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Boomkat Product Review:
Los Angeles based post-metal act Red Sparowes are comprised of Clifford Meyer and Jeff Caxide of prog-metal darlings ISIS, Josh Graham, Greg Burns and Dave Clifford, however they are far more than a mere side-project. Now on their second album they have accentuated the epic and decided to edge towards the most terrible of things, the concept album. 'Every Red Heart...' is based around the story of 'the great leap forward' in Maoist China, or specifically the time when there was a mass culling of Sparrows who were seen as pests and dealt with accordingly. Of course this was a hugely misjudged attempt and eventually led to widespread famine since the locust population went up. Each track on the album is a long passage detailing some aspect of the great leap forward, and so you could read the titles together like a story - not the best way to bat away the usual post rock criticisms. I admire the band's pomposity though, don't shy away from this kind of overblown excess - in the end this is what music is all about, and the story serves to give weight to the album's instrumental epics. It would probably irritate me if the music wasn't good, but Red Sparowes have come up with one of the finest post-rock albums of the year, and it's eardrum-worryingly heavy to boot. Probably best compared with Hydrahead's Pelican, who turned in a mind-numbingly essential album last year ('The Fire in our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw') this is post-rock music with an extra element of distortion, an extra nod to the metal bands of time passed. It could almost be metal, but just as ISIS have done in their short but acclaimed career, Red Sparowes inject just too much grandeur and too much emotion into their almost orchestral sound to be simply labelled as such. Even the term post-rock does the band little justice, although there are parallels to be drawn with Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky, Red Sparowes have a sound that puts them out on their own and just as Grails had our jaws on the floor with 'Black Tar Prophecies', now it's Red Sparowes turn to throw our expectations out of the window. Majestic, cinematic and heavy - Red Sparowes have turned in a matchless collection of instrumental rock music, as challenging and diverse as it is listenable and well orchestrated. Just remember, this needs to be played very loud to be enjoyed to it's fullest - so you might want to wait until the neighbours have left for work.