Band: Iris Divine
Album: The Static and the Noise
Available: October 6, 2017
Two years ago Iris Divine made a huge splash on my radar with their debut album Karma Sown. I named them my newcomer of the year, guitarist Navid Rashid my guitarist of the year, and my third overall album of the year, a sentiment I still agree with two years later. Following up Karma Sown was going to be a tall task, and I believe that The Static and The Noise accomplishes this without sounding like Karma Sown part two.
If you are not familiar with the band, Iris Divine is a three piece outfit consisting of guitarist/vocalist Navid Rashid, Kris Combs on drums, keys, and programming, and Brian Dobbs on bass. As with many three piece bands, their sound is very well constructed and cohesive, which I attribute to avoiding the “too many cooks in the kitchen” metaphor. I would classify the band as a heavier progressive metal band, and their metal backgrounds really shine through.
Their debut album had a bright sound and generally left me in a good mood, which I feel like it fits the album title and artwork. The Static and The Noise title and artwork also forebodes the feel of the album, and takes on a darker and angrier tone, while addressing those topics that we sometimes want to shy from in casual conversation. I was taken off guard on my first listen because even though I was prepared for this tone based on Kickstarter updates, there was no hiding from it in parts. But that’s what great art and literature do sometimes – throw issues in your face that aren’t the most pleasant to address. The aggressive tone starts from the first note and doesn’t let up anywhere through its 46 minute run time. However I don’t leave the album in an angry mood, but a contemplative one. After the initial shock, The Static and The Noise took over my listening time. I received the promo the same day three other albums arrived at my door, and two weeks later I still haven’t gotten around to listening to two of those albums from established artists I like because I keep coming back to this one. Every few listens, my favorite track seems to change. I had high praise for Navid’s guitar work on the first album, and those talents certainly returned on this album. In addition I think his singing and song writing talents are very much on display on this album. Kris’s contributions in drumming and rounding out the sound with keys are even more impressive when taken into consideration he lives practically on the other side of the country. The darker feel of the album would be hard to achieve without the tone and driving bass lines that Brian achieved. Nothing on the album feels forced, and it sounds like this is the album the band really wanted to make, everything on the album just seems to exude feeling; the bass is heavy, the screams are angsty, the vocals are emotive, and the lyrics don’t require liner notes to get the message. Perhaps most importantly the music perfectly compliments the theme of every song.
The lyrics of “Like Glass” ask you to “Swallow the bitter medicine, open your eyes”. That might be the best advice for approaching this album, your first listen might catch you off guard, but this album will, given enough time heal what ails you, and it will reward you immensely when you open your eyes. There is still time to get in on near the ground floor for this band that really deserves to break through the underground scene. I can’t see this not being an album raking in some end of year awards from myself and others.
Mason’s grade: A
Hello there, it’s been quite a while! As I’ve eluded to during previous shows life has changed a lot for me over the past year or so. I took a new job with a much longer commute and a heavier workload. My girlfriend and I purchased our first house and have since stocked it with two more cats bringing our total up to four. And, I’ll admit, I’ve been feeding my gaming urge substantially more as well. All this has not only taken up a significant amount of time, but has made it increasingly difficult to do a scheduled broadcast every week.
Let me just say I’ve always prided myself in the prep for my shows and the three hour window of broadcast is only part of the time dedicated to each episode. There is preparing the set, preparing detailed notes and links to go with the set, promoting the show, then doing the show, then preparing the post and podcast, and finally promoting after that is released. With work, travel, and new home issues to attend to being able to broadcast at the end of the day just didn’t happen with enough frequency.
Initially I was going to put the show on an indefinite hiatus, and I suppose we unofficially had that as our last podcast was from May, however I feel like we have a possible avenue to move forward with this show that I’ve been doing nearly 10 years at this point.
Into the foreseeable future we’re going to be focussing on podcasts and new formats for the show, to be recorded and released as time permits. We will continue to do reviews and interviews. We will continue to do music mixer discussions about current and general topics. We will continue to bring new and exciting music to your ears. The difference is now it won’t happen every Wednesday. It’ll happen when we are sparked and want to bring you something. I foresee some shorter more focussed musical podcasts hopefully getting into more depth on artists. I’m also open to new ideas and formats as we push ahead.
As for the very immediate future here is what’s on the docket. Mason has a review in the works for the upcoming Iris Divine album The Static and the Noise. I’m going to be doing a show to recap my recent trip to the Netherlands to see the historical Ayreon performances. I’ll be doing a similar show as well focused on my experiences during Haken‘s recently concluded 10th Anniversary Tour here in North America, hitting on their involvement in The Shattered Fortress as well.
Thank you as always to those that have always listened live, downloaded podcasts, and given your feedback and support to the show. I hope we can continue to connect into the future and help one another to enjoy all the beautiful music out there for us.