#13: Voices From Deep Below - 'This Place Will Raise Up'
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Voices From Deep Below is one guy named Dale Humphries (originally from London, England now in NYC) who is influenced possibly by Justin K Broadrick's Jesu project, creating psychedelic, metallic shoegazer music. The best part about this album is that if you let a couple tracks play it will sweep you away with its slow yet poppy alt-metal with some psychedelic overtones and pop sensibilities, as well as some prog moments.
It's that variety underlying the surface of this aesthetic that makes it work so well. Even though it has a very specific stylistic stamp in its sound, there are so many ideas explored that it keeps you wondering, even though it is basically predictable. There are some nice transitions and unexpected moments that pull you into the album's dynamics and keeps you hooked on its, well, hooks.
What else makes it strong is that it is basically a perfect album, the whole thing keeps moving forward and makes very logical progressions between the songs, as if there is a story being told.
Going back to the metallic shoegaze idea, this song "Halfway There" is exceptionally Jesu-like, sounding like the first self titled album. But all in all this project is more on the pop side, even though it has its heavy moments. In addition to the Jesu comparison, the project also bears a striking resemblance in overall sonic aesthetics and guitar pedal usage to west coast shoegaze rockers Whirr.
Perhaps the most memorable part of the band is the highly unique pitch-shifted vocals that blend into the psychedelic haze. This album could also be thrown into the post-rock genre by some, given its approach and production values. Everything sounds conscientious and yet really spaced out and even blissful if bittersweet in tone. This is a gorgeous album that keeps developing as it goes, pulling you in more and more. It has a classic familiarity to it as it references the past but doing so with a sound all its own.
Everything here sounds a bit familiar and something new is brought to the table, making this a genre classic. I would recommend this album to just about any shoegaze fan, and to fans of rock music in general. The vocals are so weird yet very accessible I am not sure how people are going to evaluate it, so it may have a bit less of a widespread appeal than I think.
With excellent songwriting, production, ideas, and execution this was a great random find from a facebook shoegaze group. It has a calming effect even at its most intense moments, and it keeps getting better as it goes. Even though they are not reinventing the wheel here, the vocals sound very original and recognizable despite the effects going on with the voice production and effects... which make the voice quite androgynous and another aspect rooting it in the genre of shoegaze, despite it being a bit heavier than most shoegazer music.
This is due to a mammoth bass sound that is more subtle than overpowering, yet ever present. This mountain of smooth bass allows the guitars, vocals and keys to cascade down its surface while the drums march on, until transcendental moments drop down out of the heavens as heard on "Shake Me" as the album winds down beautifully.