FINALLY! Seasons After have returned after a tumultuous four year hiatus that saw various lineup changes and legal disputes almost derail one of my favorite metal bands of the past decade. Seasons After formed in Wichita, KS. in 2006. I’ve watched this band grow every step of the way from packing out some of the seediest shitholes in Wichita to sharing Summer Festival stages with some of the biggest names in Rock & Metal. Riding the wave of ‘Cry Little Sister’, a top-fifteen single on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Chart, video rotation on MTV & Fuse for the aforementioned song & garnering positive reviews from fans and critics alike, Seasons After seemed on the verge of breaking big when their singer abruptly quit mid-tour bringing all momentum to a screeching halt.
The band scrambled to find a new singer and soon brought Tony Housh into the fold but legal disputes would prevent Seasons After from releasing new music for the next four years. Most bands would have called it quits but Seasons After soldiered on and never gave up! They solidified the band with the permanent addition of Tony Housh, locked themselves away in Chris Dawson’s studio relentlessly writing and recording what would become their sophomore album and added bassist Jesse Saint earlier in 2014.
Their perseverance has paid off with the release of ‘Calamity, Scars & Memoirs.’ Forgoing the label route for now, the band is focused on working the album independent of label help, regaining their fan base through touring & a grass roots social media approach and maybe a little help from radio. If you digg modern metal bands who are proud of the roots of the genre then you will digg Seasons After. You can hear elements of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne as well as Slipknot, Sevendust and Black Label Society in their songs but not at the sake of sounding like a tribute band. Seasons After do a great job of pushing Metal forward but they never forget where it came from.
The band wastes little time getting things off to a rocking start on ‘Break To Survive.’ Rapid-fire drumming, dueling guitars, a melodic vocal rage highlighted by some Slipknot-esque background vocals bring forth a clearly autobiographical set of lyrics. I really digg the build-up of the breakdown, a massive riff accented by some pinch harmonics, Tony’s throat tearing growl topped off by a solo of insane shred fest proportions. Good luck catching your breath after that one but you better do it quick during the music box intro of ‘Lights Out’ because it don’t take long before the harmonic choir gang vocal turns the corner in another direction without forsaking melody. Nice placement of the background vocals to accent Tony. I could see this doing well at radio being it is a little more laid back vocally with multiple tempo changes. ‘So Long Goodbye’ has a very interesting guitar track by Chris Dawson allowing the guitars to guide to song. The choruses have an epic feel while Tony has a rhythmic approach vocally in the verses. Tim’s tribal drums take the song to that next level.
‘One More Step’ starts off with some Maiden inspired guitars before the rhythm section turns your brain into mashed rice. It is heavy on groove allowing the guitars to soar alongside some masterful lead and background vocals. Digg the harmonic guitar solo followed up by Dawson’s chugging riff, James harmonic solo stabs and Tim’s monster drums that outro a damn near perfect song. The harmonic guitars that end ‘One More Step’ carry over to ‘I’ll Be Here.’ With the exception of a short vocal breakdown halfway through, this song is unrelenting. A great approach by the rhythm section that allows the vocals and guitars to steer the song. The guitar playing in the intro of ‘Weathered & Worn’ set the tone for the mellow vibe of the song. The choruses pick up the pace slightly but settle back down. The classical vibe of the solo was a nice touch. The tone of the lead guitar has a Slash-esque tonality throughout. I’d be shocked if that wasn’t a Les Paul through a Marshall!
More classical inspired guitars open up ‘Wake Me’ before throttling you between the ear holes. Lyrically, it is one of my favorites as it deals with the feelings that come with an overbearing run of bad luck and bad news. I could have used this song in July and August! Jesse & Tim really lock-in to provide a grinding rhythm that allows the dual guitar attack and the vocals to go off. ‘This Life’ opens up with some industrial tinged drumming before Tim settles into a straightforward aggressive assault on the skins. This songs brings in all their collective influences from days gone by, adds in some of Slipknot’s percussive elements, the amazing vocal ranges of Corey Taylor & Lajon Witherspoon, soaks it all in some sweet 90% proof and throws it into a Seasons After blender.
Is that acoustic guitar I hear? Hot damn, it is! It provides a sonically beautiful foundation for the band to sit back, soak in the vibe and deliver the lone “ballad” of the album in ‘It’s Alright.’ The venues that Seasons After hit should light up like a Bon Jovi video with this sultry panty dropper. The solo has that big arena rock feel to it. I know the formula died in the early 1990’s but this song would be the perfect obligatory ballad for the third single at radio. A nice change of pace especially with its placement as the next-to-last tune on the album. ‘My Last Words’ is an all-to-appropriate title for the album closing song. The most “Modern Metal” sounding track thanks to Tony’s vocal delivery. The lyrics speak the universal language of love, holding on, choices and letting go. He really poured everything into the lyrics and performance of this track!
Seasons After cracked open the shell of the band and let you see inside them for the last four years. Deeply autobiographical, ‘Calamity, Scars & Memoirs’ takes you through setbacks, line-up changes, music industry bullshit, heartbreak & the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Lyrically, it reads like a journal set to a variety of moods, tempos and musical textures. Thankfully there was a recording console there to capture it all for the listener. While I am sure nobody in the band would want to endure a four-year stretch like the one they just came out of. I think the band can stand proud at the finish line as they grown not only as musicians but as humans & have created a musical piece of art. This album isn’t a here-today-gone-tomorrow fad, it is an album that will stand the test of time. As a fan, I am glad they decided to weather the storm and decided to share this journey with us, the listener. It should send a positive message about persevering and never giving up. Today may be dark and dreary but tomorrow is a new day, something that all ties back to the name, Seasons After!
01. Break to Survive
02. Lights Out
03. So Long Goodbye
04. One More Step
05. I’ll Be Here
06. Weathered and Worn
07. Wake Me
08. This Life
09. It’s Alright
10. My Last Words
Seasons After – My Last Words (Official Lyric Video)
Seasons After – So Long Goodbye (Official Lyric Video)
http://www.seasonsafter.com – Seasons After Official Website
Sites That Link to this Post
- “Calamity Scars & Memoirs” – Perseverance has PAID OFF!! — Seasons After | October 9, 2014