Album Review: The Callous Daoboys – Die on Mars (2019)

The Callous Daoboys are a mathcore band from Atlanta, Georgia, who released their debut album, Die on Mars, in 2019. In a particularly good year for this particularly chaotic genre, the Daoboys managed to come through with an incredibly fun and creative album.

On first listen, fans of mathcore will notice one major influence running throughout the record; The Dillinger Escape Plan. Of course, one could say that all modern mathcore bands are influenced by Dillinger to a certain extent, but the Daoboys sound like they are pulling specifically from the Miss Machine era of Dillinger. But don’t get the wrong idea, they aren’t clones. Their music is bursting with personality, and you don’t need to listen closely to hear why.

This personality comes through most obviously through the band’s excellent sense of humor. For starters, their name is a clever and obvious play on the name of the football team, “The Dallas Cowboys.” And you’ll get a few laughs by scrolling through their album and reading the song titles; “Flip-Flops at the Funeral,” “Blackberry DeLorean,” and “Cobra Winfrey.” However, funny and clever song titles are nothing new in mathcore.

For the Daoboys, their sense of humor goes beyond the name of their band or the name of their songs and into the music itself. Take, for example, the opening track, the aforementioned “Flip-Flops at the Funeral.” The track begins with chaotic, polyrhythmic drumming, throat-shredding screaming, and wild, sporadic guitars – your standard mathcore formula, but after the first minute of the track there’s a cut to, no joke, some goofy lounge jazz. This willingness to experiment and the creativity presented when it comes to combining genres sets the stage for the adventurous album to come.

There are also moments of theatricality sprinkled throughout the record, such as on the short yet dark and atmospheric track, “Die on Mars (Side Story).” The piano driven interludes complete with an industrial atmosphere and sensitive singing provides a good break in the flaming, ferocious sound of the rest of the record. Another example of this aspect of the band’s music can be heard towards the beginning of the 9th track, “Pure Schlock,” with it’s rowdy and fun intro and flamboyant vocals that could appeal towards fans of bands such as Panic! at the Disco. I’m curious (and hopeful) if these elements will be expanded upon on the band’s next record.

All around, this is an incredibly enjoyable listening experience for fans of heavy music. I could see this as being a good gateway into the mathcore genre for those who have never heard of it. I would highly recommend Die on Mars, it’s a good use of 35 minutes of your time.