The Callous Daoboys—Die on Mars

by Tom Springer

It’s not every day that a band like the Callous Daoboys or an album like Die On Mars comes around. An album that leaves you utterly speechless at the end, in shock and awe over what you just experienced. Once it actually sets in though you’ll immediately find yourself, as I did, reaching for the repeat button. Die On Mars is a collection of songs that defies explanation, classification, and expectations.

It’s easy to label something as being mathcore and call it a day but that would be very much over simplifying what The Callous Daoboys have done here. Let me start by saying this is a very loud, fast, and explosive album. If you’re not a fan of lots of screeching guitars and guttural screaming then this album is a nonstarter for you. If you’re like me and find comfort in disorder then this is something that raises the bar.

There’s a lot of complexity on display with elaborate arrangements of sounds. The band reaches into many different styles on songs like Pure Schlock which is not only my favorite from the album but probably one of the best songs I’ve ever heard, approaches accessible territory with the silky and steady opening and actual chorus with a fairly groovy guitar riff. Much like the rest of the songs there’s an ebb and flow of moments that are in your face, loud, brash, and seemingly out of control, with more tempered and controlled moments.

While songs like Cobra Winfrey and Die On Mars (Sunspot) do contain brief spots of clean vocals and borderline spoken word mostly screamed vocals. While many people might balk at that there’s a depth to the vocals here and the control of the screaming makes it feel like another expertly wielded instrument. The Callous Daoboys trump card that helps differentiate them is their use of a violin. This isn’t Yellowcard though and the strings are often played out of key and screeching.

The songs feel like an unrelenting storm. Yet every time you might feel like you need a break the band experiments either with the aforementioned cleaner moments or quirky interludes such as in The Absolute Bartender which breaks in a skit between a waiter and diner. It’s these moments of brevity that help elevate Die On Mars beyond just another mathcore album. There’s a sense of constrained experimentation.

The Callous Daoboys have set things on fire with their album Die On Mars. If you are a fan of bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, Every Time I Die, The Chariot, or The Number Twelve Looks Like You, you really need to experience this album in full. It had me trying to catch my breath a couple times and at the end of it all it had me reaching for more. There’s a solid footing for the band within this album, if I have any hope for the next release it’s to see them take things even further. Die On Mars is polished, unrelenting, and loud in the best way possible.