There are, alas, few constants in life, but here's one worth acknowledging: the inevitable high quality of an inbound Rick Massie track. We've covered this eclectic one-man Yukonian force o' nature a couple of times in the past--if the name rings a bell, you may have seen our premieres of his massive debut album Eclipse, or perhaps the Halloween-themed "The Dance (of the Dead and Alive.)" As we swiftly approach the third premiere, then, it's worth taking a second to mention that regardless of what Rick delivers, we slumbering scribes are excited to talk about it. Today's track in question is certainly no different--indeed, on "13," Massie leans heavily into the gothic and doomy foundation upon which our township was originally construed and constructed. If you've liked his prior work, you'll enjoy what this track has to offer; if you're a total newcomer to the Rick Massie fold, this serves as a solid introduction. Win/win, in opinion of this this humble amanuensis.
Without further ado, dear reader, we are very pleased to present "13." Pull up a chair 'round the fire, pull off yer boots, kick up yer feet, and get comfortable. As always, we'll catch ye on the other side!
Clocking in just shy of seven minutes, "13" carries itself with a notable weight, particularly in comparison to earlier efforts under the Rick Massie moniker. The guitar is crunchy and hefty, delivering a fairly straightforward bludgeoning that stands in stark contrast to the light-footed prog and rock that served as a mainstay on Eclipse. This progression into darker and doomier waters suits Massie's penchant for exploration and intrigue pretty damn well--indeed, the (instrumental) second act of this track is quite expansive, providing the kind of breathing room one has come to expect. As such, the heavier riffage doesn't feel suffocating, but rather acts as a dynamic opposite, the flip side of the aesthetic coin. It's a foreboding affair. Needless to say: we like foreboding.
Rick states that this track takes inspiration "from the downtuned crunch of death metal and the overwhelming darkness of doom metal," and, while "13" is obviously more doomy in scope, both influences shine through. This is a dark and ominous track, no doubt. That said, it successfully employs the heartwarming aesthetic and human touch that remains a universal component of Rick Massie's work thusfar, regardless of sonic categorization and genre influence.
Says Rick in regards to this track: “Singles are an opportunity to try out new ideas, or to try simpler song structures, and to take the music I hear in my head and to turn it into something others can experience. "13" really embraces the dark and heavy side, which only shows up in small bits in my album songs. And I’ll probably never be able to write a full album of dark, heavy material like this song--so releasing it as a single makes sense. Plus, being in the middle of mixing my next two albums, this song was a good escape from the themes of hope that tend to flow from my album material. There’s still hope--but in this case, it’s not the main feeling. It lets you wallow in the darkness before offering that small glimmer of hope right at the end.”
Rick Massie - "13" will be released this Friday, June 11th, and can be found on bandcamp here.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.
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