The Living Album Review (2017)



Artist The Living Album The Living Release Date: 22 September 2017
Label Self-release Genre Indie | Atmospheric

San Francisco progressive rockers, The Living, will self-release their self-titled debut album on September 22, 2017. With only seven tracks, the album runs over 40 minutes, and takes you on an auditory emotional ride.

On the whole, the album strives toward modern tones and arrangement, not unlike Muse (a band that’s simply a Radiohead clone) or Cult of Luna (albeit markedly less intense), but the influences on the band are inescapable. Whether The Living knows it or not, there are elements of Pink Floyd, Mark Knopfler’s (Dire Straits) guitar tone, The Cure, The Police, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, just to name a few.

Although The Living shares elements with the above mentioned at one point or another, they don’t sound like any of them, and by definition, they shouldn’t be considered to be heavy metal. Somehow, however, they reach some progressive metal or stoner metal moments, such as in the album opener “Tied to the Bed” and on “Delay,” Deceiver,” and others. “Delay” might be the most accessible track on the album, and the guitar work on that track is compelling, especially that sustained note toward the end of the solo; it gets you in the bones.

With the exception of tracks four and five, “No Love Gets Away” and “Hot Breath,” respectively, most tracks open with soft atmospheric tones and build toward a tangible intensity. From there, the band plays with your emotions, weaving between a cacophony of noise and soul-crushing pain and somber, reflective moments of clarity.

But track to track, the album isn’t as straight-forward as you might imagine. While the majority of the songs create a cerebral, pensive atmosphere of both hope and desperation, tracks like “Deceiver” and “Corpse Pose” take a Gothic direction in the vein of The Cure. This is most evident in the bass lines.

The Verdict:
No, The Living doesn’t conjure the visceral feelings that traditional heavy metal or high-octane hard rock does, but it does elicit an avalanche of feels. It’s the type of album that can be played in the background while you go about other tasks, or it can demand all your attention as you absorb the lyrics and how they complement the incredibly mature musical arrangement.

It is absolutely evident that The Living cared deeply about the artistic presentation of this album. As mentioned, the arrangement of each track is amazing, but also the production and mixing is incredible for an album being self-released. Each note, each sound, each shift in tone and in intensity appears to have been carefully crafted and timed. Whether or not The Living wanted the listener to feel something, it’s very clear that they felt the music, and that makes the album that much better.

the living album cover

Rock Hard \m/

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