When it comes to instrumental music, I always approach it through the Animals-Circles scale. This is a functional, proven scientific scale (I made it up) where you have Animals as Leaders at one end and Russian Circles at the other.
Basically, Animals as Leaders represent the ultra virtuoso instrumental bands. These are the ones that showcase extreme technical proficiency above all else, something that can lead to another phenomenon we call ‘musical masturbation’ if the band does not offer anything other than virtuosism. On the other end, Russian Circles represent the instrumental bands that focus on crafting an atmosphere where the instruments blend in with each other in spectacular fashion and with remarkable songwriting. Normally, I prefer the Circles end. Animals-inclined bands tend to get boring after a while and I’m just like ‘is this all there is to it?‘ AAL are one of the best bands on this end though, as their technical prowess is something to behold and they do have good songwriting.
Night Verses is a band that manages the almost impossible task of landing right in the middle of that scale and being able to capture the best of both worlds. They have amazing musicianship, but at the same time they have a whole vibe and atmosphere that is truly theirs. And after the spectacular From the Gallery of Sleep, they are finally back after 5 years, and to make up for such a long wait, their new release Every Sound Has A Color In The Valley Of Night is a double album, and the first part is finally upon us!
If you had any doubts at all, you can rest easy knowing that the band remains as killer as it gets. “8 Gates Of Pleasure” sure lives up to its name, with a killer intro that brought a big smile to my face. There were always some post rock vibes in Night Verses material, and this song steps into that territory by featuring some recorded voicetracks over atmospheric passages. Still, it gets as thundering and full of energy as it could get and is the perfect reminder of just how good they are. Reilly Herrera’s basslines remain as golden as it gets! “Arrival” continues the goodness with those sweet, sweet guitar sweeps Nick DePirroto has, followed by frenetic yet soothing guitar work. Night Verses are truly a masterclass on exploring the possibilities of an instrument, featuring some ideas you don’t find very often, such as the ‘glitchy’ guitars at the end of this song, that almost flirt with electronic music.
“Rose Wire” takes the pacing down a notch with a really soothing atmosphere, while still having some incredibly fast playing in moments. How these guys manage to create slow songs with fast playing is something I can’t really explain as I am not a musician, but what I can tell you, with confidence, is that this stuff hits. That step down makes “Karma Wheel” stand out even further, with a monster riff that brings the house down. This one was a fantastic choice for a single, as it delivers on everything Night Verses is all about: tight instrumental music made with great passion.
“Love In A Liminal Space” is another one that gets really post-rocky, quickly becoming one of my personal highlights. This track is a perfect example on where Night Verses so greatly succeed where other similar acts may lack: there is an identity that is so much their own, that even without vocals (the usual calling card for recognizing music), you can tell what band you’re listening to. The closing song “Séance” features Tool‘s Justin Chancellor, and it’s very interesting how you can definitely tell it’s Justin playing here, but it doesn’t sound like Tool. While the song is really good, it works more as an interlude than a proper climax, acting as a cliffhanger for the imminent Part 2.
With the first part of Every Sound Has A Color In The Valley Of Night, it is proven once again: Night Verses is still the gold standard for technical instrumental music. Every element complements each other perfectly, with harmony and cohesion you don’t normally find in this kind of music. This is a perfect blend of all the best that instrumental music can offer and a band at the top of their game. I can’t wait for Part 2 to drop in a couple of months and see how this journey concludes.