Although the late ’90s saw a surge in bands labeled emo, it seems that the Lawrence, KS, foursome Appleseed Cast somehow broke through the stereotypes and made a name for itself. Sure, the sound on the debut album The End of the Ring Wars may be similar to such flag-bearers of the movement as Mineral or Sunny Day Real Estate, but something thatAppleseed Cast does is worthy of a closer listen. What Appleseed Cast does, the band does well. The group is capable of weaving a mournful story on this 11-song disc about a lost love and the quest to get her back; the vocals by singer Christopher Crisci may come off as similar to Sunny Day Real Estate’s Jeremy Enigk, and there may be times when one may desire to write Appleseed Cast off, but that is when the drumming starts to become amazing, the stairstep melodies begin to plead their case, and the occasional saxophone solo appears. The tempo picks up on one track, slacks off the next, and returns to something tragic after that. The pattern continues to alter and change and, before the listener is aware, The End of the Ring Wars is finished — and what has just occurred is a conglomeration of all the things the emo style has become known for. While there is a proliferation of independent bands attempting to make their marks in an oversaturated market, Appleseed Cast has since challenged the style to come to a new level, and The End of the Ring Wars displays the foundation for that argument.