Monday, March 8, 2010
Album Review: The Timeline Post, Slow Descent
If you were like me, you probably thought that the Timeline Post was a metal band. It's an easy mistake to make. The band has played with Fair to Midland, The House Harkonnen, and similar bands on repeated occasions. Even a glimpse at the song titles on their latest CD would seem to reinforce that notion: "Wedding Bell Murders", "Kill the Girl", "Devil's Alamo", and that's not even counting the album's name. Yes, Slow Descent would appear to be just another metal album out of Dallas.
Oh, how wrong I was. And for that matter, how wrong you are if you still think that.
It is rare for a CD to catch me so pleasantly by surprise, but that is exactly what The Timeline Post have done. Slow Descent is not an easy album to classify, yet that is the reason this album is so immediately captivating. Yes, the album definitely has a heavy rock edge in many of the tracks. "Success" kicks off with a frantic beat and plenty of loud guitars, and the track never lets up for a single second. "Wedding Bell Murders", although more melodic, shares that same level of energy. And yes, those tracks definitely work well when turned up on full blast.
What really makes Slow Descent memorable, however, are the quieter moments. The album's opening track, "Skyhook", starts with a simple yet beautiful melody played by Lindsay Harrill. The mood of the song is melancholy to say the least, as shown by lines like "There's no light from above to keep us in check or save us from death". In fact, the mood of sadness and even desperation continues throughout the entire album.
One might think that an album so bleak would be a difficult and unpleasant listen, yet nothing could be further from the truth. The eleven songs on this album have a way of lingering in your head, whether it be "Devil's Alamo" with its tempo changes and interesting chord progressions or quiet and beautiful desperation of "Kill the Girl". The album's highlight, however, is the track "Three". The vocal harmonies at the end of the song (much props to members Owen Bickford and Steve Simpson) are simple yet so intensely effective. In some ways, this song reminds me of the material from Midlake's The Courage of Others, and to my surprise, I'm finding this album even more captivating. Whether the album rocks or haunts, it lingers in your head and demands repeated listens. Simply put, this is the first truly great release of 2010. Fans of metal (and non-fans of metal) take note alike.