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The Living - The Living

The Living
The Living
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 01 September 2017, 12:40 PM

San Francisco, California quartet THE LIVING present their eponymous debut album here; seven morsels of Progressive Rock/Metal for you to enjoy. This is a genre that for me never gets old. The very nature of the sound is always forward-thinking, so you rarely encounter something that sounds stale or re-hashed. It is also a genre that has really been flourishing lately, some morphing into Prog/Death and even some Prog/Djent and Prog/Core, but the classic sound of the genre is also still very much alive and well. Let’s dig into this debut album and hear for ourselves. “Tied to the Bed” opens the album. Melancholy vocals and solitary guitar fold in first, before the rest of the instruments join in. It has a very lamenting and despondent sound, driving a truckload of emotions into the center of your feelings. “Delay” has some carbonated guitar parts that dance with energy and life, pulsating under the vocal wails. It’s an interesting track in that it reminds of some of the fringe bands of the 80’s, yet has a modern feeling at the same time.

“Deceiver” oozes with a sexy groove, as mellow as a solitary singer in the smoky haze of a club, pouring out her soul to patrons longing to hear something personal, something introspective. The fuzzy lead guitar notes cut through the haze like a knife through butter, reaching out and grabbing you. “No Love Gets Away” is a little faster and more up-beat, at close to seven minutes in length. The melodies shine brightly here, even among the pensive mood. The energy comes from the passion of the vocals and the lyrical messages. “Hot Breath” is about the same length as well. It has an amiable sound, and a temperament you can connect with. The chorus is a full display of the emotions imparted in the track. “Corpse Pose” has a really pleasant ambient opening that builds into the first verse, with the guitars presenting an attractive riff into the chorus, which is bright and clean. That riff gets me every time…if you aren’t swaying your head back and forth when you hear this you might want to check your pulse. There is so much personality in this track and it is my favorite on the album.

“Headless Pillow” closes the album. Dreamy guitars pepper the atmosphere, with mellow vocals as accompaniment. The sound sails gently on calm seas, and then develops into a compound with additional instrumentation and more audible vocal laments. The layering is where it really all comes together nicely. The instrumental ending re-caps the sound with distinct accent. You can literally hear the end of the album in this manner. To summarize, I have to first comment that the album is unique and familiar at the same time. How is this possible? It’s hard to describe that neatly. One area is the fact that you can’t really find an adequate genre label for this debut. It straddles a nostalgic Pop sound at times, and a Prog Rock/Metal sound other times. The string that runs through it all however is the realness of the emotions.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Tied to the Bed
2. Delay
3. Deceiver
4. No Love Gets Away
5. Hot Breath
6. Corpse Pose
7. Headless Pillow
Derek Barnes – Guitar, Vocals
Jason Zaru - Drums
Julian Balestrieri - Guitar
Jeremy James Shepherd – Bass
Record Label: Independent


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