Los Angeles instrumental rock quartet Barrows announce the forthcoming release of their sophomore album Red Giant today with the premiere of a live multi-track audio, multi-camera performance video via Exclaim! The clip for this version of the album track "Beyond" is available to watch/share HERE. (Alternate YouTube link.)
Red Giant is fittingly massive in thematic scope as it is in sonic heft. A concept album about the life of a star and what happens after it dies, the band depicts the stages of celestial death throughout the album's five epic tracks. Akin to similarly expansive musical works like Pink Floyd's Meddle,Tangerine Dream's Stratosfear, King Crimson's Red and a light dose of sci-fi soundtracks,Barrows build upon entrancing, circling riffs and rhythms intercut with explosive peaks and brilliant subtlty.
To capture this sweeping endeavor, the band teamed up with revered engineer Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Tool), hunkering down for several months at Kasai's newly built North Hollywood studio. The resulting 5-track, 40-minute album was mastered by Chris Common (Palms, Pelican) and will be available on LP and download on May 6th.
Opening track "Nebula" sets up the album's cinematic feel, starting with a hushed, distant layer of white noise as we slowly draw closer to the song's gurgling notes. Softly plucked guitar lines materialize, rising and fading in the mix as drummer Richy Epolito's driving beat veers into a wash of guitarist Jim Leonard's tremolo-soaked strings cascading from the speakers. The album's title track takes the proceedings up several notches to depict the final stages of the star, with a forcefully pulsating tom drum beat, chiming and wailing guitar notes circling around heavily distorted, rumbling bass notes. The drop followed by a huge delay swell at the end of the song is the sound of the star exploding and becoming a supernova. Transitioning into "Black Hole," the energy remains strong as the instruments astonishingly create a dizzying feeling that we're being pulled into an endless abyss. "Wormhole" follows from there, turning more upbeat and psychedelic, reminiscent of The Mars Volta's early prog-explorations with Epolito's masterful, endlessly rolling and rollicking beat and the ever-shifting wah-pedal warped guitar lines pushing and pulling in many directions. Finally, "Beyond" is the sound of us exiting the wormhole into a strange and unknown dimension. Beginning with clean tones and an interwoven bass and drum pattern, the tune progressively becomes darker and heavier while remaining rhythmic and mysterious.
Throughout Red Giant the tracks segue smoothly from one to another, creating an album that's best experienced as a whole, but equally filled with powerful standalone moments.
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Album: Red Giant
Label: Barrows Recordings
Release Date: May 6th, 2014
02. Red Giant
03. Black Hole
05. Beyond (VIDEO)
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