5 things to know about Descendant by Lucid AfterLife

Lucid AfterLife play rock music with a focus on the third eye. It's driving and psychedelic.

Nat Jack is lead singer of the Vancouver band Lucid Afterlife. PNG

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Nat Jack is lead singer of the Vancouver band Lucid Afterlife. PNG

Descendant

Lucid AfterLife | Forbidden Place Records

Nat Jack and Thom Turner get around. The core of Vancouver’s Lucid AfterLife recorded this collection of new songs over two years and in four different countries.

There is nothing particularly indicative of where the gents were hanging out making music, but the music they made is most certainly trippy. They describe their sound as astral space rock, or progressive occult rock, and are known for presenting the music in theatrical productions and kaleidoscopic videos.

Mixing elements of drone metal, electronic trance, rap and folk into songs such as Checkin’ Out, the band would not have been out of place in the late Sixties Nottingham scene, where many bizarre prog rock fusions originated.

Here are five things to know about Descendant:

1. Pharma Matrix Karma Spaceship: This is a song title and it’s one of the best on the entire album. Building slowly on a moody, murky groove, the song seems on its way to being a echoing psychedelic metal piece similar to Planet Caravan by Black Sabbath. Then a forceful “hoo-hah” chant kicks in, a heavier riff launches, and then there is a rap break. These guys know how to craft mood.

2. My Lucifer: The pairing of organ and heavily reverberating slide guitar has long been favoured in folk rock and this mid-tempo tune embraces the genre. It’s a love song, or as close as you get to one on this album, with a surprisingly melodic chorus delivered with blunted ease.

3. Dye My Soul: Someone I played this for said it reminded them of the quieter moments in Alice In Chains’ Rooster, and the comment is spot on. But the Lucid AfterLife sound is generally far less heavy with a great deal more of a hypnotic sound, right down to chiming bells in the background and keyboard vamps. The nearly eight minute-long song is probably a highlight of the live show and certainly gets the “occult” billing. There is a cool remix of the tune to give listeners a “shamanic chakra rock experience.”

4. Latin American connection: Although Vancouver-based, the band appears to spend enough time in Mexico that it has a series of videos shot in the country and singer Jack seems very familiar with it. The band has toured there, and also played in Peru. Pretty good for an indie act from the West Coast.

5. 432Hz: The band has recently released a bunch of its songs remastered at 432Hz,  sometimes called the miracle tone and believed to be the natural frequency of the universe and possess healing powers. It also happens to be the note A4 on an equal-tempered scale. There is a lot of back and forth around 432Hz tuning (and you could spend far too long down a Net hole reading the research  — both evidence-based and utter brouhaha) if you feel like it.

Also out this week:

Cherubs

Immaculada High | Relapse Records

Utterly howling sludge/punk with a tinge of psychosis thrown-in for good measure. This Austin band banged out its shrieking songs first in 1991 and then went on a lengthy hiatus only returning to recording and performing in 2014. The break didn’t affect the band’s ability to make music that “feels like the soundtrack to a movie about Mother Nature exacting dark revenge on the nasty Homo sapiens.” So, yeah, keeping current.

Jacob Collier

Djesse – Volume 2 | Universal Music

On the second album of the four release Djesse project, Collier explores acoustic sounds ranging from the Afro-bluegrass of Bakumbe (feat. Sam Amidon) to a gorgeously orchestrated a cappella version of Moon River and the chiming folk of I Heard You Singing with Becca Stevens and Chris Thile. Easy-flowing and easy listening, the only real misstep is a wonky cover of Here Comes The Sun, feat. dobie. The piano solo on Lua feat. Maro more than makes up for it. As always, his reharmonisation of existing melodic lines into new codas and bridges is both brainy and beautiful.

METZ

Automat | Sub Pop

This Toronto experimental punk trio appears to be single-handedly carrying the Big Black and Shellac torch into the future. Relentless rhythms, guitars that sound like they are being battered into submission, and vocals that you might be able to match by hammering nails into your fingers are all part of the din. Purposely annoying in spots, but then you get Automat and appreciate just how good they are at bringing the noise.

Scott Stapp

The Space Between the Shadows | Sony Music

“Where’s the world I used to know?” sings former Creed vocalist Stapp on the opening track to his latest solo release. A fair question to ask when you used to front one of the biggest hard rock bands of the Nineties, and one that the singer answers by more or less trying to revive that era in 10 tunes that serve to remind listeners that what once was embraced with arms wide open might not be now.

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