New Album Stream and Review
I remember when ‘Illumination Ritual’ came out in 2013. It was The Appleseed Cast’s latest record, and the first new music released since I had gotten into the band some time post-high school. Mill’s Record Company in Kansas City posted about getting the hot new vinyl in, and the rest is history. I rushed down to pick it up and didn’t take it off my turntable for a week or two. Now, six years later, my little heart flutters again with the release of "The Fleeting Light Of Impermanence."
Hitting the ground running, the album delves into calculated chaos right away.
Wasting no time, the Appleseed Cast reel you in - hook, line, and sinker - with the aptly titled “Chaotic Waves”. The opening track to the Lawrence, Kansas band’s latest effort boasts a bevy of guitar tone, chirping keys, and big, BIG drums. Mulling over the title a bit, I get stuck on the word “wave”. I think it’s fair to say that the whole album unfolds in waves; typical for the quartet. Big moments in the music undulate and move and boom and then just...crash. These huge motifs and large sounds fall to the wayside of soft and gentle instrumentation in a constant flow of sonic power. It’s in these times of soft and gentle instrumentation when the band transitions.
Track two, “Petition”, is the early rally cry for the record. Working in tandem, the drums roll out into a somewhat primal sounding beat while the guitar weaves in and out of the rhythm, forging a jaunty and highly groovable tune. You can’t help but to tap your toe, bob your head, and move to the music. Before you know it, that wave again crashes and the waters still, mustering up the energy to create yet another wave; track three has started. Anthemic and powerful, “Time The Destroyer” is the first glimpse into The Fleeting Light Of Impermanence as the album’s lead single.
“Collision” offers a satisfying slow burn to action. The nearly two-minute intro evolves into this polyphonic party that will remain only a subtle feature for a while. At nearly the three-minute mark, another evolution takes place as “Collision” gains speed. The drums pick up, and as before, a strong and clean guitar line dances about, adding life to the song. Another crash of the wave brings in a thick bass line and hushed vocals. The energy regenerates as singer Chris Crisci’s vocals wash over the track, transitioning the song into familiar musical themes, allowing “Collision” to quietly fade to silence. This track is a doozy, gang.
A temporary reprieve is found in tracks five and six, “The Journey” and “Asking The Fire”, respectively. The songs remain bold and fiery, but massive bouts of sound are replaced by something that seems a little more pinpointed and focused. A wiry guitar will shift tone, the vocals will resonate a little differently, and droning synths lay robust ground-works. The seventh track, “Reaching The Forest”, is a great example of the Appleseed Cast’s ability to create a narrative through music. The slow, droning intro can be interpreted as a long journey to this mystical place. The song explodes into melody and rhythm with bright guitars and perky percussion. The way the music intertwines itself and plays into itself, the more the story unfolds. A trek through the unknown, an unexpected obstacle or two, a climactic crescendo, and a grandiose finish.
“Last Words” offers a truly beautiful send off for The Fleeting Light Of Impermanence. The final track comes in with a bulky bass and drum back-and-forth. Captivating guitars take the stage and the song settles into a gentle groove. A tonal shift hits at the minute-thirty mark, weaving some angst and tension into “Last Words”. As the body of music builds and swells, a sense of complicated emotion compounds. The vocals chime in with a warming and welcoming vibe. The wave builds as the layered and lively instruments and Crisci’s voice work together. And triumphantly, the song fades and the album closes. After it all ends, a familiar feeling swells up inside. I get the same rush of energy I did upon first hearing "Illumination Ritual." The Appleseed Cast have, yet again, managed to put out a record that is so unique and so refreshing. Breaking their nearly six year silence was well worth it for "The Fleeting Light Of Impermanence."
Be sure to catch The Appleseed Cast on tour: