1476 sounds like no other
“Our Season Draws Near” sees the eclectic duo wrap their influences into a transcendent musical cocktail. | 1476.bandcamp.com
Naming a band after a date may seem like a played-out trend, but 1476 from Salem, Mass. more than proves their worth with “Our Season Draws Near.”
Across the musical map
Neil Derosa and Robb Kavjian have stated they enjoy the ambiguity their name gives them. Branching from their roots in feral punk rock, dreary neo-folk and cinematic indie rock into post-rock and black metal, this two-piece finds themselves all over the musical map.
Producer Markus Siegenhort does a wonderful job of apprehending the myriad of directions this album takes and making it sound real. Every element 1476 has made use of in the past makes an appearance, but in an integrated fashion. Listening to any one song on this album gives the listener no way of pinpointing the style.
Delicate singing and earthy acoustic guitar begin opening track “Our Silver Age” before guitar feedback cadences in a swaying 6/8 drum beat and wailing guitar lines. Vocal reprisals hang in the background and increasingly defined chords end this song along the lines of Pink Floyd’s ethereal ambiguity. 1476 then reminds listeners of their metallic tendencies.
A sense of tonality
With galloping drums and propulsive chord progressions, “Ettins” provides punk-inspired energy with tremolo picking holding up the harmony and melody. Still, this album rarely diverges fully into black metal, even providing detours into stripped down indie rock. While certainly pained, a sense of tonality prevails even in the raspiest vocal passages. 1476 has no need for ripping listeners’ faces off, choosing instead to use metal and punk as two of many aspects of a majestic vision.
“Winter of Winds” and “By Torchlight” also combine blackgaze and punk rock, but they remain distinct. The former drops into an expansive amalgamation of post-rock and folk, stripping itself down to solo acoustic guitar before rolling back into driving punk, while the latter implements a simple, recurrent groove that could work as well in a bluegrass jam as it does the song’s oddball combination of death rock, melodic hardcore and folky black metal. The sheer diversity of sound keeps this album interesting from start to finish.
Besides their name connection, “Solitude (Exterior)” and “Solitude (Interior)” exemplify just how polarized this album can become. “(Exterior)” spends most of its run time in lulling neo-folk balladry, complete with earthy groove and swaying melody, but it crescendos without warning into cascading blast beats and tremolo picked melodies on par with the Nordic legends before dropping back into placid melancholy. By contrast, “(Interior)” uses tom-tom rolls and a driving ride over dreamy guitar lines powerful modulations, along with the most guttural vocals on the album. Even while making these stylistic jumps, 1476 consistently uses their music for introspective explorations of pre-christendom history, philosophy and musings inspired by the gloom of the northwest.
Even on the relatively straightforward tracks “Odessa” and “Winter of Wolves,” distinctiveness naturally exudes from this band’s delivery. These tracks sometimes resemble the likes of Burzum and Ulver — both old and new — but not at the expense of the stylistic amalgamation they have perfected. For every mournful tremolo-picked melody, energetic rhythmic ventures and astoundingly emotional sing-screaming elevate these to the level of more unpredictable cuts.
Only the opener, “Sorgen (Sunwheels)” and the concluding “Our Ice Age” remain confined within 1476’s neo-folk roots. Evoking southern gothic as much as it does Celtic vistas, these cuts accentuate the fact the duo’s dark obscurity exudes from their roots as well as where they have expanded to. Ambient, shoegaze and even psychedelia find a place here, pouring into gaps otherwise filled by punky metal.
“Our Season Draws Near” marks 1476 fully realizing their niche in independent music, providing an inspired journey through mystic kingdoms and eye-opening mental spaces.