Crashing cymbals and forgotten dreams start off local heavy rock band Souls Extolled's latest release MMXXII.
Concocted by Zach Black, JP Ortiz, Joe Valadez, and Andy Leonard, along with their production dream-team at 512 Studios, the band's third record seeks to create art that reflects the creative energies of its four members honestly and without self-imposed limitation. For them, this is the standard of true art.
Unveiling it through live performance in February at Flamingo Cantina, the band gave their audience a taste of their earthy genre-bending thrills before releasing the 12-song LP. Like the releases before it, MMXXII covers a lot of ground. It's a delightful mix of indie rock, grunge, proto-metal, punk and ska. The best way to describe the album is to think of it in a theatrical sense. It is a Shakespearean album filled with high drama, gore, politics, love, and it seems to be organized in two acts: the first set of 6 songs filled with heavy intensity and the second set of 6 songs that is more mid-tempo but full of surprises.
Act one includes anthems of self-forgiveness and unrequited love with high intensity drums by Joe Valadez and the unforgettable guitar skills of Zach Black. The theater, drama, vocal performance by Zach, and the instrumentation of the band is tight. It follows a dark narrative about treacherous love. The songs are highly beat-driven, supported by the very talented JP Ortiz on bass, but at many points, it suddenly plunges the listener into a sweet release of relief. "Dancing in the Light" ends the first half of the album with a softer touch, surprising, but effective.
"1K Red Balloons" opens up the next set of songs. The set is more ska punk influenced, and has obvious traces of Zack's background as a son of Hawaii. It's filled with slow jams like "Never Like Before," making it slightly more consumable to the average listener than the heavier first half, but equally filled with drama and wonder. The songs in this set are slightly more ballad-y, intense, full of depth and darkness and features a groovy bounce throughout.
Omar Vallejo, Clint Manning co-produced the album with the help of Rich Baur. The band will be releasing a single on the first Friday of each month for streaming, but the album is available for purchase/download at their website and on iTunes.
Souls Extolled will be touring 10 cities in the Northeast in April followed by a full West Coast tour in September.
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