There is a great resurgence happening! No, I’m not referencing the way everyone but me is having nu metal nostalgia, I’m citing the increased number of instrumental groups that have sprawled up in recent years. Sure, there have always been bands in heavy music who shunned vocal performance, but many, despite their musical abilities, came across as very tacky. However, modern groups such as SCALE THE SUMMIT, ANIMALS AS LEADERS, and POMEGRANATE TIGER have made metal singers almost obsolete. Almost. This is scary news for my colleague ERIC THE BULL and me, both singers in metal groups. With that said, I had the great pleasure of diving into A Vivid Memory, the latest offering from Florida-based post-rock outfit SET AND SETTING. Their disc will be released September 2, through Prosthetic Records.
Though not a single word is spoken on any of the eight tracks, the music and song titles provide the listener with copious amounts of imagery. Example, “Waves of Luminescence” begins with a chilling feedback loop that I found reminiscent of an emergency siren. The loop continues as the rest of the group builds on snare rolls and a guitar melody aching of melancholy, which almost seemed to depict the scenery of a town abandoned after a tragic event. “The Inevitable Cycle” is a great deal heavier promoting the feeling of an immense struggle, from the uphill battle to the climactic triumph.
I imagine if there were lyrics for these songs, tracks 3 through 7 would link together, much like a mini concept within the larger record. “Acceptance” begins the story of “Emptiness”, bringing the metaphoric “Descending Sun” to describe “The Light That Left Us”, which left us “Coping” with the loss. The culmination presented in “The Last Night, A Vivid Memory” provides a fitting closure for such a prodigious narrative, offering a delicately soothing and subdued directive.
While reviewing this disc, I envisioned it as the perfect soundtrack to a late night drive, starlit path ahead, ocean breeze surrounding, with knowledge that it would be an evening not forgotten. Outside of my imagination, I must endorse the notion that SET AND SETTING put forth a phenomenal piece of music. Everything is in the right place here; the guitar playing tosses between a backdrop of huge chords and melodies dripping with delay. The drums hit hard where needed, but provide layers beyond standard percussion. A landscape of sound is traversed and yet this tremendous wall of sound still finds a way to be incredibly ambient. A Vivid Memory NEEDS to be a part of your collection.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM
WRITTEN BY FRENCH CHEESE