Let The Truth Speak

Music Theories / Mascot
rating icon 9 / 10

Track listing:

01. But What If We're Wrong (feat. Sandbox Percussion)
02. We Who Lament (feat. Keturah)
03. Tyranny (feat. Pritam Adikhary of Aarlon)
04. Pattern Of Rebirth (feat. AJ Channer of Fire From The Gods)
05. Watching The Earth Sink
06. The Lesser Evil (feat. Larry Braggs and Sam Gendel)
07. Denial's Aria (feat. Keturah, VikKe and Duo Scorpio)
08. Vespers (feat. Gennady Tkachenko-Papizh and VikKe)
09. Let The Truth Speak (feat. Daniel Tompkins of Tesseract and Gennady Tkachenko-Papizh)
10. All We Knew And Ever Loved (feat. Baard Kolstad of Leprous)

When EARTHSIDE released their debut album "A Dream In Static" (2015),  it sounded like the beginning of a potentially towering legacy. A fiendishly complex but eminently accessible barrage of modern, post-djent prog metal and elegant, atmospheric songwriting, it covered so much ground that the New England crew were widely hailed as prog's next big thing. Few people anticipated that it would take eight years to fashion a follow-up, but a cursory listen to "Let The Truth Speak" will explain exactly why EARTHSIDE took their time. The debut was a remarkable, widescreen affair, but this is insanely ambitious, all-encompassing and, at times, overwhelmingly opulent and cinematic. Augmented with a glittering international line-up of guest stars, from TESSERACT frontman Daniel Tompkins to Larry Braggs, singer with Oakland funk legends TOWER OF POWER, "Let The Truth Speak" is one of those rare records that transcends obvious genre tags and simply stands as a monument to unabashed creativity and the enriching benefits of a truly progressive mindset. Clever, inordinately talented bastards, this lot.

Inspired by the unstoppable waves of change that have affected us all, in one way or another, over the last eight years, "Let The Truth Speak" is a deeply emotional and often painfully beautiful piece of work. Furthermore, it is so meticulously detailed and lavishly layered that a more focused writer than me could write a book about it. As it stands, EARTHSIDE have crafted a series of sumptuous and superbly inventive songs that are as richly melodic as they are overblown. Led by the soaring voice of guitarist Jamie van Dyck, each one of these songs offers a self-contained musical microcosm, wherein great ideas collide in showers of sparks, and nothing ever evolves in a conventional way.

It is nigh-on impossible to imagine any devoted fan of progressive rock/metal failing to succumb to this album's preposterously grandiose charms. Whether it is the succinct, post-rock pugilism of "Pattern Of Rebirth" or the magnificent, ultra-nuanced sprawl of the title track, EARTHSIDE have manifested their own musical universe here, and the only sensible response is to dive confidently into its swirling, multifarious heart.

The band have stated that their reservations about "A Dream In Static" led to "Let The Truth Speak" becoming an album that aims as high and as near to perfection as possible. To pore over every detail would ensure that this review would vastly exceed its intended word count, and so the sane option is to pick out a couple of songs that best represent the brilliance and audacity behind the whole startling enterprise. Firstly, "Tyranny": a monumental, grandiose ballad that drifts gently into twinkly eyed post-rock territory, before steering away through an extraordinary mesh of counterintuitive riffs and oblique melodies, as heavenly strings pierce the thunderous façade, like the soundtrack to some wild, dystopian romance. Beauty is an underrated quality in metal, progressive or otherwise, but EARTHSIDE have harnessed its impact and applied it to some truly heavy and intricate material. "Tyranny" is simply stunning. Meanwhile, the aforementioned Mr. Braggs appears on "The Lesser Evil". The track was penned by drummer Ben Shanbrom, it is the funk-prog crossover that we never knew we needed. Exquisitely soulful, predicated on gossamer dynamics and, at the most shocking of its many crescendos, drenched in the vigorous brass and lithe syncopation of the finest '70s funk, it is a fiercely original as anything released in recent memory. Superficially, it is PERIPHERY plus PRINCE. In reality, it will blow your fucking mind.

The same is true of every other song on "Let The Truth Speak". Progressive music needs albums that push the envelope and challenge conventional thinking. This does all of that and more. EARTHSIDE are audibly and collectively exhilarated by inspiration throughout this incredible piece of 21st century art, and we can only hope that it doesn't take another eight years for them to make their next move.

Author: Dom Lawson
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