Red Sparowes

Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun

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Instrumentals in metal are nothing new (heck, Metallica used to put one on every record!), but what is a new occurrence is the veritable wave of purely instrumental bands that seem to have spewed out of nothing in the waning years of the first decade of the ol' 21st. Some, like Pelican, are bands that have just simply brushed aside the need for a vocalist, letting guitar parts handle such melodies and harmonies and keeping a basic song structure that is, for the most part, band-driven. Others, like the "guitar collective" that is Tone, are more, well, collective in sound, sort of a wall of music, with guitars layered on top of guitars, all playing the same chord changes to produce something that sounds more like heavy-duty ripples emanating from a common center. If there is one band that manages to capture the grey area that the aforementioned bands create between them, it is certainly Red Sparowes, who do it to great effect on Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun. The tracks are indeed straightforward songs (like Pelican's work) -- even if they do have ridiculously long titles -- yet they manage to feel like group workouts, much like the collective sounds of Tone. The songs themselves on Every Red Heart saunter between lush, dreamy metalgaze -- without all the effects of Justin Broadrick's Jesu, for example -- and a brighter (yet still pretty damned heavy) version of Neurosis. There are some post-rock elements (even a bit of country twang, it must be noted) as well, which -- surprisingly -- sidle up well next to Red Sparowes' obvious nods to some Cure-like soundscapes ("Like the Howling Glory of the Darkest Winds, This Voice Was Thunderous and the Words Holy, Tangling Their Way Around Our Hearts and Clutching Our Innocent Awe" pulls guitar sounds that would be right at home on Wish, and a melody that fits right in with Faith). Instrumental records can be difficult to pin down because there are no lyrics to mark out moments, and the best instrumental bands do just fine without a voice because they can make those moments happen without having to force them in. Every Red Heart is a perfect example of that, an instrumental record that acts as a soundtrack without being forgotten after being heard.

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