LabelThe Mylene Sheath
2. My Medicine
3. Southern Comfort
4. Doesn't Feel the Same
5. Sent from Heaven (Rest in Dirt)
6. The Bridge
8. The Words We Say
9. I Believe in Ghosts
10. Fade Out
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Raise your hands if you thought the side project featuring members of post-metal pioneers Pelican and sludge-lords 16 would be described as “poppy”? Defying all logic and the-always-important Vegas odds, “poppy” is the end result, as Aeges emphasizes riffs and hooks in equal measure. Call it “stoner pop” or “pop sludge;” whatever the label, it’s just “fun.” The Bridge is deceptively simple considering the member’s previous bands. The only thing post or progressive that can be attributed to the album is that Aeges takes heed from the success of mid-90s post-hardcore bands. The Bridge prefers not to wow listeners with musical prowess or seven-minute build-ups; instead the band churns out ten head boppers.
Album opener “Wrong” just feels so damn right, as its opening riffs immediately grab listeners by the ears and demand attention. The song features a great wall of sound that ushers in what listeners can expect throughout The Bridge: fuzzed out guitars, hefty melodies, and solid drumming. While “Wrong” is one of the strongest tracks on the album, the other nine are no slouch. “Southern Comfort” and “”Doesn’t Feel the Same” are a solid one-two punch that showcases the cornucopia of 90s influences found throughout the album. The riffs are sludgy in a way that bridges Torche and Helmet. The vocals are passionate and gruffly melodic like the best of Dave Grohl, and there is a mid-career Blindside touch in the guitars and melodic structure.
The only major issues to note are the occasional inconsistency and the production. While the songs are not altogether throwaways, “Roaches” and “I Believe in Ghosts” are not quite up to snuff with the remainder of the album. On repeat listens, these tracks can be skipped or forgotten and the structural integrity of the bridge is still intact. The other problem is also an asset: the production. That “wall of sound” is quite muddy, which serves as a benefit with the sludgy guitars and the drum work, but it also comes across as a detractor when the vocals are muddled up or when the wall becomes too much of a collective sound and not enough of individual components working together.
What makes The Bridge work so damn well is that Aeges has carved out their own musical niche on album number one. This group of musical veterans obviously knows what it wanted to accomplish from the outset, and that single-minded focus has shown through. With the heavy emphasis on guitar riffs and memorable melodies, the result is a fantastic release that is sure to serve as an under-the-radar surprise for 2012.