Local Review: Sailorsent – First Five
Local Music Reviews
Sailorsent = Scarlxrd + Ghostemane
Sailorsent has taken sandpaper to trap metal with the EP First Five. This collection of tracks takes something typically abrasive and buffs out the edges, softening the sharpness while maintaining the genre’s structural integrity. To listen to this EP is to hear that process in action: In the beginning, everything is harsh and jagged, but it ends with everything being smooth and soothing.
First Five gives you no time to brace yourself and throws you right into that harshness with the opening track, “PAPERTIGER.” Sailorsent uses classic screamo vocals with more nontraditional trap percussion to establish a dark and distinguished style that immediately hooks you. The percussion is fast-paced, driving and hard-hitting. The most prominent sound is the bone-rattling bass cranked up to 11 that will genuinely make you concerned your home is going to fall apart. “PAPERTIGER” is a shot of adrenaline that will definitely keep you paying attention through the rest of the EP.
While sustaining the dark tone of the first track, “(S)coffin” utilizes a more traditional approach in its trap percussion with a classic high hat and snare combo. The bass is not forgotten though, it has simply swapped a kick drum for the intense reverberations of a guitar’s bass strings. This addition of the guitar maintains the metal edge to the track, particularly since the screaming vocals are absent. “(S)coffin” takes more of a quiet approach to its darkness; it’s whispery and subtle in comparison to the abrasiveness of “PAPERTIGER,” creating an enjoyable discomfort like watching a horror movie.
The next three tracks, “Fuck Love,” “Real Salvation” and “Be Prepared to Stop,” are where things truly start to get buffed out. Sailorsent incorporates instruments such as harp and piano, which help develop a more sorrowful tone as opposed to an angry one. The intricate lines from the harp also add a complexity to “Fuck Love” in particular, creating a richness, a depth and an ethereal quality. The hard characteristics are not left behind, though, with Sailorsent integrating cutting screaming with softer, auto-tuned singing. Rather than laying squarely in a sorrowful or aggressive tone, however, this combination develops a sense of desperation and shows the emotional intricacies of this EP.
Much like the harp, the strings end up being the throughline for many of these tracks. Sitting in between tight trap percussion and screaming vocals, the strings form a cohesive connection between the contrasting genres within these tracks. As Sailorsent uses instruments that could be found in both metal and trap, there’s a familiarity to the strings that makes the tracks more approachable and digestible. Whether alongside the intricate, ethereal harp or the echoing and dreamy guitar, the strings construct a bridge that allows the listener to walk easily between the two distinct qualities of the EP.
Sailorsent finishes off First Five with “That Walt Disney is Full of Shit, Man,” which is the culmination of all this buffing and softening. Sitting more firmly in the trap position, this track is the opposing side of “PAPERTIGER.” “Walt Disney” also brightens the tone with its more pop punk-geared synth guitar and vocal harmonies. This is the track that steps out of that darkness and finally sees the light. “Walt Disney” acts as a beautiful bookend to the journey that is First Five.
First Five is a push and pull between trap and hardcore while simultaneously reminding you they can be one in the same. The second you become comfortable in the trap rhythms, Sailorsent switches into a hardcore riff, keeping you on your toes at all times. And yet, it all feels completely natural. This EP is dynamic and complex and makes for one hell of a listening experience. –Marina McTee