Pummeling us with enough distortion to drown out the voice of God himself, Initial Mass waste no time in turning up the volume and throwing down monolithic riffage in “Silence No More,” one of the nine multidimensional gusts of rock-hard might that the band are dishing out on their latest record, Bending Light. Bending Light is perhaps the most polished album that Initial Mass has released, but despite its stately production quality and unquestionably pristine varnish, it’s got a tracklist that goes unmatched this season in terms of sheer intensity and sonic wallop.
“Embers Within” begins with a lush, soft serenade from our lead singer, who is joined by a glowing guitar strum that will eventually grow into a tidal wave of overdriven viciousness. Unlike “Killing Heroes,” the track that gets us started in Bending Light, “Embers Within” is an involved listen structured around its lyrical arrangement (the only such composition that you’ll hear on the LP). “Killing Heroes” is a much more streamlined affair; its swing is the essential linchpin to its construction, and in this instance the band uses the riffing as a centerpiece for the rhythm of every other component in the song. It’s remarkably engaging.
“Resolution” explodes out of “Piece by Piece,” and much like the progressive-style “Reason to Take,” relies on a dexterous lyrical delivery from the singer in making a captivating melody all the more stirring. It’s not quite stadium rock, but there’s no getting around the fact that this album has a lot of machismo . Initial Mass are celebrating some old school rock n’ roll theatrics in their latest studio cuts, which is commendably brazen when considering the current state of our pop culture.
This band isn’t shy about letting a sweet metal riff tell as much of a story as their poetic emissions do, and they demonstrate their uniquely conceptual approach to songwriting exceptionally well in “Years Past” and “Alchemy.” “Alchemy” is a lot mathier than “Years Past” is, but both tracks are essential to understanding the identity of Initial Mass in this record. Where songs like the title track are intentionally highbrow and difficult to categorize, these two compositions employ equal parts punkish adrenaline and pomp-riddled heavy metal extravagance, recalling the alternative sounds of the early 90’s whilst looking ahead into the next creative chapter in rock history.
Initial Mass turn in one whopper of an LP in Bending Light, and for rockers that demand a little more substance than the status quo calls for. This is a record that needs to be regarded as a required listening experience this summer. When you look at the limited competition that this band is facing on both sides of the Atlantic right now, there’s no debating whether or not they’ve picked an excellent time to unleash an album as heavy as this one is.