Starset - Vessels
Starset as a band that doesn't really work without context. If you go in blind you end up just listening to some rock which is vaguely about Space. Starset is the project of PhD candidate Justin Bates and seeks to be a wholly immersive experience. Going into knowing the basics allows you to kind of see what Starset are trying to do, and then makes you realize it has been done before. The comparison that screams to life first is Coheed and Cambria. Epic SciFi story telling, hardish rock and some pretty decent vocals all call to memory the band and their multi-album epic. There is a strong cinematic feel to the record. but that only adds to the somewhat cheesy delivery. "Die for You" as a track is so overblown and grand, that the lyrics almost make you cringe when you hear them. Hard Rock fans will be pleased with the big sounds and occasional primal scream, but the musicianship is not all that great and really doesn't compel the album forward. What it must rely on then is the story, but even that becomes some what confusing and convoluted at points. This may be nitpicky, but they have a song titled "Satellite" and they also use the word Satellite about 20 times throughout the album. When you hear it pop up in later tracks it just seems odd and totally out of place. We get it, space.
The more Screamo elements are one of the weakest points on this album. Where the rest is sort of spacey and vast, the screams drill you right back to earth. It is childish basement stuff, not the kind of vocals you want to hear when you are going on an exploration of the Universe. The band also uses Space verbiage to get across very basic human emotions. "Gravity of You", "Back to Earth" or "Starlight" all are trying to be more grandiose than they actually are, both in title and subject manner. There is also the issue of album length, and sure this record is meant to be an epic, but it is so incredibly long at 70 mins and for no particular reason. It is so repetitive at times that I was seconds from turning it off. "Last To Fall" both the title of the track and the thing Bates sings over and over for almost two minutes straight. The way that Starset swing for the fences is admirable, but the miss is just so epic. There are one or two good ideas on this record, but it is just to all over the place that they can never focus and expand on those. Perhaps if they really drill their sound down and find what is good about Starset they might have something, but this record is just a mess.
2.8 out of 10