it as well as they did. The Caitiff Choir is a sonic time capsule for a sound that’s been somewhat forgotten, while not actually sounding dated in 2018, and gave the world no shortage of breakdowns to spin kick to, clap parts to clap along to, and two steps to shake our asses to in our tight jeans and extra medium tee shirts.
There were a bunch of bands back then that wrote seriously heavy breakdowns and catchy two step parts but few have stuck with me over the years the way this band has. This was one of the first albums I really remember appealing to people across a lot of different scenes. The brutal metal kids loved it because the breakdowns are punch a hole in the planet heavy. The emo kids dug all the catchy clean vocal parts that appear on almost all of the songs on this album. The brutal metal kids really loved moshing on the emo kids at their shows. It truly brought people together in a way that makes me smile when I think about it.
Rating: 10 out of 10 studded belts
Release Date: 09/24/2004
Label: Trustkill Records
For Fans Of: Messy break ups. Spin kicks. Windmills. Poison The Well. Crying. Shirts that don’t fit. Camo.