The transnational trio healthyliving releases an album with music rooted in the alternative underground scene of metal and Post-Rock related music, with a title as evocative as any Leonard Cohen album. Add the strong clear vocals, which we know from Maud the Moth, and there is also a timbre of Indie Singer-Songwriter style to the music. The melodic themes from the diverse vocals and the heavy guitar mixed with deep bass and drums balance the music perfectly between mellow and discordant textures. This debut from the relatively young group of seasoned and visionary musicians is a feat.
Each song on this album is so well structured it could easily stand alone as a single and at the same time each song fits so well in the order it comes on the album. The first song ”Until” ends with heavy riffs and grooving bass, and layers of strong vocals become an instrument in and of itself, repeating “Until you cough it up”. The next song, “Dream Hive” keeps the energetic pace as it opens with a fast strumming guitar, hurried down-tuned bass and fast singing with a chorus lifting up the strong vocals over the heavy soundscapes. The sonics lighten up a bit and only the down-tuned bass keeps the heaviness. When the vocals return, it is a bit laid back before throwing itself forward again. The layered vocals are supported by a complex musical texture. The musical pace is hurried, with vocals singing “In silence, overgrown, neglected garden of the soul / Do you wanna join. It’s free. Do you wanna join it´s Eden as a dream”.
Like this, the lyrics are integrated into the ingenious creative music; it is like Cohen´s lyrics; a bit unclear and clear at the same time as it makes your imagination spin while listening. With a strong vocalist like Spanish singer Amaya López-Carromero of Maud the Moth it is natural that the ever-changing strong vocals become the main focus. Her emotive timbre gives stability, tension, direction and respite for each song. While the Scottish guitarist Scott McLean of Falloch and Ashenspire lays out the melodic background with both the bass and the guitar, riffing, surging, and calming the sonics as the German drummer Stefan Pötzsch lays the foundation with the drums.
Together they fuse their musical backgrounds into terrific music as they are not afraid to pick up some inspiration from other genres as on ”Back to Back”. Here the laid-back mode gives a sense of Jazz as the cymbals and drums open the song along a very slow laid-back strumming guitar and deep bass grooving a melodic theme. When the vocals appear, it is as laid back as any Jazz song could be. But here it is the clue to why their music is so captivating: There is an imperceptible increase in pace as the voice grows stronger. The song calms down again, returning to the first pace with the laid-back vocals floating along dreamy sonics. And thus, they have turned the song into a wonderful glissading Post Rock surge that lifts the sonics until it calms down once more to the laid-back mode it opened with as the vocal is repeating the title of the song.
The band takes a nod to heavy metal on ”To the Gallows” with a tumbling, distorted and powerful opening with instruments falling over each other, led by drums and bass and a swirling guitar. The vocals are strong and a bit irate; a notch higher than the previous ones before turning into a chorus with itself. It is an impressive treat how the vocals lead high pitched and strong as an instrument over the foundation of tight fast music. The low-end bass grooving, leading the song forward while the vocals rise once more to lead the dense music forward, “A coward just like me. / A shroud of empty words and teeth. Binding us in grief.”
The longest song, ”Galleries”, shows the band at the height of their creativity with its twists and turns, surges and calms. It opens unrushed with guitar and a caring, pensive voice that suits the slow beats of the song until a surge uproots the undercurrent of music to embrace the voice that seems a bit downcast in its strength. The music settles to continue with the reflective vocals accompanied by deep bass, drums and guitar until a new surge picks up the music once more. The song continues with its shifts until it opens wide for a crescendo and lifts the dynamic voice singing a captive melodic theme - soaring free and wild as the lyrics perfectly describe the mood of the song “Glowing scales under the sun”
This is an album with nine songs so well executed, so well written, and so well mastered, that you will come back to it again and again because of the strong reverberance it provides when you leave it.