Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Attalus - Into the Sea

My favorite albums of all time all have some things in common.  I want to be moved by the melody, I want to revel in its aggressiveness, and I want to indulge in its complexity.  Songs and albums that I truly love mix weaving guitars and complex mixed vocal styles with incredible and professional songwriting.  There are not many bands that write music this way.  Thrice did it.  Emery does it (to an extent).  Between the Buried and Me does it.  Alexisonfire did it.  These bands have all produced some of my favorite music of all time.  You can add Attalus to this list as well… Into the Sea ranks as one of my favorite albums of all time.

The album starts with a neat “sea shanty” type of intro.  The banjo and bells create a down and dirty bayou feel.  After this nifty intro, the album really takes off.  The next three songs are driving rockers, with Sirens being a real standout.  The mixture of beautiful piano with heavy handed guitar, bass, and drums is an intoxicating formula.  Combine this with the dual singing of the clean vocalist and screamer, and you have yourself very potent post-hardcore fare. 

However, just as you think you’ve figured these guys out, Man O Shipwreck pops up.  This absolutely beautiful and haunting piano ballad throws shades of Thrice’s The Alchemy Index’s Water Album into the mix.  It really gives an excellent breath of fresh air.  The vocals are top notch, and the melody is beautiful. 

The next couple of tracks are really solid, with Albatross being a favorite of mine.  The tapping guitar licks and back and forth screaming creates a really dense sound that gives the listener a ton to hear. 

The Breath Before the Plunge isn’t my favorite song on the album.  The weird screamy-jazz intro doesn’t do much for me, but it redeems itself with a very catchy chorus that hooks itself into you. 

The next three tunes are piano heavy rock ballads that feel a bit less edgy than the previous tunes.  These are excellent songs that allow you to catch your breath from the intensity of the introductory songs.  O the Depths is one of my favorite songs of all time.  It builds from a really soft place into something truly epic.  The band utilizes the space of the music in order to really move the listener.  The ending of the song is goosebumps-inducing. 

The end of the album isn’t as strong as the first 13.  The fourteenth song, Safe, is a bit of an odd song choice here.  The album is pushing out 16 songs.  It’s an epic and relatively exhausting listen.  So when the band should be ending on a strong note, it reveals an instrumental song that ends with a prayer.  It’s a bit dramatic, and I can guarantee that it will be the most skipped song on the album.   The last three songs aren’t the strongest of the album, but Death Be Not Proud is an 8 minute opus that has some incredibly moving parts and pieces but will test the patience of even the most avid music fan.  This would have been a great song to place in the first three.  The very final song ends with some melodies that wouldn’t be out of place on a Lumineers album.  These are all great songs, but I think that the epic first 13 sort of takes away from these slower (albeit excellent) ending songs. 

With that all being said, pacing issues aside, this is the finest album of the year for me.  I have listened to it on repeat pretty much non-stop.  These are incredible musicians who know how to write incredible music.  I don’t throw around this comparison a ton, but this band reminds me of Thrice.  The same passion, musicianship, and energy flows through this entire album.  My wife knew these guys were a big deal when I said these words to her… I think I may have a new favorite band.

- The Professor


Anonymous said...

Superb stuff, tks Professor.

Anonymous said...

'Death Be Not Proud' will test even an avid music fan?! The track is fantastic and ebbs-and-flows brilliantly, and all the blogs and sites I've checked, I've seen so many single the track out as their pick of the album.

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