ARTIST: The Kepler Mission
RELEASE: End Of An Era
RELEASE DATE: November 21st 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Riffs, riffs, riffs… Come and get your riffs! ‘End of an Era’ is the debut full length release from L.A. based progressive rock outfit ‘The Kepler Mission’. From the storming chugs of melodic prog-rock/metal to the small but sweet passages of texturing, ‘End of an Era’ is the kind of album that sounds as thought it could have been the backing to a mammoth rock opera or theatrical production. The riffs are tight and heavy, the music is pulled together by a sense of momentum and the whole thing delivers imagery straight to the listeners mind. It was released back on November 21st 2017 and is available to buy/download right now via music.thekeplermission.com
‘Totem’ opens the album with a neat crunching riff, before dipping into something quitter and more restrained. The vocals than enter are clean and on pitch, singing lyrics that you would expect to find in a post-rock/prog song. The closing instrumentation is the tracks ultimate highlight… The lowlight however, is the cringe-worthy lyrics at the end of the song, as well as the somewhat generic realms the song touches on. ‘Night Walker’ is much more interesting, the time-signature and suitable voice paints an enjoyable picture for the listener. A beautiful section just around the two minute mark that leads into the chorus captures a great texturing that when utilized by the band, highlights the greatest aspects of their music: their ability on their instruments, and their talent to sequence instrumental passages together. ‘Epona’ opens with chugging guitar and a clever synth and guitar passage that meshes its way over the top, the vocals again sound suitable for the tracks, the lyrics, however, seem to seep back into the cliched tone of ‘Totem’. Around the four minute mark, a reverse breakdown of sorts leads into a chilled out guitar performance, backed carefully by the well written drum backing and the ambience that backs the song up. ‘UFO’ follows a similar trail, the slow burn of the verse, the somewhat moan-y tone of the vocals, the loud and heavier parts.
‘Running Away’ is by far the most interesting track on the second half the release, opening with a massively loud, downtrodden guitar strum and cymbal bash. Followed by a slower more melodic section, the track builds up again and showcases the clean and crisp production of ‘End of an Era’. The inclusion of what I believe to be acoustic guitar also makes a noteworthy addition, as does the string-instrument-sounding guitar that dances around in the background of some sections of the song. The lyrics are also much more strong, hinting at a narrative but maintaing the same type of mystic poetic language from previous tracks. The outro, with the high notes of the lead singers pipes meshing well with the crescendo-type mingling of the instruments creates the most awe-inspiring moment of the whole album. ‘As You Wish’ is also a truly enjoyable track, offering a kind of contemplative breath of fresh air: the instruments, light and playful, mix well with the softly powerful vocals. The track also summarises perhaps the strongest characteristic of the album: the performances.
There are certainly elements of ‘End of an Era’ that somewhat taint its aspirations and thus flattens the heights that the band reach for. Such elements are mainly the lyrical content, the over-produced super clean production, and the same re-used dynamics that mostly occur through the middle of the album. But to say these things tarnish the album would just not be true. For the most part, ‘The Kepler Mission’ play to their strengths: tight and brilliant performances, well textured songs and a good relationship between the vocals and the other instruments. I’m sure it will appeal to many; its entertaining, its tight and it’s a nice melding of sound.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.