Stateside cinematic prog metallers Earthside are streaming their debut album A Dream In Static in full exclusively with Metal Hammer, which you can listen to now below!
The guys have also given us a track by track breakdown of each composition, taking you deeper into the expansive world this Connecticut crew have created.
The Closest I’ve Come
Ryan Griffin (bass): The Closest I’ve Come was the reason I joined Earthside, although the other three guys were playing under a different name at the time. When I saw it live for the first time I was drawn in by how evocative it was. The leads and fullness of sections contrasting with the sparseness of others along with the rhythmic complexity and the way it moved from part to part constantly bringing in new elements spoke to all of my senses as a listener and musician. This was the song that made us want to begin anew as Earthside.
Jamie van Dyck (guitar): While it is but one of eight tracks on A Dream In Static, Mob Mentality probably encompassed as many hours of work composing, scoring, recording, rehearsing, and mixing as the other seven songs combined. Mob is a crash course in the breadth of emotions, the scope of ambition, and the collaborative spirit we wish to capture in our music. It had been a lifelong goal of mine to compose for orchestra, and I really appreciate my Earthside mates and our families pushing me forward in this endeavour, as difficult as it was. Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust has been among my absolute favourite vocalists in rock music since I was in middle school, and it’s an absolute dream come true to have him as the voice for the piece. It began as my senior thesis to complete the music major at Yale University and became a very meaningful way for me to honour the legacy of a dear friend who recently passed away.
A Dream in Static
Ryan Griffin (bass): A Dream In Static was a complete team effort – written and revised by the four of us together as a band over the course of a few weeks. It also became the only vocal song on the record that was written collectively. When Earthside commissioned Daniel Tompkins to sing on A Dream in Static, because the other members knew he was my favourite singer, they decided it would be fun to not tell me about it until they had already recorded him. I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t have been in the studio with him, but getting sent the rough mix of him singing on A Dream in Static was a good way for me to find out he was on our album.
Entering The Light
Frank Sacramone (keyboard): This song was originally composed when I was in high school. At that time, I was really into film scores and was inspired to write in that style. Coupled with my yearning to find my way in a troubling time, Entering The Light was born. I used the hammered dulcimer as the lead instrument because it had become a favourite of mine with its incredible timbre.
Jamie van Dyck (guitar): Like The Closest I’ve Come and A Dream In Static, Skyline is a song that was composed as a band collaboration and grew out of a jam session in rehearsal. From a ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ standpoint, Skyline is the song that I’m most proud of on the album as it showcases the talents of all individual members of Earthside, and producer Davis Castillo, at the peak of their powers in a way that naturally adds to the entirety of the piece. Most listeners will likely experience this as a song in two halves, with the journey of the second half unfolding as a series of layers of tension unraveling as the dynamic builds and suddenly bursts with all dissonance resolved in what to me has come to feel like an orgasmic release.
Ben Shanbrom (drums): Crater is the first full song I ever wrote. Our guitarist Jamie helped me to flesh out my ideas and refine them into an intense piece that sheds light on some very poignant aspects of the human condition – the power of choice and the meaning of sacrifice. It’s about choosing one potential life over another and the bittersweet moment of realisation that comes when you understand for yourself that you have crossed the threshold of no return. I am honoured not only that Björn Strid lent his talents to this track, but that he also graced it with what I honestly believe to be one of his best vocal performances to date. On the compositional end; I’ve always found it interesting when artists are able to take complex ideas and present them in an understated manner. This was the primary creative challenge posed by this piece – to make technical parts and odd meters both emotional and beautiful.
Ben Shanbrom (drums): This is another full-band composition to emerge from our rehearsals. Late into the writing process for this record, I noticed that we didn’t really have a concise, full-force track that entered with an instant impact and held constant momentum throughout. The Ungrounding answered this call. The song is organised chaos from beginning to end and marks a grave turn in the mood of the record as it reaches its menacing conclusion. The title ties into the frenetic nature of the track – it is based on Sartre’s idea that humanity is fundamentally “ungrounded” or exists without definite purpose. It is our mission – should we accept it – to wrestle with nothingness and ultimately create meaning for ourselves.
Contemplation Of The Beautiful
Frank Sacramone (keyboard): Contemplation is the culmination of all my inner struggles in life. This song represents unfairness in life, why some must go through life in incredibly painful states and others can enjoy comfort and happiness, and my quest to find an answer. This is all told through the lens of beauty. Beauty can be one of the saddest traits we see as humans; why is it fair that one human, animal, or plant is significantly more beautiful than another? And because of that, why does that person or thing end up with more attention or praise, warranted or unwarranted. I must also give respect to Eric Zirlinger who sang his heart out and captured the emotion perfectly.
A Dream In Static is out 23 October. Pre-order it from iTunes here (opens in new tab).