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Jeromes Dream - The Gray In Between review

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Band: Jeromes Dream
Album: The Gray In Between
Release date: May 2023

01. Conversations: In Time, On Mute
02. Stretched Invisible From London
03. South By Isolation
04. Pines On The Hill (With Guests)
05. Cosmos In Season
07. On Holiday With Infinity
08. The Future Of Memory
09. Often Oceans
10. The Last Water Pear

A lot of screamo bands have been returning lately to offer a more mature and mellow take on their sound, and that's what Jeromes Dream did on their comeback album back in 2019. So imagine my shock when The Gray In Between actually returned to the harshest aspects of their sound.

A lot of the screamo bands of the late 90s / early 00s like Orchid (USA-MA), Love Lost But Not Forgotten, Funeral Diner had a limited but trailblazing run during that period that saw it being relegated to that period. Some have had select reunions, or even more larger scale reunions like Saetia or Pageninetynine but that still never materialized into actual new music (but might, *fingers crossed*). A select few, like Gospel or City Of Caterpillar have actually turned to making new music, but have downplayed the screamo side of their sound to favor something more prog rock or post-hardcore respectively. And now here comes Jeromes Dream to be among the few of these groups to actually have a second post-reunion album.

Like most of these other bands' debut, Jeromes Dream's 2000 album Seeing Means More Than Safety was a vicious injection of vitriol. It was 15 minutes of what seems like a band that is constantly being immolated. While there are other screamo albums I prefer over it, usually because I don't kinda like the production of the album even on its 2023 remaster, I really respect what the band did there. Unlike other bands that downplayed the screamo element post-reunion, the band's follow-up from 2001, Presents, already had more of a post-hardcore sound that favored shouted vocals over the titular screams of the genre. Reuniting in 2018 and releasing LP in 2019, that saw the band continuing the mellowing of that sound to something where the shouts felt almost whispered and the mixing was a bit weird, but the songwriting skill still worked in a more post-rock sound. And like all the previous records, The Gray In Between sees Jeromes Dream sounding completely different, but also creating a somewhat circular trajectory so far, as the one Jeromes Dream album that sounds the most like The Gray In Between is Seeing Means More Than Safety.

I didn't really expect vocalist to be able to scream in that same way again (maybe because I didn't check out any footage from their live performances), especially since the band veered off from the approach so long ago, but he sounds absolutely riveting in this harsh space again. It's amazing to think that with how harsh the sound of this album is in general, especially compared to what came before it, the vocals feel at the forefront of its extremity. They're far from alone, with new guitarist Sean Leary being the only one to not be an original member also bringing some of the harshest guitar tones on this record. While The Gray In Between cuts back on some of the mathcore chaos, instead favoring more noise rock and post-hardcore injections into the sound to make a sound that is more directly impactful rather than a sprawling blizzard of dissonant melodies. And that's not even mentioning how tight the rhythm section of the band sounds like here, but then again that isn't as big of a surprise.

At 25 minutes, The Gray In Between combines the more fully realized maturation of songwriting of their post-hardcore albums with the speed and intensity of their screamo one, not letting the album get too exhausting due to its intensity while also delivering more than just a quick dose. A lot of it is that very grimy vitriolic screamo sound, but it is alternated with some breathing room interludes and moments that focus more on a dreary and depressing atmosphere to contrast with said vitriol. Though the production is more modern than on previous records, the way the mixing enhances the harshness of the record doesn't feel very conventional, giving it a density that works well with the noise rock aspect of the sound.

I honestly think this is the best that Jeromes Dream have offered. Nullifying all the sound issues I had with their previous records while boldly switching their trajectory at a time when that didn't feel like a possible option and while expanding their songwriting beyond the mere appeal of returning to an older sound, this was such a pleasant surprise.

Written on 07.06.2023 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.

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