With members hailing from both North Georgia and Nashville, hard rock band Ethos explores a potent brew of hard rock rhythms, classical piano lines and intricately textured arrangements. Their combination of alt rock, metal and prog tendencies makes for an interesting and utterly captivating listening experience. But it’s more than just the volume or level of ferociousness; the band breaks down the assumptions we have about these particular sounds and adapts them to serve their purposes. The guitars are bent and broken while drums are mercilessly pummeled; it’s a fiery demonstration of the band’s ability to evoke an appropriate tonnage of sound and fury. Their work is loud, melodic and apt to put a strain on your neck from all the headbanging that’s likely to happen.
On record “Shade & Soil,” the band pairs some truly curious sounds, creating an aggressive and turbulent wave of noise that shelters lengths of sizzling guitar riffs, gossamer piano progressions and the odd bit of orchestral theatricality. There’s a vivid ferocity at work in the knotty rhythms and complex melodies that reside within each track. The band certainly knows how to take the elaborate situations and themes of prog rock and make them their own, dismantling the walls and edifices around the musical vagaries littering the post-hardcore landscape in which they find themselves. A clarity of purpose and direction imbues these songs with a focused perspective and layers of rock-centric catharses.
As technically complex as the music is, the band wields their lyrical insights in a more impressionistic manner, with words and phrases spoken to evoke certain moods and feelings and fewer concerns with tangible experiences. Album opener “Shade & Soil” wraps its foggy vocals in a haze of brazen guitar licks and zealous piano chords. Other tracks such as “Frozen Memory” and “Agnosia” have an almost math rock-esque level of rhythmic entanglement, with sounds zigzagging around one another in endless layers of constriction and release. Closing the record with “Blinded,” the band ventures into some initial electronic beat-driven atmospheres, although the howl of voices and the thrum of live drums comes roaring back into sight before long and leaves you drifting somewhere in the lower ionosphere by the time the song comes to an end.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.