Review Summary: A standout piece of guitar rock.
The Casket Lottery, birthed out of a side project of the metalcore group Coalesce
, really stand out from the usual post-hardcore/indie rock pack. The trio, comprised of guitarist/vocalist Nathan Ellis, bassist Stacy Hilt and drummer Nathan Richardson, manage to make more of a thunderous rout of crashing sound than a fully-fledged five piece. The real excellence of the group is their expert musicianship and tight interplay - Richardson's drums never fail to keep you guessing, while Hilt's bass is a perfect counterpoint to the gut-kicking riffing and strong vocals from Ellis. This is why 'Choose Bronze' should be such a wonderful prospect to any lover of guitar-based music.
Opener 'Midway' is one of the best tracks of the album. Beginning in a warm growl, the song trundles along nicely... until about the 0:46 mark. Ellis' guitar abruptly veers into a crashing riff, and the song finds its groove - metallic, scorching, yet passionate and melodious. The track descends into a jerky, stabbing break, until it lapses into sombreness, and gentle string plucks. Then, just as you think the song is going to ride the slow moodiness to its conclusion, Ellis yells "Not safe!" and the amazing riff shown before slams back into place, riding a wave of fury right until the last second.
The rest of the album keeps the quality very high, from more songs akin to 'Midway', such as 'One Trick Pony', 'Trust Nolan', and 'Ocean', to the quieter efforts, like 'Softie' and 'For When I'm Missing', and even poppier songs, like 'Ever Since Sulfur', 'Everyone Here Is Wrong' and 'New Year's Eve'.
But it is the soaring, heart-rending 'Home Is...' that ends the album on a high. Ellis' earnest opining of "She always makes me feel at home", without delving into self-pity, and keeping hope in sight. The guitars are sweet and forceful all in the same moment, squalling into high notes for the chorus, and the drums hold everything together like glue.
An album that really deserves to be remembered, even if it is just by people who love their guitars.