Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Appleseed Cast - "Illumination Ritual"

Kansas emo and post-rock titans The Appleseed Cast return with Illumination Ritual, the Chris Crisci-led band’s eighth album is out today on Graveface Records. 
Even with a new drummer, Nathan Wilder and new guitarist, Taylor Holenbeck, the distinct opening notes of chiming guitars and pinging ride cymbals of album opener, “Adriatic To Black Sea”, sets the tone right from the start for a classic-era album from the band.  The standout first single, “Great Lake Derelict” follows with some intricate tumbling drum patterns, atmospheric guitars and Crisci’s unique vocals for a welcome return; the band hasn’t released any new material since the 2009 album Sagamartha and the 2011 EP Middle States.  The instrumental, “Simple Forms” opens with pulsing keys and clicking guitars, building slowly before the propulsive drums bring the song to a rousing end.  Another standout, “Cathedral Wings” is packed with sweeping keyboards, catchy vocal melodies and energetic time signature changes that showcase the band’s fluid chemistry.  “30 Degrees 3 AM” closes out the first side of the album with harmonic yet warped finger-tapped guitar notes and an anthemic chorus.  Next, “Branches On The Arrow Peak Revelation” harkens back to the band’s more experimental post –rock Low Level Owl days with reversed guitar lines that curl around a shuffling beat along with a touch of stuttering electronica for a modern touch.  A driving rhythm and soaring vocals highlight “Barrier Islands (Do We Remain)” and clocking in at six minutes, “North Star Ordination” is the longest and most epic songs on the album.  The dynamic “Clearing Life” opens with a charging, anthemic guitar riff that shifts into a glimmering passage and features some airy vocal melodies.  Closing out the ten-track album is the title track, “Illumination Ritual” with its crashing cymbals and playful, siren-like synths. 
It is so great and refreshing to hear a band that even through so much change over fourteen years, can still churn out solid music that incorporates the distinct touchstones of their sound but also feels fresh, like The Appleseed Cast has with their excellent new album, Illumination Ritual.         

Download “Cathedral Rings” here: https://soundcloud.com/graveface/the-appleseed-cast-cathedral  


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