Now and Forever – Of Wounds and Blessings… EP
Record Label: unsigned
Release Date: October 25, 2008
‘Twas a dark and stormy night. We walked to where the waves battered the coast and mused aloud. Then things cleared up all of a sudden and we exchanged words with a blacksmith. He’s awfully good at his job. We smiled, despite our troubles. The sunset was quiet and beautiful and triumphant.
Welcome to Of Wounds and Blessings…, the latest EP from Minnesota rockers Now and Forever. If you’re confused, get used to it. The band’s eclectic mix of moods is as topsy-turvy as Alice’s meanderings through Wonderland, and every bit as intricate. Of Wounds and Blessings… borrows some ambience from the band’s Minnesota brethren, Weaver at the Loom (the EP was actually recorded and produced in part by Weaver’s Izaac Burkhart), and whips it into a whirlwind with the passionate rock stylings of bands such as Circa Survive, Thrice, and This Providence. The result, when juxtaposed against lead singer/lyricist Dan Mariska’s intense meditations, is a living, breathing landscape of craggy chords and soaring melodies.
It’s this landscape that the listener traverses, and for a five-song EP, we certainly cover a lot of ground. The journey begins in a dark place (“The King and the Thief”), vaulting from quiet murmurs of “You don’t have to breathe underwater/ If you don’t want to” to thundering percussion, shrieking riffs, and volatile cries of “Bite your tongue/ Bite your tongue!” “Lions” continues to wind through narrow crevices, throwing minor chords onto black, oil-slick flames and hiking endlessly into the yawning earth to find the sun, which in this upside-down world is buried deep underground.
Yet somehow, after two tracks, we emerge into the light. “The Blacksmith” and “We Make Our Beds” are both finely crafted rock anthems, praising our transformed surroundings with bright atmospheres built of fantastically exultant instrumentation. These are the sumptuous rolling hills of the EP, coated as they are in the delicious pairing of blooming guitars and vocal patterns that climb ceaselessly skyward. And of course we follow them in “Through Glass on Windows” as the album peaks in the clouds, held aloft by a long crescendo of interwoven suspended keys, breathy “oohs,” and cascading cymbals. Ending on a high note has been redefined.
Now and Forever have led us down a strange, twisting road. Although the music’s character shifts from one scene to another, often in strict opposition, the album melts together into a well-executed harmonic expedition. Minnesota has once again turned out a talented group of up-and-comers writing some of the best melodic rock on the market. It would be wise to tune in and take a trip with Now and Forever and the Of Wounds and Blessings… EP.
We found these guys just as their album was getting finished, they seem to have come out of nowhere with this sound. One of my favorite albums of the year. We'd got to play with these guys a few times too and they're great dudes and great live. Also enjoyed the review Travis!
You seem to know your Minnesota locals. These dudes, weaver, red fox, all have been around the local circuit for some time under various bands/names. Glad that they're getting exposure. Awesome reviews, all of them.