Washed Upon a Shore
"Modern rock" is a term that gets thrown around blithely these days, especially when the rock in question is of local origin. A few elements seem to be common to this stew, including loud/soft dynamics, a blend of clean foreboding and distorted fury, epic choruses and emotional (read: nerves-laid-bare) vocals. Not to oversimplify the genre, just an observation. If you dig a little deeper, you might hit the bedrock that many bands miss: songwriting. Luckily, Fort Wayne's Silent Procession don’t settle for just scratching the surface; their moody new release, Washed Upon a Shore, depends as much on a backbone of good songs as it does on its formidable array of sonic textures.
Many of the tunes on Washed Upon a Shore kick off with chiming, chorused and clean guitars, stabbing tentatively around and establishing an environment for vocalist Shane Cox to ply his wailing vocals. Throughout much of the album the early calm exhibited in songs like "Choices" and "Evolution of Something Beautiful" serve to signify a cloudy horizon – storms soon to follow. By the midpoint of these numbers guitars begin to crunch, the rhythm section becomes more frenzied and the singing often morphs into gutteral aggression. It’s a clash between finessed melody and heavy impulses, one that serves to convey the moodiness inherent in Cox's lyrics effectively.
Silent Procession don't merely dole out dynamic aggression, however. "Medicate Me" is downright delicate, despite Cox's intense, borderline desperate vocals. Its stately acoustic guitar backdrop creates a breather in the midst of a heavy record. "Loss of Faith" provides a change of pace, featuring kind of a break-beat vibe before the heavy-osity kicks in. Touches like this keep Washed Upon a Shore from, uh, drowning in its double-whammy of coiled-spring intros and pile-driving payoff riffs. The only weirdness that stands out on this clearly recorded (at Fort Wayne's Digitrack Studios) disc is the juxtaposition of heartfelt singing with the touches of Cookie Monster vocalizing. But give it a chance; it might just represent the next step in modern rock's evolution. (DMJ)
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