Severed Boy’s ‘Tragic Encounters’ here may not be a new release by any sort of means, no, it was released all the way back in July of 2021. But with finding out that it was put out through my new favorite label, Caligari Records, I just had to dig in there and see what I can find. For every release that I have ever encountered coming out of Caligari Records has been beyond phenomenal and ‘Tragic Encounters’ here can not be any sort of different. Right? Well, we will see.
Severed Boy are a Black/Death/Doom Metal band from the Boston, Massachusetts area in the United States Of America. This powerhouse of a two piece started Severed Boy in the chaotic year of 2020 (“Birthed from a quarantined manic episode”-Caligari Records page) and quickly and independently put out a fantastic single titled ‘Coughing Up The Night’ in the very same year. Staying manically hungry, Reid Calkin (Drums) and Nicholas Wolf (Guitar, Bass, Vocals) (both from the Hardcore, D-Beat band Lunglust), blasted out this fabulous EP, with the help of Caligari Records, the very next year.
Black/Death/Doom Metal can honestly mean so many things to many people and also bring up some rather valid questions. Like; How well do those subgenres really mix? Can it truly be as seamless as they say? And; Does it break down into a Post category like most that use multi-subgenre labels such as this do? And to answer those quickly and easily for you I would say, in order; Great. Yes. And absolutely not. But to be fair to all of you still reading this I will explain that all just a little bit more as I go on here.
‘Tragic Encounters’ is truly a magnificent creature all it’s own. Where the lines between those three subgenres perfectly blur into one crushing, depressing and gorgeous sound that can only be described as Severed Boy. A sound where plodding, devastating Doom/Death riffs give way to tremolo thrashing onslaughts and/or descend into soul crushing Doom-y psychedelic sections and back around again. All without you ever really even noticing the change or realizing anything actually ever happened. All this is due to the apparent attention spent on the flow and strength of the overall songwriting. So that actually answers those first two questions from the last paragraph but I’m sure this even makes you question my short answer to the third question. So, I’ll continue on.
These five stellar tracks ebb and flow in a way that makes it hard to honestly know when one song starts and another ends. Making ‘Tragic Encounters’ feel like one, whole, complete piece of art where each singular track has a flow and real soul all of it’s own. All of which could also be said about most Post category bands but here Severed Boy just never really reach that point of jamitude excess and that is about all I actually have to say on that point. It can honestly happen when genre tags become like Severed Boy’s have but, trust me on this (or check into it yourself), there is no Post of any sort here. So question three is finally done. So ,on to the production we go.
The production values for ‘Tragic Encounters’ are a perfect balance of the desired grimy and gritty atmosphere (that the three subgenres Severed Boy play with excel with) and a perfectly intonated and executed instrumental clarity. An atmosphere that perfectly encompasses the very feel and idea that ties the lyrical subjects to the music. And instrumental clarity that makes it so that we are able to hear each and every note from each and every instrument at every single second of this EP perfectly. A true production win.
Usually when I am writing a review such as this I like to add a comparison act or possibly even multiple for a band’s album or EP. Just to make it a little easier for the reader to have an idea of what I am writing about may sound like, to me at least I guess. Yet, this time around, I have no idea what band, bands or where to even go from there. As I have already said before above, ‘Tragic Encounters’ is a creature all it’s own and I absolutely and truthfully meant what I said there. This EP actually has to be heard to be truly believed. It’s that good.
So, basically after all of that, excessive but necessary, word salad above we come to find that once again a release from the mighty Caligari Records has completely blown me right the fuck away. Severed Boy’s ‘Tragic Encounters’ is an absolute fucking monster of an EP that completely blindsided me with how extremely solid and extremely good it actually is. For real. This thing fucking slaps. Go now, check it out.