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The Age of the Universe - Singularity Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 6.5
Musicianship 6.5
Lyrics 6.5
Production 6.5
Creativity 6.5
Lasting Value 6.5
Reviewer Tilt 6.5
Final Verdict: 65%
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The Age of the Universe - Singularity

Reviewed by: Craig Manning (06/08/14)
The Age of the Universe - Singularity
Record Label: Self Released
Released Date: May 15th, 2014

From the very first moments of ďAlive,Ē the opening track from The Age of the Universeís new album Singularity, itís clear that these guys arenít fucking around. The song absolutely roars out of the gate, with a potent guitar blast immediately setting up the tension of the song. The tune speeds along at the same breakneck pace, using a common time, 4/4 time signature (and an even more common drumbeat) right up until the chorus, where the drums cut into 6/8 for a syncopated rhythmic shift that immediately takes the song to another level.

The other elements at play here, while well executed, donít grab the same attention. The sludgy, dark guitar riffs are standard issue hard rock fare, while vocalist Isaac Reese takes equal cues from Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses and Matt Bellamy of Muse. Drummer Enrico Canu is undoubtedly the star of the song, though, with his frequent rhythmic changes driving an enjoyable air of progressive unpredictability into the song. Itís a factor that turns ďAliveĒ from forgettable rock lead-off into a song that demands for you to listen the rest of the album, and itís one that more bands should employ. How much greater could a lot of pop and rock music be with a dynamic drummer like Canu at their center?

Throughout, Singularity stays an engrossing listen, thanks mostly to Canuís explosive percussion, but also because the band does things musically that other bands in their hard rock vein probably wouldnít risk. What sounds like a religious chant courses through the undercurrent at the start of the unnerving ďThe Men on the Edge,Ē where Reese trades his Muse-meets-Guns N' Roses squeal for something more in common with Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plantís potent wail. The melodies are still less interesting than the sounds that surround them, with Reeseís guitar loops and Canuís drum fills forging a core combo sound that more or less pushes the vocals and lyrics into the back of the band. Bassist Alessandro DíAscoli provides the song with a grim underbelly, but heís slightly less essential to its success.

For most of its runtime, Singularity remains what it is during songs like ďAliveĒ and ďThe Men on the EdgeĒ Ė loud, grungy, dark, hard rock Ďní roll. The latter track, without the rhythmic play of the former, gets a bit repetitious and dull as it goes on, perhaps inspiring a reach toward the skip button two or three minutes in. Something similar happens when the band drops the tempo, such as on the ballad ďFar From the Sun.Ē Musically, the track is quite lovely, with a spacious, atmospheric vibe that feels downright unsettling for how it never seems to hit a melodic cadence. The problem is, when Reese isnít wailing away like a classic rock Ďní roll star, his voice is passable at best, with questionable tuning and a few vocal licks that sound downright amateurish. Itís possible that some of this is intentional: as mentioned previously, the song isnít written to be predictable from a melodic standpoint, and some of the spots where Reese sounds like heís singing the wrong notes are probably supposed to clash. His voice is just a bit too light to make such haunting mood pieces really work in the way that someone like Bellamy or Chris Cornell might.

As a result, itís the slower moments of Singularity that donít really go anywhere, while the higher tempos allow The Age of the Universe to showcase what really makes them stand out as a band. ďFallen AngelĒ hits both sides of the coin, with rather slow and dull verse sections offset by pounding guitar choruses where Reese shouts to be heard above the swell of the rest of the band. Itís the best use of his voice on record, turning it into another instrument rather than a leading melodic line, and producing a lush and powerful sound that this band absolutely should try to cultivate more often in the future. For now, weíre stuck with a record that goes back and forth between what the band does terrifically (in-your-face hard rock) with what they donít do as well (ponderous ballads or mid-tempo tracks), often in the course of a single track. The musicians are talented enough to hold it together, though, and while the album overstays its welcome a bit by crossing the 50 minute mark, itís still worth a listen for fans of everything from Thrice to Pink Floyd to Foals.


Additional InformationThe Age of the Universe IsÖ
Isaac Reese: Vocals, Guitars
Enrico Canu: Drums
Alessandro DíAscoli: Bass

Track Listing:
01. Alive
02. Believe
03. The Men on the Edge
04. Far from the Sun
05. Fallen Angel
06. Priceless
07. Singularity
08. Spanish Eyes
09. Say it Loud
10. Questions
11. Dreams of Tomorrow

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