Usually hip-hop seems to be the one genre in which everyone has a side project. But if you look closely you will see that metal has been following a similar trend as of late. Let’s face it—metal is changing these days. A lot of bands are moving away from the gratuitous death format and are embracing something that is more for the thinking man, as bands such as Dillinger Escape Plan, Isis, Mastodon, Meshuggah, etc are getting more in touch with their prog sides with jazzy rhythms and an arty taction. This is where the Red Sparowes come in. Consisting of Bryant Clifford Meyer (Isis) and John Graham (the visual guy for Neurosis) on guitars, Greg Burns(Halifax Pier) on bass and pedal steel (that’s right, a pedal steel!) , Andy Arahood (Angel Hair) on bass and guitar, and David Clifford (The VSS, Pleasure Forever) on drums, Red Sparowes are a hippie head banger’s wet dream.
“Alone and Unaware, The Landscape was Transformed in Front of Our Eyes” comes pealing in with icy guitar chimes through a whirlwind of shivering drum cymbals. The chirping birds of “Buildings Began to Stretch Wide Across the Sky, And the Air Filled With A Reddish Glow” approximates a Brian Eno record being played at the same time as an ambient mixtape by LTJ Bukem. Captivating enough is how the guitar procession remains jangling and rugged all at once. The soundscapes of “Mechanical Sounds Cascaded through the City Walls and Everyone Reveled In Their Ignorance” reminds one of the Agaetis Byrjun days of Sigur Ros as it glides with the semblance of a sleeping dragon. Before you know it the Isis side of Red Sparowes really comes out with the augmented riffs.
The droning ocean floor resonance which moves at a breezy pace on “A Brief Moment of Clarity Broke Through the Deafening Hum, But it was Too Late” is like someone playing Future Sound of London’s Dead Cities album underwater as some rather haunting howls come cooing in. The song is all set adrift with the docile thud from Arahood’s bass.
The mannerisms of “Our Happiest Days Slowly Began to Turn into Dust” are rather orchestral, creeping into borderline Celtic realm, whereas the twelve minute closer, “The Sixth Extinction Crept Up Slowly, Like Sunlight Through the Shutters as We Looked Back In Regret,” is in itself an enigma wrapped in mindfuck.
At the Soundless Dawn is a daring feat on behalf of all the members of Red Sparowes because it might just be the defining moment where metal meets post rock. Some listeners and even critics may not have the stomach or the patience for lengthy and prog minded rock like this. But no matter what your stance is with At the Soundless Dawn, one can’t deny the stamina with which this band plays, as their chemistry is breathtaking to say the least.
Ufomammut – Snailking
Pelican – The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw
Isis – Panopticon