Having reviewed and loved their debut album back a couple of years ago we were more than interested to take a listen to this new record from Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster and are pleased to find that they have not lost any of the strong personality that impressed us so much on that album, in fact, their intense art-metal sound has matured and evolved nicely to give us one of our records of the year so far.
The band apparently took inspiration from the life and work of author Philip K. Dick on this new album Exegesis and that inspiration has obviously worked for them. They have retained the texture of their previous output with layers of soft melody, sludgy, chunky guitar and intense, noisy soundscapes but surprisingly, in a change from their all instrumental debut, they've included vocals on some tracks. The vocals luckily are very well judged, slotting in seamlessly, not breaking the dark and intense atmospherics of the record, in fact Exegesis, the first track they appear on, is a triumph; emotive and melodic layers break into the darkness really, making a connection with the listener (think Latitudes rather than ISIS for a comparison). One of the instrumental tracks, which is already a favourite, the 11 odd minute epic Valis showcases everything that's great about the band with a base of heavy duty but complex drumming and superb guitars carrying the gently melodic sections but also pumping out meaty riffs; it builds time after time through waves of skin prickling noise but never feels obvious or expected.
The band's DIY ethic of self-financing, recording and mixing the record themselves has allowed them to retain full control of this album and they've taken full advantage of this with a full, distinctive sound that doesn't compromise but also, they know when to reign things in and as a result it feels organic yet controlled, fluid and effortlessly engaging. This is an addictive record which will no doubt be a playlist favourite for us for a long while to come. Highly recommended.