Outrun the Sunlight – Red Bird (Self-Released)

Monday, 10th April 2017
Rating: 8/10

There’s basically two schools of thought when it comes to instrumental metal. There’s the over-the-top, shred-centered and technical “wow” bands and there’s the atmospheric types. Both also bring in different audiences, with this scribe usually leaning towards the latter more than the former. Outrun the Sunlight cater more towards the progressive/atmospheric sector with their latest album, Red Bird.

It seems there are two ways to approach Red Bird. The first is to just sit back, unwind, and let the music take you for a trip. The post-metal qualities the band display make this pretty easy to do, with glimmers of emotion readily apparent in each of the four songs. There’s an ease and calmness to the release, even at its heaviest moments, with walls of melody crashing through (see “Synergy”) and some good use of escalation/de-escalation to keep the longer tracks afloat. Some real beauty can be found at the more mellow moments, such as the opening title track. The second way to enjoy the disc is to put on a set of headphones and really pay attention to all of the detail within the music. While there’s a casual pleasure from listening to Red Bird, it does seem to payout a higher dividend if you make a more active investment. Nothing overtly technical so much as well-crafted and put together, but it’s particularly of interest as the music builds towards heavier moments, such as in “The Danger of Alignment.” Hearing all the bits and pieces give these sections an even stronger and more compelling hold on the listener.

Of course, there’s no one best way to listen to Red Bird. Your mood will dictate much of that for you after all. But it does help to describe the songwriting level, as some of these post-metal affairs (particularly instrumental ones) have a tendency to overdo it in one way or another. Red Bird draws a blurred line between progressive and ambience, and it all the stronger for it.

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