The Appleseed Cast
The Appleseed Cast of 2013 are not who they were in 1998, when the Lawrence, Kansas, outfit released their debut album, The End Of The Ring Wars. Of the original lineup, only frontman Chris Crisci remains, making them a very different band today. But then, they’ve always been a different, their sound shifting over the years almost as much as their lineup, switching between (and mixing up) the heavier sounds of old-school emo with ethereal post-rock instrumentation, as well as everything in between. Illumination Ritual is their eighth proper fill-length, and one which flits between the many personalities they’ve inhabited over the years. Written over the course of three months—the lyrics over three nights—it begins with the intricate math-rock stylings of “Adriatic To Black Sea” before careening through a sweeping swathe of lengthy instrumental passages and grandiose soundscapes, most notably the gentle but rollicking polyrhythms of “Cathedral Rings” and the insistent tumult of “North Star Ordination.” But really, this is an album to be listened to all at once, a flowing stream of technically proficient, softly aching musical interplay, repeating melodies and haunting vocals. It might not be the same band as in 1998, but this graceful, elegant record is more than deserving of a place in their discography.