I listen to a lot of music from around the world, and there is still something exciting about finding something new in your own back yard and ‘Death to Birth part 1’ is no exception, from Corban Samuels the alter ego of Christchurch musician Sam Reed in New Zealand.
As the title might suggest this album is dark… however it’s not in a spooky way but in a way that is beautiful almost even magical… Hallow.
It’s almost easier to think of the album in the same way that you would describe a movie: Just like a director like Tim Burton makes Halloween or death seem like something that shouldn’t be feared, Sam takes a huge dark subject and slowly opens the lid to this new world.
For the first album Sam is taking a huge leap and on this concept album and you’ll find yourself being drawn into this world that on the surface seems so dark, however you slowly discover how deep each shade of grey really is in his place.
Sam is really smart with the way he has structured this album…
The album builds and meanders through this dark world that he has created, and while it’s dark you can’t help but look around the next dark corner wondering what is hiding there.
The album starts off with a haunting sound that builds slowly as Sam’s hauntingly melodic frail vocals narrate the beginning of the story “Death to birth…”
D.T.B. starts off at a somewhat comfortable pace and tone and that’s a good thing and it makes sense considering that this is the beginning of the journey… both for the concept album series and for Sam himself.
The album reaches a somewhat disturbing climax when you reach the track the Dark Vault where you hear the cries of a young woman… not just crying… pleading for help… it’s uncomfortable to listen to… it’s hard to hear… it leaves a lump in your throat… and then the album takes a new unexpected turn.
It’s almost like watching a horror movie, you’re expecting to be frightened at some point, you are expecting to be given goosebumps, but truly great directors will keep that under wraps until you get comfortable… and that’s exactly what Sam does here.
The whole timbre of the album changes with other instruments making a more active lead… the guitars take on a rawer sound… the album become less synth based and take on a more organic sound… and just as you feel that you want to hear more… the album stops… Well played Sam, well played… we’re looking forward to the next installment.
I’ve heard Sams vocals compared to Tom Yorke’s (Radiohead) and while that would be accurate it most likely sits somewhere between Tom Yorke and Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie…
Now… this album is certainly not for everyone… it’s dark… it’s moody… it’s brooding and it has the bravado of a truly Indie album.
This however is a great first effort from Sam… and if the next installments of Death to Birth start off how this album ends then we are in for an exciting series of concept albums.
You can listen to Sams album HERE… where you can have a listen and then you can buy it… and if you’re a fan of bands like Radiohead, Death Cab for Cutie, Tool and even David Crowder Bands more experimental tracks (Like sequence 1-7 from their ‘Give Us Rest’ album) then it may be worth downloading and taking the ride.