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Sarah Longfield - Disparity Award winner

Sarah Longfield
by Dave Nowels at 12 December 2018, 2:29 PM

Disparity: n * : the state of being desperate * Contrast, difference, disagreement, discrepancy, distinction, diversity, unlikeness

SARAH LONGFIELD’s “Disparity” without question lives up to its title. Make no mistake; this is not a proper Metal album. Rather this is a personal musical journey taken by an artist though a vast, colorful sonic landscape. Truthfully, the album isn’t what I expected it to be. Yet, it’s refreshingly perfect. Known primarily for her masterful Prog guitar work in the FINE CONSTANT, Longfield has rendered an ethereal album that builds and exceeds on her work with her former band.  The Wisconsin native, indicates that she creates best during the ‘cold dark winters’ her state endures. What is amazing in this, is that the songs captured here are so bright and full of warmth. Perhaps another indication of the album’s title.

Opening with a light airy “Intro”, the piano is the instrument of prominence rather than guitar. Subtle vocals, are interspersed throughout here and there. “Embracing Solace” comes next, and continues the overall theme of the “Intro”. Rather than launching into a full on guitar attack as one might expect, Longfield utilizes her entire musical arsenal in a quality over quantity of notes. Feathery vocals mesmerize and hypnotize as the song quietly ends and begins anew with “Departure”. Here we have the first real focus on Longfield’s guitar work. Seven and eight string guitars, loaded with effect laden goodies. What sounds like horns here, middle eastern instruments there, before ending with a return to the piano.

“Cataclysm” gives us a formal introduction to Sarah the Shredder. Tapping, hammer-ons, thumping, it’s all there, and gives confirmation as to why this young woman has been named as one of the best players by Guitar World. The song raised an area of frustration though. The song fades out during a solo that simply feels incomplete. As a listener, I felt slightly cheated, wanting to hear a proper conclusion rather than the fade. A minor complaint. “Sun” is up next and lives up to its naming. Bright and warm.

“Citrine” follows, and here’s the aforementioned horn effects again in full resplendence. The song creates a distinct jazz feel, and was easily one of my favorites. “Miro” utilizes bird chirps and some off rhythm drums before continuing the horn effects and jazz feel. The longest track at 3:47 comes next with “Stay Here”. I’m again impressed with how well Longfield uses each note played as effectively as she does. The album closes with “The Fall”, which again reinforces Sarah the Shredder. This track initially comes across a bit darker and heavier than the previous songs , before breaking through back into the light. “The Fall” is perfectly placed as a closer here, and bookmarks well with “Intro>Embracing Solace”.

I really enjoyed “Disparity”, and would recommend it to any more “adventurous” Metal fan, guitar geek or fan of more ambient music. As a fan of the FINE CONSTANT, I found this album a bold statement from a truly gifted musician. It’s an album that seems “crafted” rather than recorded, and while perhaps not for everyone, it’s one that will ultimately grow in its appreciation and reputation.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Intro
2. Embracing Solace
3. Departure
4. Cataclysm
5. Sun
6. Citrine
7. Miro
8. Stay Here
9. The Fall
Sarah Longfield - Guitars, Pianos, All Other Instruments
Record Label: Season Of Mist


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Edited 01 June 2020

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