Reason – The Darkest Star

Hey folks!

As I mentioned quite a few times here, my biggest goal, when I started this journey, was to eradicate the worst crime in music – no, I’m not talking about piracy… I am a little too tiny to fight against that. :/

What I mean is the crime of underrating the awesomeness of some obscure bands… Well, one can dream, right? I know it will never disappear completely but I will do my best to minimise it…

Since the production I’m going to talk about today is fresh out of the oven – having released their debut album only in December 2011 – they don’t have a widely accepted rating in the industry yet… I just wanted to pre-empt any crimes of this kind in this case…You must have already figured that I loved this album 🙂

This début album showcases an exciting, soulful atmosphere with powerful riffs, driving rhythms, infectious vocal melodies, mood-creating keyboards, excellent song-writing  and intelligent arrangements, all supported by some very fine drumming.

It does sound like a winning formula, eh?

And the result is quite impressive; a dark and dense melodic hard rock album with progressive influences, psychedelic moments and doom metal feel to it.

Having said that, it lifts me up in a strange way too… I couldn’t solve this dilemma of doom and gloom lifting me up. I’m not  obsessed with genre-labelling but if you have a theory, I’d love to hear it! Well, yeah, maybe I am obsessed a bit after all…

Anyway, back to the album, there are 10 songs on it, and as I heard from Chris, they have another 10 which have either came along later in the process, or were not used because the album was already an hour long of really good quality tunes.

One of the best things about this album is that their style is smoothly consistent throughout but don’t think that you’ll hear the same thing over and over again since songs have good variety. Seriously, I couldn’t pick any favourite but enjoyed all the tracks almost equally. Songs are all so different and tasty with a very nice flow and variety keeping the album interesting from start to finish. Listening to this album, I had the feeling that it just shows us how the strong bonds between Chris and Paul – from childhood friends to band mates years later – and the synergy between their experience in different styles led to Reason’s own style…

I’ve already mentioned that there are doom metal flairs here and there, but I have to say, it’s not the traditional doom as the songs that give you those vibes also have very catchy hooks which are not traditionally found in doom metal pieces.

Their sound is further enhanced by Gil Hird’s atmospheric keyboard work – it is there throughout the album and adds a lot to the depth and colour of the sound.

I think mixing also played a major role in the band’s signature sound. Vocals are not that high in the mix, or should I say that it looks like the producer saw that pushing the guitars up a little whereas keeping everything else well placed would create a huge, crushing, dense feel. I should as well mention the guitar tone used weighs a great deal in that feel!

One of the strongest points there is the very clever combination of the skillful guitars with the smooth vocals and of course, the bassist Graham Corbett and drummer Sean Feeley are pulling off a great rhythm work, too.

You can see very lively and engaging songs that grab your attention instantly as is the case for the killer opening track, Another World (where the proggiest guitars be) and All Seeing Eye… the heavy and aggressive riffs and the drums throughout, create a wild atmosphere and Paul is matching it with a more ambitious singing. Another song that struck me is Forever, with some high-register performance. Speaking of high performance, there is one instrumental on this album, The Crusade,  which is going to tear you apart if you are into heavy riffs, impressive bass lines, enchanting guitar melodies and the exhilarating guitar solos… Very neat job!

But this band’s quality is also coming from some well written & played songs in a more dramatic and darker tone that conjures up epic doom metal, giving the music a different kind of depth. Life To A Flame, which is one of these songs, is special for me as it was my passage to discovering this talented bunch who don’t seem to try to impress, yet be quite impressive quite naturally. This song will definitely please the die-hard fans of this genre.

The Darkest Star is another track that creates a soulful and emotional atmosphere. This is one impressive songwriting folks! These guys are obviously putting a great deal of emphasis on making the best of Paul’s vocal style.

On the closing track, Cool Starry Night, Reason seems to want to give us a dose of misery as a parting gift, filling the song with some moving riffs supported by fine drumming in a ballad atmosphere… and I have to say, they definitely succeed and close the album gracefully.

Enjoy the selection of songs guys!

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