Dario | Nov 15, 2023 | 0
Earthside – Let the Truth Speak
Earthside is a US-based band that made its way into the Progressive Metal scene with their first album “A Dream in Static” back in 2015. Their debut was highly acclaimed in the progressive community, praising the good production, talent, and the use of guest musicians which added flavours (sometimes the unexpected ones) to their songs.
Fast-forward 8 years, and the band releases a new album, “Let the Truth Speak”, and the question I had to answer for myself is: did Earthside manage to live up to their debut, or would they sound dated and pale in comparison?
The album is a mix of instrumental tracks and the songs with the guest vocalists. The first track is an instrumental introduction that heavily features the use of percussion, with the Sandbox Percussion group involved, as well as heavy guitar riffs. The following track, ‘We Who Lament’(which was previosuly released as a single) introduces Keturah as guest singer , who has a very distinct and powerful voice which is definitely a highlight of the song. Also I have to compliment the drumming by Ben Shanbrom, which, as a drummer myself, I really appreciated, and to me, it felt like a driving force in this track.
The third song, ‘Tyranny’, switches up the gears and starts with a massive guitar riff, and in general gives a much more “metal” sound than the previous tracks. The guest singer, Pritam Adhikary (Aarlon), did a fantastic job here, delivering some very impressive emotional screams throughout. This song definitely made me want to go and check out his band just to hear more of that.
The following song is ‘A Pattern of Rebirth’, with AJ Channer singer of Fire From The Gods, another band, I admit, I have never heard of. This is probably the heaviest single released by Earthside, and the deep voice of AJ is a highlight of the song, along with the catchy chorus.
What followed was ‘Watching the Earth Sink’, which might be my favourite track of the album. Fully instrumental, it gave me a post-rock feeling: started by the quiet and tasteful guitar intro, it then built up on top of it, slowly (this is the longest song on the album) adding more layers to the composition. The band’s genius really shines on such tracks, where the instruments and the composition take the main stage and the song has to keep evolving to stay interesting. I was definitely excited to see what the guys are going to throw in next and was blown away once again by Ben Shanbrom’s drumming, as the tom-based grooves were thrown in the mix, and they were very tasty. The much-anticipated climax was reached halfway through the song, a bit earlier than I expected, followed by another calm moment, led by the drums, and then exploding again beautifully. The composition of this song is truly remarkable, and it didn’t feel long, even though it is 11:46 minutes long.
Now, with 5 songs to go, I was thrilled to see what Earthside has in store next and I have to say I didn’t expect to hear what I heard: ‘The Lesser Evil’ features Larry Braggs, a singer with a very soulful voice, which I would not normally hear on a metal record, but it’s Earthside so anything is possible. What started as a jazzy/soul song, then transformed into a bizarre mix of metal and jazz, but it worked really well, and with the addition of brass instruments (Sam Gendel also features on this track), it was definitely a direction I was not expecting but fully embraced. Most of the guest vocalists were recruited by the band via Facebook, and it’s refreshing to see musicians who are normally not associated with metal, trying something new, which makes the sound of the band very fresh and interesting.
‘Denial’s Aria’ is the next track, which switches the gears once again but down this time – it’s a beautiful ballad, featuring the beautiful vocals from Keturah and Vikke, and The Duo Scorpio, who added harps to the mix, giving the song that bard feeling. It was yet another twist in the album which was followed by ‘Vespers’ – an interesting audible experience, with Gennady Tkachenko-Papizh and Vikke using their voices more like an instrument and creating the eerie atmosphere full of whispers and other vocal soundscapes. It felt like being in a fairytale or lured by mythical creatures from the depths of their cave.
The title track is also a previously released single, highly regarded by the prog community. Here Dan Tompkins (Tesseract, White Moth Black Butterfly, Earthside’s debut A Dream in Static) delivers what might be one of his best vocal performances, moving seamlessly from melodic and quieter singing, to screaming. . The improvisation from Gennady Tkachenko-Papizh also adds to the intense atmosphere. This track is definitely one of the best Earthside songs to date, and it feels fresh even when I listen to it now, weeks after it was released.
The album concludes with ‘All We Knew and Ever Loved’, an instrumental track featuring none other than Baard Kolstad (Leprous, Rendezvous Point). It builds up slowly, but then gets more and more intense with the help of the orchestral instruments, and essentially turns into a drum-off between Baard and Ben, which is a very interesting and tricky idea to implement right.
It’s a perfect conclusion to the album, with the organ outro providing the closure to this epic journey.
After going through the album, I can answer the question I asked myself: Yes, Earthside has done it again. They created an album that is very diverse musically, yet still very Earthside. It was an absolute joy to take this journey, discovering new musicians along the way, and I will even go as far as saying that “Let the Truth Speak”, in my opinion, is an even more remarkable album than “A Dream in Static”, which shows that the band, though they take their time with their releases, deliver the absolute best they can.
“Let the Truth Speak” is truly a cinematic experience, in which all band members and guest musicians had their say, bringing a piece of their own unique individuality to the mix. The lyrics are touching mostly the topics of human struggles, and they feel very personal and relatable. This approach to songwriting resulted in an album which feels grand but personal, epic but intimate, and I found myself returning to it again, which is a good sign.
People might have different ideas of what Progressive Metal is, but to me, this album captures the essence of the progressive music, and I can recommend it to anyone who wants something refreshing, but still heavy and technical. The record is brilliantly produced and hopefully the band will find a way to bring this magic to the live audience as well.
I am hoping it won’t take another 8 years to see album number 3!
- But What If We’re Wrong?
- We Who Lament
- Pattern Of Rebirth
- Watching The Earth Sink
- The Lesser Evil
- Denial’s Aria
- Let The Truth Speak
- All We Knew And Ever Loved