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(54:15, Final Gravity)
TRACK LIST: 1. New Day 8:23 2. Sincerely Satan 5:11 3. Hollow Days 9:52 4. Hello, Hello (Bleeding Sadness) 4:15 5. Leaving 6:49 6. No Love 6:50 7. My Eternity 6:07 8. Phoenix 6:48 LINEUP: Melissa Jane Dichiera - vocals Michael Clark - guitars, keyboards, vocals Charles Mumford - bass John Chominsky - drums with Paula Yoo - violin
Prolusion. US band FINAL GRAVITY started out back in 2007, and released their debut album two years later, followed by an EP in 2010. Following this the band went into a fairly long hiatus as a recording unit, but returned with their self released second album "Surviving Humanity" at the start of 2021.
Analysis. Final Gravity is a band marketed towards a progressive rock and progressive metal crowd, presumably a decision made by the band members, and while I can understand where they are coming from here my view is that on this album at least the progressive rock aspects of it is more of a supplemental feature. Classic rock is where I'd categorize this band I suspect. A production of this kind that is a bit more expressive than the norm, but still more of a classic rock album than a progressive rock oriented one as far as I'm concerned. Songs alternating between gentler rock and elegant hard rock is something of a staple throughout this production, with the guitars rather frequently having a soft or somewhat understated presence throughout. Wandering plucked guitars in acoustic and electric form is a staple, occasionally combined with tight and toned down riffs for a harder supporting foundation. Crunchier and frayed guitar riffs have their place and function in the more energetic parts of the material though, with some nice impact riffs tucked in here and there as well as some moments where the band hits a borderline metal sound. Alternating arrangements and variations in pace and intensity caters for the progressive rock elements, and the band will probably want to point out some details in the rhythm department as well I presume. But to my ears at least the closest the band is at hitting a more distinct progressive rock association is on the more subdued opening cut 'New Day", which to my ears sounds like a song not too manly light years away from the material Rush explored on their 80's album "Hold Your Fire". Likewise I do find that some of the guitar details on closing song "Phoenix" also have something of an 80's Rush swagger to them. Alternative rock, hard rock and grunge, possibly post-grunge as well, are my main associations throughout though, and while distinct associations, aside from some achingly familiar details I cannot directly place on songs such as 'My Eternity' (the chorus section) and album closener 'Phoenix' (the verse section) I did think I heard a slight Tool reference in a guitar detail on 'No Love', while the energetic 'Sincerely Satan' made me think of what the band Garbage may have sounded like if exploring a harder, heavier sound back in the 90's. In addition I did note some brief instrument details here and there that did add something of a folk flavoring, although this may well be strictly accidental. The shining star and driving force of this album are the lead vocals however. Singer Dichiera has quite the compelling, emotional voice, adding a very slight bit of fry when needed and with careful use of a careful vibrato as a staple throughout. She is a dominant force on the album, and her voice is also mixed so that it becomes the dominant element it truly deserves to be.
Conclusion. While strict fans of progressive rock only perhaps may not find this band and this album quite to their liking, those who tend to be fascinated by hard rock bands incorporating elements from progressive rock into their compositions may well find this second album by Final Gravity to be of interest. The songs are well made and some of them feature killer anthem style chorus sections, tasteful use of instrument details is a staple and a high quality lead singer is the icing on the cake. If that sounds intriguing and music that exists somewhere inside the triangle of hard rock, alternative rock and grunge is of interest, then chances are good that you'll enjoy what Final Gravity has to offer. Especially if you prefer material of this kind to have a slight progressive rock flavoring.
Progmessor: March 2021
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