Intense, focussed and anthemic rock that hits all the right notes. Consistent from start to finish this album is an absolute knock out.
The glitchy opening of ‘Waste Away’ leads into a nice syncopated rhythm and sets the pace with a solid kick. Melodic and instant, this band has the smarts to serve up some big hooks and djenty-riffs quickly.
The momentum holds back for a verse that relies on some crafty bass and staccato hits and pops. The chorus lands firmly in the realm of a catchy anthem that is as more-ish and engaging as I’ve heard in a long time.
“Now that your gone / I’ve got nothing to prove / I’ve got nothing to hold on to anymore”.
The production is absolutely fantastic. It’s all clear, it’s all here and nothing is left to the background. Drums are crisp and tight, bass is punchy and prominent in the mix while guitars take centre stage at times and settle back to ride the rhythms respectfully. There are some melodic leads and lines that come and go without taking away from the stunning vocal performances too. There’s riffs flying left and right, runs up and down the fret board showing the mastery of the players and also maturity to know when things can afford to be technical and flashy rather than over the top.
This will suit fans of almost-prog rock like Circa Survive, Receiving End Of Sirens, Coheed and Cambria, Further Seems Forever etc and will probably reach a lot of new fans thanks to the rise and rise TesseracT and the bands associated with that movement.
Highlight track ‘My Curse’ takes things in exactly that direction with the bouncey djenty energy and high end guitar leads wailing behind the soaring vocals. The instant accessibility of the song is evident in the way the band wastes no time getting the chorus. They’ll throw a cool little riff at the end of it and then get really crazy with the follow up verse. There’s nothing short of 3 or 4 different directions the songs ‘could’ go at any one time yet Branch Arterial seemingly navigate to the most rewarding one every time. As far as song writing is concerned…this band has their shit together. Glued, bonded and welded together.
They should too, since they have had plenty of time to craft this music to it’s finest form. In fact it’s been years between conception and completion for the members in Branch Arterial, as the story goes..two of the members nearly died in the course of the past couple of years. Such awful challenges led to many set backs regarding this material. Set backs however can sometimes pose opportunities too. The chance to refine and improve where time and ambition may have otherwise blinded them to such insight. I can’t help but wonder if that’s the case here since song after song is just so well focussed, tight, clever and well written.
There’s passion, emotion and intention behind everything that’s found on ‘Beyond the Border’ and it’s worth your attention. This is going to make album of the year lists if there’s any justice in the world. A seminal underground classic if not.