Wednesday 6 July 2022

Subjects/Rulers - Subjects//Rulers

Labels: IFB Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 31 Dec 2016


1. Of Milk And Wine

2. Surely You Must Be Joking

3. Godel, Escher, Bach

4. Nice Death Ray, Buddy

5. Don't Let The Cat Out Of The Box

6. The Uncertainty Principle (On The Nose)

7. Your Number Is Up

8. Famous Last Words

This self-titled EP was the only release (that I know of) to come from Nashville, Tennessee (USA) screamo band Subjects/Rulers. Originally released digitally by the band in October 2015, it later saw the light of day as a tape release via IFB Records and Zegema Beach Records in December 2016. Subjects/Rulers featured links to Cease Upon The Capitol and Dolcim (amongst others), so came with a pedigree already. 100 tape copies were pressed.

Subjects/Rulers were a trio (a power trio if you will). Their sound is certainly powerful with opener ‘Of Milk And Wine’ sounding noisy straight from the off. The screams are harsh in an emotive way, though they do spill over into almost emoviolence territory sometimes. The blasts from the percussion and tempos remind me a bit of black metal or at least blackened screamo. The instrumentation and tempo of ’Surely You Must Be Joking’ is more upbeat, with melody being more present atop of the raw heaviness of the music. As with the opener, Subjects/Rulers punctuate that heaviness with a more introspective mid-section, which leads to suitably loud ending. 

‘Godel, Escher, Bach’ builds with sixty seconds of instrumentation that increases in volume, before the band unleashes some kick-ass Cave In-style, spacey screamo. I use Cave In as a loose similarity because at times the guitar work really does remind me of them. ’Nice Death Ray, Buddy’ sees them return to their noisier roots. Besides the comparison I’ve already used, I’m finding it hard to compare their sound to anything else as I don’t like to draw on past projects/bands too much. I really love the higher-pitched screams as well.

The all out emotion/power that greets you on ‘Don’t Let The Cat Out Of The Box’ is hard to beat and that’s only in it’s first half. The second half of this careening masterpiece is made up of instrumental beauty and caustic sensibilities that stop on a dime, leading to ‘The Uncertainty Principle (On The Nose)’. Being able to actually stick some music on makes me feel so much better about the fact that I haven’t posted anything for about a week and I’m happy that it gets to be this record. ‘The Uncertainty Principle (On The Nose)’ is a mid-paced dream, albeit with some trademark intensity too.

This whole release is very soothing, in a way that only screamo can be. Penultimate song ‘Your Number Is Up’ starts in that exact way before building in volume and musical layers. Again, there’s that surf/noise-rock influence that meshes itself into the band’s abrasive dissonance. It all just works so well (though as always I’m writing about what I hear so don’t shoot me down). Things are brought to a close by ‘Famous Last Words’ and it’s huge! There’s not a lot else that needs to be said.

I know there are many bands that haven’t made it past one release; however, those bands definitely deserve attention all the same. Subjects/Rulers were able to combine their experiences as members of other screamo greats to make this album as enjoyable as it is. I’m not sure if there are any tape copies still available in the wild but if there are, I’ll fight you for one!

For Fans Of: Cease Upon The Capitol, Dolcim, Role, Trachimbrod & Gillian Carter

You can stream and purchase Subjects/Rulers digitally below:-

Rejoice, copies do still exist in the wild and can be purchased from the below link:-

Zegema Beach Records CAN/INTL Store -

IFB Records -

Zegema Beach Records -

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