Killer Klassix: Saosin- “Translating The Name” EP

“Translating the Name” is a fast paced explosion that is an abstract take on the turmoils of everyday “growing pains” and aggressively ponders existence in order to understand the strife of life.

Killer Klassix: Saosin- “Translating The Name” EP

Antonio Llanos, Staff Writer

We create and materialize our art, put it out into the world and watch the reactions; witnessing the ripples of our single-drop contribution into the ever-long pond of our environments. To have the ripples of a single drop that had fallen 20 years ago still reverberate in the music industry calls for some examination and further analysis for how four musicians from Southern California exhibit a cohesive effort that fortified screaming vocals for bands to come since Thursday’s “Full Collapse.”

Saosin’s “Translating The Name” EP was released on June 17, 2003 through an independent record company. The release of the EP was groundbreaking beyond its musical impact on the industry, but additionally for its effect on early internet distribution and marketing. It was physically printed and sold exclusively at shows, meaning the only way to access the EP was by going to a show and buying a copy at the Merch table. In the heyday of social media and illegal music distribution, Saosin’s popularity was majorly attributed to the circulation of their music available on torrents and illegal music sites.  In addition, popularity of the band was only expanded through their online presence on early social media platform, MySpace. 

Musically, the EP has aged beautifully and still holds its own amongst modern post-hardcore, screamo efforts; it has even laid the foundation for a myriad of acts including, A Day To Remember, A Kiss For Jersy, The Amity Affliction, Blessthefall, The Color Morale, Dance Gavin Dance, Emarosa, Secrets, Issues, Hands Like Houses, and Too Close To Touch. Its interweaving of melody and hardcore aggression is one of the reasons “Translating the Name” is a foundational pillar to the post-hardcore genre.  

“Seven Years” is the initial track on the EP and acts as the “scene” anthem with its incredible balance of melody and aggression. Musically, the track’s composition pushes and pulls between vocalist Anthony Green’s poetically obscure lyrics and guitarist Beau Burchell’s aggressively rhythmic guitar work. 

Lyrically, the track is about Catholic disillusionment, further aided by the composition, which mirrors the confessional while highlighting inner turmoil using screaming vocals to compliment the sung vocals. Green’s expression of his discontent with faith is denoted in the initial verse:  “Taking on seven years/The holy ghost had left alone/Test my arms, kick like crazy/I’ve been trying way too long/Only push the way off to fight you/Now I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m not sure/Getting off my chest/The story ends.” While the track has become somewhat of a rallying cry for alternative, scene fans, Green’s lyrics resonate with the youth’s angstful discontent with the hardships of life in general. Seven Years not only marks Green’s personal strife, but denotes that which makes the music amazing and accessible, relativity. The relativity of “Translating The Name” is grounded in philosophical thoughts and angst filled material crafted to the accessibility of the fans.     

The titular track “Translating The Name” is a subtle reference to the fan reaction to their name, which when translated from Chinese, means Careful.  While Green has stated in interviews his personal views on the origins of the name, he insists the fans take their own interpretation to both the name and the music. Composed and written by Burchell, the track’s composition masterfully evolves, much like an actual birth. Melodies and guitar chug and transition from rhythmic to experimental. Though melodic, Pat McGrath’s drums demand the listener’s attention, exploding and  surprising the listener, leading them away from the melody, but circling back into rhythm. The track’s thematic element is further supported by Burchell’s lyrics sung by Green: “I’ve been watching Rose give in and/I missed out on savoring it so/I’ve been watching Rose give in to it/Severing the ties between mother and son.”

“3rd Measurement In C” is a beautiful exploration and abstract interpretation of transactional and superficial relationships. Musically, this is carried out through pairing contrasting rhythm guitar and lead guitar only unifying as means of transition from micro-melody to micro-melody. Green’s vocals are often layered both singing and screaming the same line. Lyrically, the track highlights the theme as Green both sings and screams the first verse: “Taking back, overdone/Free and safely/Souvenirs, out of style/Right in front and right on/Do it so, I’ll be mad, you’ll be gone.” 

“Lost Symphonies” is an exploration of identity loss. The track is immersed in aggression and angst as Green’s high-pitched vocals tremble between melodic pleads of inner turmoil and aggressive screams of vulnerability.  Often being led by the guitars that compliment one another, the lyrics immerse the listener to the fast-paced whirlwind of Green’s subconscious.  However, as the track exquisitely reveals, it exhibits not a loss of identity, but the sacrifices made when transitioning from boy to man. 

“They Perch On The Stilts, Pointing And Daring Me To Break Custom” is a lyrical extension of the previous  track, pondering existence based on the potential benefits and only to realize nothing is gained. In one interpretation, the track is a melodic progression, exhibiting the commonly heard riffs and rhythms of the genre and successful experimentation of those genre-specific structures. Moreover, the track further employs the theme of evolution as Green uses his vocal progression to experiment.  Initially only whispering lyrics, Green vocally develops into a full voice, where the instrumentals for the track follow, perfectly harmonizing behind Green’s voice.

Whether this is your first listen to “Translating The Name” or you have been a fan since release, the EP still remains a “Klassic” amongst the post-hardcore repertoire. The album delivers some of the most narrative driven exploration of existence and adolescence one goes through on a starry moonlit night. Translating the name is a fast-paced explosion that is an abstract take on the turmoils of everyday “growing pains” and aggressively ponders existence in order to understand the strife of life.  Whether you are in the gym, angry about a situation or simply want to forget your day, “Translating the Name” will enable you to think about your situation in life differently.