Earthside – A Dream in Static (Self-Released)

Sunday, 25th October 2015
Rating: 8.5/10

Progressive metallers Earthside are an ingenious bunch. Into your metal mix, toss in the progressive touches of metal and rock, use near-cinematic elements to catapult your sound forward, and then enlist a number of A-list guests to add some additional zest. That’s precisely what Earthside has done with A Dream in Static, but to just keep it at that would diminish the overall picture.

Most of A Dream in Static is instrumental. In fact, only four songs contain vocals – but when they do, they made sure they amounted to something. Bjorn Strid (Soilwork) takes on “Crater,” Lajon Witherspoon (Sevendust) helms “Mob Mentality,” Daniel Tompkins (TesseracT) leads the title track, and Eric Zirlinger sings on “Contemplation of the Beautiful.” All provide some soaring clean vocals to bring the band’s theatrically progressive material an extra thrill. Then there’s the added bonus of The Moscow Studio Symphony Orchestra on two tracks, which also aids in the cinematic nature of Earthside’s music. But don’t let the visitors overshadow the band’s accomplishments. As a mostly instrumental band, they wisely eschew going too technical and progressive and rely on the more emotional and atmospheric route to tell their tales. They can go from the light and dreamy (“Entering the Light”) to the heavier side of things (“Skyline”) without a hitch, and patch it all together through their progressive tendencies and the resonance of the melodies themselves. As a huge Soilwork fan, “Crater” was a clear highlight, but the highly symphonic “Mob Mentality” and space-y leanings of “The Ungrounding” hit the spot as well.

There was some major TLC put into the making of A Dream in Static, and it shines with each listen. A cross-continental effort that will grab the ear of progressive fans but leaves the pretention at the door, A Dream in Static should give Earthside some well-deserved attention. Powerful stuff.

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