The Cast Before The Break – As Your Shoulders Turn On You
Record Label: Red Dragon Records
Release Date: March 18, 2008
With As Your Shoulders Turn On You, I find myself at another hopeful beginning. I can’t believe the great music deities in the sky (My patron deity is named Vyxen and he looks over all of our world’s blast beats) have found me worthy to, yet again, hear a stunning band early in its lifespan. The Cast Before The Break, despite their questionable album cover choice, are wise and talented. The band strums itself into fits of aggressive melody multiple times, and even when showcasing shimmering electronics and acoustic guitars during “Relying On A Respirator,” their urgency is apparent. The darkness of these songs breeds mystery. The mystery breeds questions. The questions breed a search for truth. The answer is joy in art. The answer is youthful vigor. As Your Shoulders Turn On You is the answer.
I have a hunch that when a band decides to model themselves after The Appleseed Cast and, although very much their peers, Moving Mountains, it is more like creating from memory than following a distinct recipe. Some things will be forgotten and some added, which creates an interesting hybrid of, in this case, even larger proportions. We have long runtimes, off-key harmonizing (with occasional female assistance) and freeform structures made to sound precise. TJ Foster’s voice steers the ship far away from earth and normalcy. We soar as they soar. “Agnosia” begins innocently enough with an acoustic guitar and a grooving bass. Foster even seems sweet; he nearly croons. But from the very first listen, the very first verse, it is easy to feel the monster rumbling beneath. Our first true glimpse at this veiled assault comes in “Cerca Trova.” Sneering, rumbling drum fills and Coheed and Cambria-esque metal-lite guitars come together in an impressive solo. My seemingly endless list of vague adjectives won’t do this justice. The song is a jam is a story is a trip. The band fades out with a benign acoustic guitar, giving us a chance to ruminate and breathe deeply.
“From The Earth At A Crossroad” is a bit too radio alt-rock for me, although I can’t help but tap my toe to the grooving percussion. Foster does his best Aaron Weiss impersonation and scream/whines for a tad too long. A far-off gang chorus punctuates each tough-white-guy riff. I’m oddly happy this song blows. They’re human after all, and the thought of improvement is exciting. On a completely different note, “Onward Love” glows with creativity. I can’t push you enough to fill your ears with it’s post-rock for pop-rock fan leanings. It could be the key to a certain world oversaturated with pedestals and messenger bags. “Understanding The Universe” starts slow with piano and scratchy electronics. Foster delicately sings, “Here we are / In the middle of a ceasefire / Surrounded by an atmosphere / Too weak to keep us warm.” The imagery hints at so much, and as quick snare taps introduce spacey, pedaled riffs and a mock symphony, The Cast Before The Break seem to be teasing us further. Even with the looming climax so near, I was wholly unprepared for what was to come. The onslaught of sound was truly fulfilling. Zig-zagging repetitions of “This is far too heavy for a child to take,” and overpowering melody bring the album to a close. But, this record doesn’t truly end until your large smile fades away. My cheeks are still killing me.
Recommended If You Like: Moving Mountains, The Appleseed Cast, Moving Mountains, The Appleseed Cast, Moving Mountains, The Appleseed Cast, shenaninanigans,
so, great review... Definitely one of the best pieces of writing I've seen as far as reviews go.
A little harsh on some points. Although, being a first time listener and maybe not fully knowing all about the story behind the lyrics, or the full concept behind the album, can lead to someone feeling more confused and less awe-struck.
The songs tell a story that will leave the listener wondering if they were just dreaming...
It's a great album. And it definitely deserves to be heard.
ok, so i have been around these guys for a year or two now, and seen their growth from the last album to this, and i have to say that your review nails it right on the head. these guys not only are incredible, but they all have a genuine love for their music. they believe they have a specific purpose and message, and want to get it to the ears of the world. I myself actually (and by coincidence) heard the record in its entirety for the first time last night, and i was blown away. These guys could be, and deserve to be, huge. mark my words, this band will continue on for some time no matter what the response is.