Formed in 2009 by Jonny Bisaha, Tyler Shields and Tom Rasulo, Before the Satellites recently released their debut called Evolve. They are a talented indie act that lies somewhere between art rock and hard rock. The album is a mixed bag of somewhat predictable hard rock tendencies and sophisticated experimental glory. Sometimes I felt inspired; other times I didn’t feel like it was working. One appreciative element is the musicianship of the band who are all talented at their respective instruments. Another thing they’ve got going for them is that the songs feel honest and well executed. According to the band the production is intended to be viewed as one concept and should be listened to from beginning to end. (You can do this from their Soundcloud account.) The main issue I had with some of the songs is that they sometimes felt as if they were having an identity crisis.
Let’s start with “I’m Still Dreaming.” It begins with a single guitar slowly hitting mostly root notes. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The vocals entered sounding initially like Maynard from Tool but after a couple minutes I noticed the originality of his voice. Around the 2:40 mark in the song they go into rock mode - flexing their muscles a bit as the distortion pedals come out. I felt the second song hit the mark a bit better as the songwriting felt a bit more rounded. The band in my opinion sounded better with the distortion off. So the last song “Disappear Into Your Dream” was the hardest track being on the verge of black metal with double bass drum type drumming, thrashing guitars, and ferocious vocals. The lead singer on this song goes from sounding like Chris Cornell (kinda) at points to sounding like he might be better off singing for a Norwegian black metal band. Through its peak and valleys the song has some highs and lows. Verging on the side of highs. Despite the somewhat fractured genre hopping the songs on this album are solid, the band is talented and they write from the heart. I’m looking forward to how they Evolve in the future.
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