To The Wind
Block Out The Sun & Sleep
Key Tracks: "Trapped," "Through My Eyes," "Growing Numb"
When you live in a small town, rarely are there artists that play in your immediate area. One time my band opened up for our hometown hardcore band, and also on the list was To The Wind. Blistering riffs and heavy melodic music seared the audience that night from the young Seattle quintet. While their debut Empty Eyes was a solid album, it felt safe and locked into the box. Their newest release Block Out The Sun & Sleep stretches the old blueprint and reach new stages with big chords and flowing melodies.
The formula has been shaken. The first single that was released, ‘Trapped’, showcased a sorrowful riff that helped push emotion behind the deep and riveted vocal delivery. The riff trudges along at a sullen pace and is used in variation to create a staunch and recognizable motif. This is the kind of melodic presence that To The Wind brings across this entire album, making them feel more accessible and relatable. However, it is songs like ‘Vacant Home,’ ‘Hands Of The Clock’ and ‘Skin Deep’ that steal the show, lyrically making connections to the struggles of life at home. The slower pace of these songs allow for the melodies to help grab the listener while the lyrics make you tremble, like the final blowup of ‘Skin Deep’ where Tanner Murphy desperately howls, “the scars were sealed but in the end I still bleed your family name”. It is this kind of emotional introspection that meshes well with this style of music, and the band knows how to build up a moment.
Where To The Wind really show off is the instrumental, which also happens to be the title track. Soothing, intellectual, and thought-provoking, it is a good midpoint to let the first half sink in while preparing for the rest of the album. This confident instrumental highlights how melody-focused this album really is, especially with tempestuous powerhouse ‘Skin Deep’ directly after. ‘Through My Eyes’ and ‘Iron Rain’ are back to back vicious songs, with the former drawing on a more straight forward-hardcore vibe, forgoing the idea of melodies for devastating chord progressions with amped up drumming. The latter builds up until the last breakdown, pausing for Murphy’s dramatic, “If I keep bending I will break”. The final track on this album, ‘Growing Numb’ is a hidden gem for those listening to Block Out The Sun & Sleep in its entirety. Visceral and to the point, it steps up and delivers an in-your-face attitude without being pretentious.
For being a sophomore release, this album is well done. A familiar hardcore album layered with feelings, melodies drive much of Block Out The Sun & Sleep. Fans of other staple bands of the genre (Counterparts, Hundredth, The Ghost Inside) are sure to find this album enjoyable. Check out To The Wind playing the remaining dates of Warped Tour and pick up the album next Tuesday, July 22nd.