Crystal Spiders, Morieris (Ripple Music 2021)

The second Crystal Spiders album, Morieris, is an even bigger deal than the first.

The duo Crystal Spiders released their first long-player just last year, Molt. I listened to that album as recently as two weeks ago. It has been on my mind ever since it came out. There is just something about the music that mesmerizes and lingers in your mind. The phrase “highly anticipated” doesn’t really capture my state of mind leading up to the drop date of the new album, Morieris.

The band is Brenna Leath (bass) and Tradd Yancey (drums). Joining them for the session on guitar is Mike Dean. There is also a guest appearance by High Priestess Nighthawk of Heavy Temple on cello.

The first song of the set starts out spacey and groovy, leaning into the mystery with hypnotic vocals and spell-casting guitar. That’s the title track. “Septix” comes next and lays a commanding bass up front to set the stage, turning into a rambler after ninety seconds or so – the perfect accompaniment for a drive down a dark country road at night alone.

“Harness” brings the doom and then shifts to high-test. The middle section of reflective solo work is a breath before the charge starts again. Indeed there is a lot of up-tempo music on this album, offering an excellent balance to the more ethereal passages. “Pandora,” for example, is a two minute rager that perfectly sets up the epic “En Medias Res,” a song that takes all the time it needs, offering desert overtones and tantalizing strings over eight sumptuous minutes.

“Maelstrom” and “Golden Paw” are the final two songs, the former being a super fuzzy, adrenaline-fueled spectacle and the latter a contemplative cool-down. Having heard Molt we might have been able to anticipate the general form on the new album but we could not have known its breadth and depth. Morieris is excellent in every way – concept, composition, and execution. Highly recommended with no reservations.

Morieris is out now through Ripple Music. Bandcamp and the Ripple store are linked below. You know how this works – the physicals often go fast so if you are a collector you want to jump on it.

Band photo by Marissa Straw.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://crystalspiders.bandcamp.com/album/morieris

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/crystalspidersinmymind/

Ripple Music, https://ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/product/crystal-spiders-morieris-deluxe-vinyl-editions

FFMB review of Molt, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2020/09/28/crystal-spiders-molt-review-ripple-music-2020/

Crystal Spiders, Morieris (Ripple Music 2021)

Basilica, Basilica (Innerstrength Records 2021)

North Carolina emergent metal foursome attack their first long-player project with multifarious vivacity.

The band has only been together for a lustrum, and yet they have coalesced an approach to musical composition that is thorough while remaining eclectic. What they can do with the standard metal set up is impressive. The band is Brady Kennedy (drums), Cameron Price (guitar), Chandler Bell (bass), and Reilly Appert (vocals).

The press release reads in part: “Musically, genre inspiration is wide and varying; combining thrash and death metal elements with metalcore and deathcore breakdowns, the goal of this album is to be as diverse as possible.” As you go from track to track throughout the set you can really see this philosophy at work. It listen like a tour of heavy genres.

The first crack is “Grinding Teeth.” You have to love that title before the needle even drops. It is a blistering track with front-loaded aggression and crunchy riffs, decorated by metallic squeals and a “Flight Of The Bumble Bee” wind-up. “Exit Wound” is death metal vocals and off-color screeches. And then “The Fall of Phorcys,” an instrumental with a dark jazz, proggy vibe. Groundwork firmly laid.

I am not going through the full list because you should hear it for yourself. The album is fascinating. The execution of the increments is technically precise with both hard punches and delicate touches. The guitar solo on “Starve” is an extreme example. Segue to another instrumental, “Reflections of Galene,” that sounds like what you might hear playing from a café patio in the summer on an evening stroll – then straight into the thrash/thrumming piece, “Everything,” right after that. And still there are three songs left. It leaves you off balance and a little lightheaded in the best possible way. Recommended.

Friday February 5th is the day to get the full album. If you preorder the digital from the Innerstrength Bandcamp page you can hear “Grinding Teeth” right now.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://basilicahairslam.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/basilicahairslam

Innerstrength Records, https://www.innerstrengthmusic.com/

Basilica, Basilica (Innerstrength Records 2021)