RIYLHot Rod Circuit
2. Planning a Prison Break
3. Rival Cycle
5. War of All Against All
6. ...Then I Defy You, Stars
8. This Armistice
9. Broadcast Quality
10. Flee the Factory
11. Dead Men Tell No Tales
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"This is the last night in my body".
Boston, Massachusetts' own The Receiving End of Sirens have created an album that plays like an out of body experience. With its subtle beauty and contrasting darkened solitude, Between the Heart and the Synapse is a ride through those parts of your mind that you visit least. From the first note to the final one, TREOS has created something that pulls you in and won't let you go until it has thoroughly forced you into a state of inner realization.
I first discovered TREOS on the, might-as-well-now-be defunct mp3.com. I wasn't thoroughly impressed with much of their work, with the exception of a song entitled "The Race". There was something about the opening guitar riff, and subsequent eruption of vocals with one of the most original and impressive vocal rhythms I have encountered to this day, that made the song really stand out. The chorus of the song was on the weaker side, but the vocalist had a good voice, and I could tell the band knew what they were doing. And then it happened... the music slowed to a finger-picked guitar, and the vocalist who I now know as Casey Crescenzo softly crooned, "If your body is a temple, then the roof is on fire." All of a sudden the music erupted again, with Casey screaming the aforementioned line. From that point on I was hooked. I listened to everything I could find by them, which ended up being only a demo. That demo consisted of five tracks; three full songs and two instrumental interludes. The music on that demo was some of the best I can remember hearing in a while, and the brevity of it was such a tease, that Between the Heart and the Synapse instantly became my most anticipated release of 2005.
The album begins with a 42 second instrumental introduction entitled "Prologue". Sure, alot of bands are doing this nowadays and it has begun to take on an air of pretentiousness, yet TREOS seem to pull it off nonetheless. This is because Between the Heart and Synapse is not an album in the traditional sense. I would describe it more as an extended epic. From "Prologue" to "Epilogue" Between the Heart and Synapse plays as one, ever-changing, ever-evolving song. TREOS achieve this by playing each track in basically the same key and same meter, and creating some of the most beautiful and seemless transitions between tracks that i've ever heard. "Prologue" consists of a series of almost "extra-terrestrial" beeps, which slowly build up in intensity until suddenly Casey's voice erupts with "Warden's calling for a lock down baby!", and with that, "Planning a Prison Break" begins.
Drums and a single guitar start things off, but they are soon joined by a second guitar, then a bass, and then in true TREOS style, a third guitar. The bass line that follows on the verse has to be heard to comprehend, its just great! Casey's voice is superb throughout the track and throughout the entire album as a whole. There are some electronic effects that show up throughout the song, yet not as many as upcoming songs. A second vocalist jumps in at around the three minute mark, another TREOS specialty. The songs end with Casey crooning "This is the last night in my body...yeah!" followed by gang vocals singing the same line as the music slowly transitions into the second full song "The Rival Cycle".
Again the drums lead the way, with Casey singing some amazing lyrics over them... "stricken with insomnia, sickened lungs insist on heavy breathing" It just doesn't get better then lines like that, and Between the Heart and the Synapse is absolutely littered with them. At around 3:50 there is an amazing beakdown that has to be heard to comprehend. When they play this song live, it becomes a madhouse. The song ends with the opening riff, which drifts off with the guitar holding the final note, then morphing into an electronic segue into "The Evidence"
The drums once again kick things off, and are amazing throughout the song. The chorus of this track is huge, with another amazing lyrical and vocal performance by Casey Crescenzo. Things slow down momentarily with Casey singing "it's just a matter of time before they find, find out" around 2:07. Suddenly the guitars pick up again with electronic distortion and Casey screams "Her fingers like spiders spin a web my body couldn't shed" through a heavy amount of distortion. It is seriously one of the most amazing effects i've heard in a while. An amazing thing about the album is that some lyrics carry on throughout different songs. This lyric pops up again towards the end of "Broadcast Quality". This effect really pulls the album together and rewards the listener. "The Evidence" ends with a drum outro that morphs right into the unmistakeable drum intro to "The War of All Against All", the first track of the old demo.
The song hasn't changed too much. The intro is a bit longer and much bigger sounding, and there is alot more guitar work at certain parts. The most noticeable difference occurs around 4:15, after the original song has ended. It is basically a soft outro with some background singing, but it really complements the rest of the song, and is a nice resting point before "...Then I Defy You Stars" begins.
There is a very cool guitar riff in the beginning of the song, and then all instruments drop off except for Casey's voice and the drums during the verse. This song contains the best chorus on the album with Casey singing "Oh Juliet, Oh Juliet, deny your name; your father." This song really showcases Casey's vocal range, and really utilizes both the multiple vocalists and guitarists that TREOS is known for. The song ends with a soft outro that eases into the one and only instrumental track on the album, "Intermission". If you've heard the old demo, then you will recognize this track as "Transition One". Basically it has been jazzed up a little bit with more electronic effects, and is an incrediblely soothing and aesthetic tune. "Intermission" flows seemlessly into the next, and probably strongest track on the album, "This Armistice"
This track has it all. It begins with an amzingly complex guitar performance with a vocal style so far unheard on the album. I especially love the organ that erupts right after Casey sings "to the sounds of the organs". It just shows how much time and creativity was put into making this album. The chrous slowly builds into the catchiest one on the album and seriously one of the catchiest i've ever heard. The ending of this song will send chills down your spine, no question. "Oh how i've been teething, in light of your misleading, you've caused this collapse, between the heart and the synapse" the entire band sings as the album title makes its awaited appearance. "This Armistice" ends as quietly as it begun, and you feel as though you've just witnessed something amazing, and truly you have.
"Broadcast Quality" is the next track, and it starts out with a nice keyboard riff, before the guitars and bass erupt onto the scene. This song is one of the fastest paced and heaviest tracks on the album. It also contains some of the most amazing lyrics on the album. Casey seems to almost write in tongue twisters reminiscent of a much smarter Boys Night Out. When I saw TREOS at their cd release party, this song had the biggest impact on me. Basically at the end of this song, all the bands rush on the stage and scream "Her fingers, like spiders, spin a web my body couldn't shed". The lyric makes it's second appearance, blasting onto the scene with amazing energy and emotion. One of the best moments on the album. The song ends with an amazing vocal outro, that leads into "Flee the Factory".
The build up to "Flee the Factory" lets you know that you are about to hear a real gem, and it doesn't dissappoint. The intro to the song is phenomenal as TREOS shows that they have so many things to teach Hawthorne Heights about utilizing three guitarists. The chorus of this track has an extremely dark tone to it, reminiscent of a horror movie type sound. Supposedly Anthony Green of Circa Survive fame lends his amazing vocals to this track, but I believe it is only in the melody becuse he is almost impossible to pick out. The end of this song cemented in my mind the fact that TREOS is one of the most creative and talented bands to hit the scene in a long time. The off-kilter organ outro is just fantastic and it blends perfectly into the next song "Dead Men Tell No Tales".
I've listened to this song about 30 times and I am convinced that it is the exact same as the version on the demo, which is still magnificent. I love how the whole song follows the theme of a skinking ship, it is just some amazing writing. Those of you who have heard the demo know how great this song is, for those who have't, be prepared to be blown away.
The last true song is "Venona" and it starts off with Casey singing in a great tone, before the guitar erupts and he screams. There are some excellent riffs littered throughout the song, but my one complaint is that of all the songs on the album, "Venona" seems to be the only one that lacks a true hook, something that pulls you into the song on the first listen. Don't get me wrong, if this song were on any other album it would probably be the best track on it, but on Between the Heart and Synapse I think TREOS could have picked a better song to end on. Not that "Venona" ends the album, that task is left for the 13 minute epic "Epilogue". This is were I find my one and only real gripe with this album. The song reminds me of "Ender" on What It Is to Burn by Finch. It begins well (actually magnificently) with a soothing piano and gang vocals almost chanting "This is the last night in my body", then the music picks up and then chanting continues. If this song had actually ended at 3:08 seconds, this album would have received a 5/5. But alas, like in "Ender" there is silence for almost 7 minutes before and electronically distorted voice sings "oh how i've been teething in light of your misleading, you've caused this collapse, between the heart and the synapse." It is the perfect way to end the album, if it weren't for the 7 minute silence.
This album will most assuredly be in my top 5 of 2005. I have been patiently waiting for this album to drop ever since I heard "The Race" and despite my enormous expectations, I wasn't let down in the slightest, in fact it exceeded my wildest dreams. Do yourself a favor and pick this up, not doing so would be a mistake. You do not want to miss out on this superb release from a band I know we will be hearing about for a long time to come.