Distant Lights - Not Thinking Not Dreaming (2013)

Distant Lights is a four piece modern rock band from Austin, TX. During their six years of ‘combining science, mesmerizing passion, intensity, and pure virtuosity’ as their Facebook stated, Distant Lights has recorded two albums.  Not Thinking Not Dreaming is their latest release and this time they have opted to release the album for free, but you can also choose to buy the physical disc also. NTND is satisfactory for its rich and creative compositions. Although putting many different sounds and almost cross genres experiments, each songs remained simple yet has distinguished uniqueness.

Tightrope is the opening track and is a tight modern rock piece infused with muddy riffs. I really enjoy the dynamic groove in this song, especially Sam Marshall’s attacking bass. The choruses is easy to sing along but not too so with the backing music! You’ll find the drum on the chorus parts is done in trivial pattern and staccatos. You can clearly observe the band members enjoying their jobs, playing their distinguished parts in details. The result is a well written song that open NTND with positive expectation for those who never listen to Distant Light previously.

On the second track is Science Of It All, the band holds the listener's breath by slowing down the tempo into medium pace. This song has remind me a bit of Chad Taylor’s with his Live band when the singer kicks in. Large portion of psychedelic chords in this song giving more alternative feel. The band is outside the standard song structure by placing the climax verse and shredding guitar solos as one part in the end.
Blindfold is the heaviest track on the album and it's intro riffs are heavy metal to the core, something that will remind you of Trivium or other similar artists. Yet, when shifting into the song’s verses, the band switches back to their core modern rock sound. Further to the middle section of this song, there is a double pedal drumming with a guitar riff inspired by Metallica’s . That did not immediately lead the band to do guitar solos in thrash metal styles but rather you hear a very un-conservative guitar phrases. This kind of sudden twist is the dynamic throughout this album.

Just when you think the album begin to went too technical, Heart of Fire is a straight forward one, simple catchy rock. Of course when the second verses kick in the band did not forget to added their signature variation in a form of guitar  arpeggios effect. For once, Gaelan Bellamy and his guitar solos is ruling here.
We also got two slow tunes. The first is Make It Go Away which enjoy bass line arpeggio and cello-like string sounds. Then Came and Went, in which the choruses sing in falsetto mode. In the main verses the vocals mixed with atmospheric room effect. These two songs really stretch the album dynamic from heaviest track like Blindfold go further to grinding ballads.

The rest of other songs just came in between. For example, To Late is thick synth-like drum beat track, credited to their creative drummer Kevin Abbenante. Suffocating with its long and winding choruses is then leading us to the darker side. Horizon is a relax piano in the beginning but leads to triumphant “….to the Horizon” scream, perfectly placed as the finale last track.

Not Thinking Not Dreaming is an enjoyable 40 minutes music treat. By only few spins, songs are become familiar.  I find one of the tips is all song titles were made into chorus or memorable parts of the lyrics. The singer’s voice is very accessible, embedded into the music nicely. I praised the band success in creating every parts of instrument speaking loud each other in complimentary ways. The band also able to avoid repetitive ideas and in their 11 songs, they were all creatively well composed. If you like modern rock with lots of innovative and original ideas, Distant Light’s NTND is the correct album to tune in.  (reviewed by Metal Harem with a help of Mike H on editing)

Metal Harem class: ******** eight stars out of ten

Distant Lights - Not Thinking Not Dreaming (2013)
Buy it Here - Amazon

1. Tightrope
2. Science of It All
3. What's On Your Mind
4. Suffocating
5. Too Late
6. Blindfold
7. Defiled
8. Make It Go Away
9. Came and Went
10. Heart of Fire
11. Horizon

Gabriel Fry - lead vocals
Gaelan Bellamy - guitar, vocals
Sam Marshall - bass
Kevin Abbenante - drums

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