Dec 2011 28

Society 1 - A Journey from ExileSociety 1
Category: Industrial / Metal
Album: A Journey from Exile
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: Shifting to a more melodic, less confrontational style of hard rock, Society 1’s journey has been a strange one indeed.


Every artist embarks on the journey to creative and spiritual fulfillment, and more often than not, the journey takes some rather strange turns. For Matt Zane and his band Society 1, the rewards have been as abundant as the prices paid for rock & roll stardom, enduring much hardship that culminated in the band all but dissolving into an indefinite hiatus for several years. Lessons learned from suffering and success in equal amounts, A Journey from Exile presents a musical crossroads where the unabashed aggression and heavy metal belligerence of the past gives way to a much more emotive and introspective approach that is certain to alienate as much as entice.

Listening to the album, one would be hard pressed to realize that this is the same band that gave us such displays of alternative metal blasphemy as Slacker Jesus or The Sound that Ends Creation. In place of the violent screams and bellowing roars of old, Zane actually sings with bravado and melodic depth, exploring the full range of his voice and giving Society 1 a much more accessible tint that in this writer’s opinion is most welcome. From the sinister whispers of the bluesy “I Got You” to the mid-range croon of “Scream Out Your Breath” to the soaring falsettos of “Still Alive” evocative of Ozzy Osbourne at his best, harmonizing with himself throughout, Zane demonstrates an actual vocal ability that adds to the emotional core of the music as a whole. As well, the music possesses a much more ethereal quality, the grooving bass of longtime collaborator Dirt Von Karloff, precise, powerful percussion from Preston Nash, and shimmering guitars provided by Billie Stevens augmented by string-like synths on “Find Me” making for a lovely and sullen atmosphere. Other songs like “Pain and Torture” and “As You Go Down” are much more straightforward, full of rock & roll power and fury yet never getting lost in grandstanding heavy metal bombast. Several songs on A Journey from Exile were retained from Zane’s Lotus Rising project with renowned cellist Tina Guo, and her combination of virtuosic frenzy and lush melody add a resonant beauty to the album, especially on songs like “Goodbye,” “Save Us,” and “Scream Out Your Breath,” her solos easily competing with the most raucous guitarist.

As stated, many a longtime fan will be dismayed at the shift in style toward a more melodic, less abrasive form. And yet, it is exactly that shift that shows an evolution for Society 1 as A Journey from Exile keeps it rooted in the alternative metal of the past, but with a matured musical and lyrical outlook complete with the right amount of synthesized tinges to place the band in a niche all its own. While the band is unfortunately on another hiatus following this album, should Zane and company proceed further down the path forged by A Journey from Exile, Society 1 stands poised to reach a new level of musical appreciation and exploration.
Track list:

  1. Salvation (feat. Tina Guo)
  2. I Got You
  3. Save Us (feat. Tina Guo)
  4. Still Alive
  5. Hard to See
  6. She’s Dead
  7. Find Me
  8. All My Pain
  9. Scream Out Your Breath (feat. Tina Guo)
  10. Open Cries
  11. Pain and Torture
  12. As You Go Down
  13. Breathe in Me (feat. Tina Guo)
  14. Goodbye (feat. Tina Guo)

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Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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