Season of Arrows Premiere “Farewell to the Horseman”; Give it to the Mountain Due Spring 2017


Nashville five-piece Season of Arrows will release their second album, Give it to the Mountain, in Spring 2017 through Static Tension Recordings. It was originally set to arrive next month via the same label, but it’s been pushed back to next year in what I can only think is a smart move from the standpoint of giving the record its due, which nothing released in December ever seems to get. Fair enough with people’s minds elsewhere, be that on year-end lists or holidays or whatnot, but with a deeply atmospheric presentation throughout its eight tracks/45 minutes of ethereal creeper doom, Give it to the Mountain shouldn’t be ignored.

The good news is that while the follow-up to Season of Arrows‘ well-received 2014 self-titled debut has been delayed, the band have opted to nonetheless unveil opener “Farewell to the Horseman” early. And while it doesn’t necessarily represent Give it to the Mountain‘s full breadth, from its ritualized acoustic/keyboard/voice intro through the intensity of chug-and-churn riffing, the underlying metallic feel to it all and the echoing vocals of Stormie Wakefield, it’s got more than a few key tells. Joining Wakefield in the lineup are guitarists Brandon Shepard and Dave Gates, bassist Shawn Van Dusen and drummer Brad Lawson, and all five work to conjure a dense fog on “Farewell to the Horseman,” coming across as partially indebted perhaps to Windhand, but as their second offering continues through the march of “Deep Graves,” the near-thrash apex of “Evening Lord” and the thudding and crashing breakdown in “Autumn Wings,” the mood might be largely unipolar — that is, nobody suddenly gets happy — but the sound is varied and with Wakefield‘s far-back, echoing vocals do much to enhance the spooky feel without veering into hyper-postured cult rock cliché. It can be a fine line sometimes.

season-of-arrows-give-it-to-the-mountainBut fine lines are made to be stomped on, and Season of Arrows do a solid job of walking all over that one and a few others on the borderline between metallic aggression and doomed lurch. Presumed side B opener “The Bridge” mirrors some of the gradual unfolding of “Farewell to the Horseman,” but remains more spacious and open-feeling, with the guitars echoing behind a forward drum progression, coming forward for the chorus only to recede again before shifting into a harmonized solo in the second half as part of a satisfying finishing movement that Wakefield meets head-on vocally. Faster and more rolling from the outset is “New Sorcery,” but it comes paired with the acoustic/organ/voice ambient piece “Bellow,” a well-timed shift in approach as the penultimate cut, and the two work fluidly together, although “Bellow” is hypnotic enough that the somewhat blackened riff that starts closer “From the Wilderness We Return” comes out of it just as easily as “New Sorcery” went in. That’s a credit to Season of Arrows, obviously, but should be all the more because the ambience of “Bellow” doesn’t just disappear once the finisher hits. The gradual move into and through a verse and chorus leads in the midsection to a minimal stretch of drums, voice and sparse guitar that would seem to acknowledge from whence it came before moving into the final thrust and capping with feedback, drum thud and one last vague whisper.

Of the eight cuts on Give it to the Mountain, four of them — “Farewell to the Horseman,” “Autumn Wings,” “The Bridge” and “From the Wilderness We Return” — are over six minutes long, and they basically open and close the two sides of the album with shorter tracks between. That structure invites the listener to go deeper into each side and experience it almost as a miniature version of the record in itself, but even in linear form, the progression across Season of Arrows‘ work flows effectively. I don’t know if “Farewell to the Horseman” can really sum that up on its own, or if any single piece could, but go ahead and put it on and see how long it takes for the band to put you in a doomly trance. I’m guessing it won’t be all that long.

Season of Arrows had some brief comment about “Farewell to the Horseman” that you’ll find under the player below. Give it to the Mountain arrives in Spring 2017.

Thanks for listening and enjoy:

Season of Arrows on “Farewell to the Horseman”:

“This song is about ultimate sacrifice. Giving to something bigger than ourselves. A bloodstained ground built on the bones of our fathers. Under stars, through the ether and within the heavens we claim our lands.”

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Give it to the Mountain preorder on Bandcamp

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