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Between The Heart And The Synapse

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Album Review

Once you've been an avid music lover for several decades, it becomes a pretty rare thing to stumble across a group whose sound is so original, it's difficult to play the usual game of name-that-influence. This Boston-based band has regrettably been saddled with the emo tag, but their intricately constructed sound incorporates elements of genres ranging from metal and electronica to punk and prog, resulting in an engaging aural assault that is uniquely their own. On their stunning debut album, producer Matt Squire (Northstar, Thrice) does an impressive job of capturing the quintet's three-pronged guitar attack, with a crisp, clean mix that ensures not a single detail goes unnoticed. Which is pretty remarkable when you consider the vast cornucopia of sounds here, which include everything from hammer-of-the-gods drumbeats and spacey synth breaks to artfully arranged segments in which three vocalists sing different lyrics in harmony. Fans of prog metal bands such as Tool and Coheed & Cambria will likely be the quickest to fall for the Receiving End of Sirens, as they take a similarly complex approach to songwriting that largely avoids typical verse-chorus-verse structures in favor of sonically adventurous epics that twist and turn hither and yon before morphing seamlessly into something else entirely. Nearly every song here is a journey unto itself, such as "The War of All Against All," which opens with a throbbing tribal beat that evolves into an arena-worthy anthem, only to erupt with a ferociously head-banging chorus full of shifting rhythms and perfectly blended guitars and vocals, which eventually gives way to a rapturous climax full of emotional catharsis. Far too many bands these days are willing to slap a dozen or so hastily assembled songs together and call it a day. But the Receiving End of Sirens is that rare group that truly seems to respect the compositional craft, and every single epic here shows an admirable level dedication to the art form. And for that, if nothing else, they absolutely deserve a listen.

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Between The Heart And The Synapse, Receiving End Of Sirens, The
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