Review by Shannon Shumaker
If you’re trying to end 2016 on high note, look no further. Megosh’s first full-length album is sure to provide listeners with a little bit of everything to keep them captivated and on the edge of their seat, from massive, theatrical tracks like the opener, “Checkerboards & Cigarettes,” to the softer and emotional “Ice Melts,” all the way to poppy “Desperada.” Within moments, Megosh will surprise and impress you, and with fourteen tracks, they just prove again and again their musical prowess, making for a perfect album to close out 2016.
As previously mentioned, Apostasy’s opening track, “Checkerboards & Cigarettes” is massive, theatrical and unpredictable. While the opening guitar riff has a very metalcore sound to it, things move forward with surprising ease, opening up to a sound similar to The Mars Volta at times. Musically, “Checkerboards & Cigarettes” is epic with jazzy bass and dark, haunting guitar, while vocally, it really soars and comes to life. There’s so much going on in the opening track, but it never feels like too much, and the same can be said about the rest of the album as a whole.
Where “Checkerboards & Cigarettes” sounds a bit more dark and haunting, the following track, “I Stole From The Dead” is a bit brighter and absolutely stunning musically. It’s also in this song and the following “Carrying Fire” that the gorgeous three-part vocal harmonies really begin to shine, and throughout the rest of Apostasy, this will prove to be a strong driving force. “Carrying Fire” really shows quite a bit of diversity as well, transitioning from a slower, more emotional acoustic sound to an explosive full band, as if you didn’t need more convincing that Megosh was capable of anything. The third track is also a perfect example of the precise care that goes into creating these songs. I urge you to just close your eyes and listen, because even the most subtle background sounds serve a purpose. The cherry on top are Garret Rapp of The Color Morale’s fitting guest vocals.
From “Carrying Fire,” the remaining ten songs on Apostasy are simply an onslaught on all of your senses. “Desperada” takes a step away from the heavier, darker sound that dominates the first three songs with a very poppy, soulful, vocally driven sound. By the time it comes to an end, you’re going to want to sing along. Toward the middle of the album, “Buffalo!” makes for a haunting, emotional interlude of sorts. By this point, Megosh’s ability to evoke emotions and immerse you in their world with simply the tone of their voices and instruments is absolutely remarkable. It’s impossible not to feel somewhat shaken by “Buffalo!,” especially in the repeated line, “Always, always we will have each other,” which would normally sound reassuring but in this case, only sounds hopeless.
A few songs later, “Ok, So This Song Is About You” and “Ask Your Mother,” contrast beautifully, going from a higher energy, fast paced sound to a mellow, back and forth vocally driven track. From there, the album just becomes more and more theatrical, but Megosh aren’t out of surprises. “These Go To Eleven” has a groovy, almost hip-hop influenced flow - it honestly just feels like the band is just showing off now. Vocally, it soars, showcasing Josh Grosscup’s dynamic range and musically, it’s complex but stunning, from the catchy guitar work and groovy bass and drums, all the way to the beautiful, subtle piano. Then comes the gorgeous, “Ice Melts,” which strips things down, but proves yet again that Megosh are capable of practically anything.
“Leg Warmers” is where things finally begin to come to an end, and on an incredibly high note. (But honestly by this point, you shouldn’t expect anything less from Megosh.) Vocally, “Leg Warmers” is one of the strongest songs on the album, which is saying a lot, considering the vocal prowess and range shown in each song leading up to it. Megosh pull out all of the stops with this track, giving listeners an upbeat, complex and catchy second to last song before the huge, guitar driven finale, “War Drums.”
Normally, with an album as diverse and massive as Apostasy, its only downside might be that it can be a bit overwhelming, but after listening to the album all the way through, the only thing I wanted to do was hit repeat and hear it all over again. Despite its complexities and many different influences, Apostasy never once feels disconnected, inconsistent or overwhelming by any means. Instead, this album flows like an epic story. Megosh have managed to blend many different influences and genres while crafting a sound that is all their own. Now I’ll just patiently wait until they announce tour dates so I can hear it in person.
Listen to "Desperada," "Leg Warmers" or "These Go To Eleven"
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