Bats by Dye by the SwordRelease date: October 13, 2017
Dye by the Sword will be releasing their 3rd album on Friday October 13th. Fitting, since the first track off their album, ‘Flies’, scared the bejesus out of me! It shook me up and assaulted my senses, the whole album did. I proceeded to listen to the track several more times before proceeding onto the rest of the album. Their last album, Lanterns, was brilliant and this album is no less brilliant. Bats contains 7 tracks of pure expression. A great album from start to finish.
I was told that the album was written from January to September of 2016, during a period of personal difficulty for at least two of the band members. This definitely comes through in the music and the lyrics. The music is heavy, and at times dark, in its execution. Reverberated instruments paint a cavernous landscape of vastness and turmoil with splashes of black and grey. The titles of each track call on October’s haunting landscape. It’s a serious but thoughtful and cathartic listen. The band gave so much on this album and it really shows through.
I heard so many influences on this album; The Cure, Slowdive, Lush, Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Ros, This Will Destroy You etc. From the dreamy, distant vocals to the melancholic guitars and the in your face distortion delivered at just the right, sometimes beautiful, unexpected moments.
Let’s get into the album. It all begins with the track, ‘Flies’. Starts out with a steady beat. (The drumming on this album is really great.) With lots of reverb going around, the guitars start in with a beautiful melody, later added to with rhythmic keys in behind, dreamy vocals soon follow. A slight change and then a scream like sound. Totally eerie. Things then slow, a drone in behind and the melody soon begins again. Mid-way through, things get urgent, intensity builds. At this point the music is swarming, then the intensity stops. The bass plays a lonely melody with a Sigur Rós type swell follows. Guitars slowly come back. Intensity builds then the song ends. I can not do it justice here.
The second track is called, ‘Bats’. An atmospheric start. Reminded me a lot of Explosions in the Sky. The vocals again are dreamlike. So much wonderful reverb. This track really soars. The band is versatile in their playing structure; loud but soft with starts and stops, hills and valleys. At times, it’s like a track within a track. The vocals in this track are heart wrenching.
‘October’ is a very different track in both style and execution. Starts out with melancholic guitars and vocals. Then a very interesting drum beat and bass line begin, a stark contrast to the guitar and vocals. The track morphs a few times until it becomes one at the end.
The track, ‘Phantoms’, starts out with an 80’s themed synth sound. Distorted guitars and heavy drum beat soon follow. This track is ambient, it ebbs and flows, starts and stops. The synth and drumming here are really great. The track that follows, ‘Tar’, almost seems like a continuation of ‘Phantoms’, at the beginning. However, it soon comes into its own with its head banging beat. It’s another epic track.
‘Waves’ starts with the mighty bass and great New Wave synth sounds. The vocals on this album are so good and really shine on this track. Just when you think it’s over, it’s not. It begins again with sounds that come crashing like waves onto the shore.
The album ends on the track, ‘Good Eyes’. The only track with no lyrics. At times it reminded me of Radiohead; intricate in its musicality and intensity. ‘Good Eyes’ is an epic ending to an epic album.
The band took their personal experiences and wrote something expressive but unobtrusive. Allowing the listener to feel what they felt but through the listener’s own lenses. Equally amazing is that this album was 100% DIY. The musicianship on this album is outstanding and for me, it is a definite top 10 album for 2017.