Schoolyard Heroes – Abominations

  • Bobby Gorman posted
  • Reviews

Schoolyard Heroes

Abomination - Stolen Transmission Records

Since its inception, Stolen Transmission has always been a hit and miss label for me with more records falling into the later category. The label seemed to be just a breeding grown of varied acts as they were trying to find their niche. Permanent Me was a forgettable pop-emo release while The Photo Atlas showed some promise with its At The Drive-In similarities but failed to really deliver on it, and The Horrors? Well, I completely forgot about them until I read the name a few seconds ago. However, with the release of Schoolyard Heroes‘ debut record, Abominations, it looks as if Stolen Transmission has finally released a record that will not only be memorable but will always help solidify the label’s name in the industry.

Opening up with the danceable Dude, Where’s My Skin? Abominations is an eerie roller coaster ride of horror punk. Merging the technical aspects and lightning fast guitar riffs of Protest The Hero with the synthn melodies of The Epoxies and the general eeriness of The Creepshow and AFISchoolyard Heroes have released an album that seems much more complex and complete than one would normally expect from a debut release – I guess it being seven years in the making has helped them develop the necessary skill needed to capture that sentiment.

The album delivers a sense of diversity where each song has a unique feel to them without the songs feeling out of place. Plastic Surgery Hall Of Fame is a heavier song with a frantic chorus with dueling screaming vocals from Ryann Donnelly and Jonah Bergman which is, in turn, followed by a much more controlled output in Cemetery Girls which sees its backbone from a steady drum beat and more outstretched vocals. Children Of The Night sees the Protest influence bubbling over with a more technical hardcore guitar riff leading it while The Last Man On Earth sees them dropping everything for a sparse, slow, nearly atmospheric offering.

In fact, this makes it very difficult to actually pick out a favorite song on the record because each song has a certain unique quality to it that is not found in the other tracks. At times you’ll love the frenetic danceable songs like Sometimes They Come Back other times the sparse efforts like the aforementioned Last Mon On Earth or sometimes the theatrical Screaming “Theater” In A Crowded Firebecomes your favorite. Really, the only thing that stays consistent is the fact that Beautiful Woman Hunter is the sole weak track on the release as it just seems out of place and void of any real signature to it.

The most astonishing aspect of the release however is definitely the skill of vocalist Ryann Donnelly. Her vocals literally soar through the speakers layered effortlessly overtop of the eerie backdrop. She has almost an operatic singing style which sees her reaching out for high pitch notes that many only dream of but is still able to bring the vocals back down to earth with a fierceness and intensity that is unparallel.

To say I had high hopes for this release would be a lie; in fact, I was kind of dreading it, but Schoolyard Heroes showed some definite skill on their debut proving that sometimes the best releases come out of nowhere.