Review Summary: Heavy grooves and a lady with attitude.
Nashville, Tennessee isn't the first place that springs to mind for a post-metal tinged heavy-rock group, but these Midwest natives are undoubtedly doing their collective best to leave a worthy non-country mark on Music City's map. Over the past few years bands like SubRosa
, Jex Thoth
, and Jess And The Ancient Ones
have all received their fair share of acclaim (and for good reason) but the female fronted metal group remains a somewhat of a rare spectacle despite a seemingly growing audience and demand for the sound. Season of Arrows manages to do an admirable job at filling that void while putting a unique enough twist on their delivery to distance themselves from their peers and serve up an exceptional debut record.
This album is a 49 minute steamroller that prides itself on balancing thick, groove laden, mid-paced sludgy passages and beautiful, bright, icy post-metal breaks effortlessly. Nothing about Season of Arrows
is in a hurry, it's a slow burner that takes its time building and growing its cold riffs and dense atmospheres. It's punchy and hard-hitting on tracks like "Sleepwalkers" and "Bad Weather" but also ethereal and graceful when they decide to slow it down on standout tracks like "Soul of the City" and "Trace Elements".
Stormie Wakefield's voice is one of biggest highlights on this record, there's an intimate yet haunting, distant quality to it makes everything on Season of Arrows' debut record feel open and spacious. She manages to glide gracefully over heavy, plodding metallic riffs with ease and power. There's a certain confident strength in her tone and delivery that really sets her apart from the aforementioned bands like SubRosa and Jex Thoth giving her a more dominant role in the record as opposed to being a bit more reserved.
Not only does Season of Arrows
have a tremendously strong vocal performance, but it also has riffs on riffs on riffs. Guitarists Dave Gates and Brandon Shepard in conjunction with bassist Shawn Van Dusen put on a clinic in the string section of this group pulling influence everywhere from Isis to Converge and even southern style rock to deliver a groovy, sludgy aural assault that is high on impact and low on frills. Brad Lawson rounds out this 5-piece outfit with a understated performance that compliments the riffs and leaves a loose but technically tight framework for the vocals to breathe without competing for sonic space.
All in all, this is an impressively strong and ambitious debut record. It successfully blends elements from an array of heavy genres and molds them into something authentically original. Songs like "Soul of the City" and "Trace Elements" are stellar examples of what this group can accomplish at their best moments which feel more like the work of a seasoned act who has really found their sound rather than a band still in their infancy. As good as Season of Arrows
is, there are a few spots that linger a bit long on certain riffs or wander some, and even some bits that sound a little out of place on the album such as the intro riff on the closing track "Rival" that also gets revisited midway through the song. It's not without its minor flaws, but it's a phenomenal first offering from a young band that shows tons of promise and potential.