The Dear Hunter
Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise


4.5
superb

Review

by Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF
September 11th, 2015 | 517 replies


Release Date: 09/04/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: There's that subtle smile that did me in.

If there's a more masterful mind than Casey Crescenzo composing in the progressive rock arena, I'd like to hear them. The simple fact of the matter is that there's no one out there batting closer to 1.000 than Crescenzo and The Dear Hunter, and it's hardly from playing it safe. Casey and company have dialed into a new sphere of musical thinking with each release from the slow burning long-term evolution of orchestral-infused prog bombast that took the scene by storm on Acts I-III to the deft genre-hopping of The Color Spectrum to the down-tempo roots rock of Migrant all the way up to his most recent outing, the synergistic and brilliant symphonic piece Amour & Attrition.

Unsurprisingly, Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise is yet another brilliant progression from a brilliant mind and a powerhouse of a band. While some have evaluated the album as a "return to form" from the previous Act releases, Act IV is rather forwardly an integration of all the places Casey has stepped in; all of the musical walls he's touched. As you might expect, specific themes from previous Acts reappear on Act IV, but only in short spurts that manage to trigger remembrances of the previous albums without forcing old material into a new dressing. Meanwhile, tracks like "The Line" and "Wait" draw away from the previous Act styling, instead drawing from sounds heard from The Dear Hunter only on The Color Spectrum. "The Line," for example, sounds like a page straight out of the Green EP, while "Wait" toes a line between Black and Red. Even the musical core of the album seems more luminous than previous Acts, revolving less around misery and culminating in an explosion of radiance on the synth and disco based "King of Swords (Reversed)." While the track at first feels a bit out of place, it quickly grows to become one of the most important moments of catharsis on the album, releasing subtle angst in a moment of pure, blackout bliss.

While "King of Swords" represents one of the more unorthodox changes of pace Crescenzo has played out, another of his more common musical dalliances seems to have grown even more prominent on Act IV - namely, the orchestral components of his works. Casey has always included orchestral elements in his compositions, but Act IV seems to be one of the densest and most intricately layered of his works to date. Of course, one could see how crafting a symphony might help guide classical elements into the mix of a new album, but credit must also be given to Crescenzo for keeping all things appropriate. Of course, the ambition and heft (both in musical layering and compositional length) of Act IV can be felt upon first listen, but the organic evolution of its depth and earnest character saves ambition from an air of pretense and makes way for the kind of impact that can only be achieved by skirting those lines.

Pretense and ambition aside, in what's now proper tradition for The Dear Hunter, there are also memorable hooks scattered throughout each track, from the notion of "far too many ways to die" in "The Old Haunt" to "Wait"'s dark "fear of a heaven above," all given life and emotional weight by Casey's soulful singing and reinforced by intricate harmonies and melodies old, new, and somewhere in between. To some point, it feels like this is something we've come to expect from The Dear Hunter - prime, all frills included progressive rock that honors and enhances the soul of musicality. But the precision in complex musical synthesis achieved on Act IV simply carries the band to a new level of brilliance.

The jarring end to album closer "Ouroboros" strikes as the only point of contention on an album that will otherwise undoubtedly find its way, one day, to "Classic" status. The only question remaining is what will be next for The Dear Hunter, having accomplished so much in so little time and with no sign of slowing down. Will there be an Act V" Or, will we be carried down another glorious rabbit hole" In either case, at this point in time, Act IV marks the pinnacle of a storied career for The Dear Hunter, and places them squarely on steady ground with nothing but bright lights on the horizon. Whatever we see when the morning comes, it's hard to imagine it'll be anything but something somehow even more intricate and beautiful.



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user ratings (682)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Toondude (4)
What will I know when the morning comes?...



Comments:Add a Comment 
AtomicWaste
Moderator
September 11th 2015


2777 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I am officially in love with this album. I hope my fiancee doesn't have a problem with that...

Toondude10
September 11th 2015


13245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

steal my spot will you? *shakes fists*



will real later

Digging: Ice Nine Kills - The Silver Scream

Toondude10
September 11th 2015


13245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"crafting a symphony might help guide symphonic elements"

a bit redundant here



"Will there be an Act IV?"

I think you mean Act V.



great review though.

AtomicWaste
Moderator
September 11th 2015


2777 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the catches! Edited apprporiately.



Sorry for the spot stealing! - I meant to review this by release, but I was busy from last Wednesday through Monday with wedding festivities and didn't have time ;.;

Toondude10
September 11th 2015


13245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

well I got the feature anyway so it's not like I'm upset :P

Toondude10
September 11th 2015


13245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That being said I'm pretty sure you're going to take TesseracT next week

wwf
September 11th 2015


6141 Comments


someone recommend me a song on this that'll change my opinion about this band. because honestly I want to love them a lot

TooLateToGoBack
September 11th 2015


1963 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent review.



I'm enjoying this more and more with each listen, and Waves is probably one of my favorite songs of 2015 so far.

wwf
September 11th 2015


6141 Comments


waves it is then

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
September 11th 2015


16032 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

there's certain albums you just dont review cuz you know staff will do it and then your review will be lost in the ether of the internet.



"I hope my fiancee doesn't have a problem with that..."



my wife bought me and her tickets to the seattle show on the 22nd =)



Digging: Karas - Karas

ProjectFreak
September 11th 2015


3033 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

do I have to listen to the other Acts to enjoy this?

Toondude10
September 11th 2015


13245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

depends, if you really care about the story then probably otherwise it's not necessary.

GavinDanceGavin
September 12th 2015


2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is first time in a long time that I felt completely engrossed in the world of an album on the very first listen. May be kneejerk, but this is the album of the year for me of any genre, slightly edging out TPAB.

Toondude10
September 12th 2015


13245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is way better, not even close.

Gyromania
September 12th 2015


25902 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

i sincerely doubt it

Toondude10
September 12th 2015


13245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

opinionzzzz

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
September 12th 2015


6675 Comments


which is what Gyro stated. don't deflect everything anyone says that you disagree with by saying "yeah, well, opinions, man." they are indeed opinions, but it makes you pointless to converse with.

dmp3131
September 12th 2015


1303 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is fantastic. The artistry and lyricism on this album is beautiful. By far my favorite thing they've done. "Waves", "Night On the Town", "Squeaky Wheel", "Bitter Suite IV And V", "King of Swords", and "Wait" are my favorites I think. Great review, too, for an outstanding release.

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 12th 2015


28107 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

"Is There Anybody Here?" is so underrated.





Awesome review and album.

Digging: mewithoutYou - [Untitled]

Toondude10
September 12th 2015


13245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

band is so bad good



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