When The Casket Lottery first appeared a few years back, it seemed like they were destined for really big things. They had hardcore star power, since both of Coalesce’s bass players were in the band. Their first record, “Choose Bronze” showed a ton of promise right off the bat, though it was a huge departure from anything Coalesce had ever done.
They combined intricate musicianship and song structure with a melodic emo feel. Less than a year later, they released “Moving Mountains”, their second full length. It was even more intricate than “Choose Bronze”, every song melodic, though still well layered and dense. That balance is a feat for any band, let alone a trio.
Two years later, The Casket Lottery are back with their third full length. I have to admit that my expectations were very high, perhaps too high. But from the opening verse of “Code Red”, it’s evident that was all but impossible. This time around, the trio is putting a bit more emphasis on melody. Almost every one of the ten songs here is downright catchy. But at the same time, the songs haven’t lost their complicated, layered edge that sets these guys apart from the pack. The songs are still dense, with the guitar and bass constantly switching parts, and trading the spotlight. The drumming is angular, though it still flows really well, and it even grabs the spotlight from time to time. There is also some well placed, and well-written keyboard work added into the mix this time around. It’s hard to pick a favorite track, though “Since You”, and “For Apples” really stand out. The striking and prominent dynamics that these guys have always used often, and very effectively are at an all time high. Things will go from a mellow, keyboard or guitar and vocal section, right into a very frantic and flailing passage. Then in the next breath, they will ramp up even further, or die right off. The twists and turns make for a very interesting and striking album that will have a much longer shelf life than most anyone in the same genre. Fans of hard hitting indie rock or what was once called emo need to start hunting this down now. The bar has been raised by The Casket Lottery. Again.
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Stuart Anderson, Editor