Sicfaist, Road Unknown, CD Review
Sicfaist dropped this album at Pop’s this year, in May of 2011. It is entitled “Road Unknown”, and it is ultimately about the sonic journey that the band themselves explored in the process of producing the album itself. Sicfaist is Bill Friese, Eric Britt, Darren McClelland and Ken Cambell II. All the songs below were written and performed by the members listed previously. It was recorded, mixed and mastered by Mike Ryan of Mikealize Media, and produced by Sicfaist. The album art was done by Plastic, otherwise known as Bradley Pipkin, and the album photography was done by Lexi Land. This is the first full-length effort by this St. Louis original music artist.
Song-by-song synopsis of this album:
“Oblivination”- The journey begins with an introduction to the song filled with noises and bass guitar. “See beyond the screaming emptiness everyone is around, no one cares the sky is falling, what have we become?”, Bill sings on the chorus. The song is very progressive and is written well. Good choice for a track one spot.
“Road Unknown” -Driving beginning. I like the interesting time changes and the filter on Bill’s voice. Makes for a completely different feel than the first track. Between the dissonant chords that Darren plays on the bass, the guitar tuning and the filter on Bill’s voice, it really give the listener the impression that they are on journey of space and time, sonically.
“Love Poison”- Dramatic beginning, melody is sung in a quiet manner, and the vocals on the verse rush in to mark the beginning of their structure. Love Poison, it’s got you. This one has a melodic and dark quality to it on parts, and I like that.
“Empty Hands”- This musical interlude continues us down the path. Lots of clean, electric guitar work with a bit of delay on it.
“Real Lies”- This song has some intense changes that grab your attention, between the bass fills, guitar hooks, time signature changes and vocal changes in register between a head voice-scream and a chest voice-melody. I particularly like this one for some reason.
“Pair O’ Dice Lost” -In your face. The verses step back and allow the guitar and vocals to paint a melodic space. The chorus is deliciously chaotic. The bridge almost comes to a stand still and the guitar picks up and progresses things forward again. More interesting time changes on this one.
“Speed Of Silence”- I like the songwriting approach on this one. It is dynamic. There is a part, about four minutes long, in that the vocals and music seem to be an unsaid metaphor of fingernails on the chalkboard, placing the crescendo of the song to it’s highest point.
“Zero Hour” -A minute and a half of beautifully dark guitar tones and strumming. The cymbals are heard and at around three minutes, more cymbal taps and drum rolls are heard. It begins to seem like almost a circus type of feel just before the four minute mark and returns to the darker tone. You then hear a countdown which marks the next song.
“Starship Cycle Junkies”- Journey through space and time, breaking the speed of light, how far can we go? This is another really cool track. It’s real progressive, and it returns to the clean electric tone that is darker feeling, the same one you hear toward the beginning.
“Nashville” -Darren slaps dissonant chords after you hear quarter notes played on the kick. After the first measure, the speed picks up double time and the electric guitar builds as you hear Bill breathe in a whisper. It triple times and quadruple times before it comes to a head.The chorus is a drunken rant done in a pirate-themed style. Just before the four minute mark, the dissonance of the guitar and bass are so intense, it almost seems to slow the tempo of the song. As the song reaches it’s end, the tempo speeds up again in different areas, before it slows down completely and you hear a crash sound. Bill croons,”Goodye, for awhile” just before it’s end.
For fans of music similar to 40 Below Summer, Nothingface, Tool, Meshuggah, Parkway Drive, Mudvayne, Gojira, Veil Of Meya, Primus, Muse, Korn, Incubus, Architects, Deftones and Sevendust, Sicfaist aims to please and take you down a “Road Unknown”.
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Review by Christopher Davis, vocalist of Ockums Razor