2017-03-25 04:34:33 UTC
Even though the independent rock scene is quite inundated with new acts, there’s always a welcome place for an outfit that changes the formula enough to be consistently interesting and worth taking notice of. The New York-based alternative rock group Voices from Deep Below attempts to do just that, fusing together a variety of styles into a surprisingly coherent sound. Their new record, “I Want to Stand Where the Sun Himself Shakes with Fear”, is a five song album that navigates alt-rock, experimental, and borderline metal and progressive influences all at the same time.
Voices from Deep Below open their album with ‘This Is the Way,’ a near eleven- minute jaunt through intense, distorted electric guitar and heavy rock tinged soundscapes. The atmosphere comes in waterfall-like waves, though, and it’ll tear out of its cage, slowly subside back into atmospheric rumblings, and then maneuver its way forward again. At its more aggressive points, “This Is the Way” sounds like a Queens of the Stone Age demo tape. At its subtler sections, it feels like a Flaming Lips or Roger Waters tune that straddles the line between experimental rock and prog rock.
The second track of the album, “Blurred”, has a similar song structure, rising and falling in methodic waves of reverberated electric guitar and soft, almost indistinguishable vocal croons. True to name, “Blurred” does eventually blur together into a giant hodgepodge of noise, as if the songwriter had spent a little too much time listening to “Metal Machine Music” beforehand. This does more or less become the tone of the record: fuzzy electric riffing atop a bed of sparse vocal harmonies and copious reverb. “I Can’t Speak”, for example, is essentially eleven minutes of distorted chaos with a loose structure. Some of the soloing is excellent, however, making the latter parts of “I Can’t Speak” quite good fun to explore.
“Indigo/Younger” turns down the volume knob for a larger chunk of the song, letting the vivid lyrics and more intricate electric guitar musings shine through. The first two minutes of “Indigo/Younger” is arguably the most beautiful moment on the album. During its nine-minute run, though, the song takes several twists and turns, eventually exploding in a cacophony of distortion followed by a full minute of drowned out samples and electric meandering. “White Columns” closes the album with the most intense instrumentation of the bunch. The song slaps the listener in the face repeatedly for the whole run time, and it’s aggressively committed to doing so.
“I Want to Stand Where the Sun Himself Shakes with Fear” is only going to appeal to a very niche audience of music fans who are looking for modern alternative rock that pulls heavy influence from prog and experimental. Though it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, however, one can’t help but admire how Voices from Deep Below have crafted a sound that is unlike anything else out right now. Is it noise rock? Sort of, yes. Is it alternative, progressive, experimental, and bordering on heavy rock or metal? It’s all the above, and that’s why it’s worth taking a listen to.
- This Is the Way - 10:52 download
- Blurred - 08:48 download
- I Can't Speak - 10:37 download
- Indigo/Younger - 09:14 download
- White Columns - 11:02 download
alternative, rock, post-rock, shoegaze
Crafting a concept album is an incredibly difficult task. Tying together a cohesive narrative across a record’s worth of songs isn’t just daunting, it’s an endeavour that even some of the industry’s finest have failed to do memorably. This task, however, becomes notably more difficult when you’re dealing in the abstract via instrumental soundscapes. That is what Chronotope Project, the moniker of composer Jeffrey Ericson Allen, attempts to do with his latest project, ‘Ovum.’
NAAL is an eclectic music project led by Chicago composer Dave Mantel. This talented musician has a true passion for great melodies and haunting musical textures. His blend of ambient, shoegaze and experimental drone music feels personal and unique, echoing the work of artists such as Slowdive, Boards of Canada or Sigur Ros, just to mention a few.