The Wichita, Kansas band Standing in the Colour, formed in 2009, have made their third release an EP entitled “Awaken | Abandon | Adapt” and it explores the “duality and metaphysics of sound.” The trio made up of Mike Gangwere on drums and electronics, Mike’s wife Erin Gangwere on bass, and Erin’s brother Mark Green on guitar are known for their mix of progressive metal, experimental, electronic and ambient musical styles. The album cover art provides a valuable companion piece to the three-song listening experience. It tells an origin story and offers a conceptual gateway to understanding the music. At the site where the album was written, the band discovered a three-sided stone with unusual properties and obvious numerical significance. Its coloration echoes the dichotomies present throughout the music: darkness and light, mass and weightlessness, momentum and reflection. Visually speaking, it’s a pretty cool looking album cover!
True to form, the songwriters have composed seamless arrangements of these songs, out of ever changing beats, riffs and intensities — each track hewn from a single larger vision. Unlike their past releases, this one contains glowing deposits of electronic effects that give the music an otherworldly dimension. The drums were recorded at Red Cat Recording as well as the mixing in Peck, Kansas, while the guitar, bass, synth and electronics were recorded by the members themselves.
The EP starts off with “Awaken” which is an energized, intense and spacious metal-prog rock piece that folds back many layers and textures of sound. The synths add another dimension, which I thought was the icing on the cake and gave the song a sense of completeness. Overall, the way in which the instruments came together made me think of some battle scene in a dystopian sci-f movie. Next is “Abandon” which ramps up the tempo a bit more than the last number. This song seemed to have more dynamic playing involved, heavier and edgier on the progressive and metal styles. And, more spaciousness/ambient sounds with the guitar. The best section of this one was after the four-minute mark where the band performed in almost a marching unison fashion. The ending gets downright explosive!
Last, there is “Adapt” which starts off on a more ambient tone, filled with more synth action and electronic effects. The overall style is clean and crisp, perhaps with less of a metal edge and it’s something you might hear on the radio program Hearts of Space. Towards the middle, the group does make a detour with raw energy, forceful and loud! Mike Gangwere doing these crazy triplets (or what?) on the snare, too. Insane! The last two minutes or so gets even better as the band goes all out with explosive energy and dare, I say reckless abandon. But they keep it together and draw the song to a close with spacious, prog-metal beats bound to fill your progressive/instrumental rock needs. Recommended.
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