Lift Your Existence
22 July 2013
by Raziq Rauf
What is up with releasing a 74-minute debut album? On what planet does a new band have the kind of fanbase willing to dedicate well over an hour of their lives to one piece of music? It’s 2013 and people buy individual tracks; they stream one song online and then don’t even bother illegally downloading the rest of the album. What can be the thought process behind Night Verses releasing something so far above and beyond the universally accepted reasonable length of “around 40 minutes”?
Perhaps after dragging a fair amount of The Sleeping’s fanbase along with him, Doug Robinson could expect that he’d have a relatively captive and slightly more matured audience to allow him to indulge the band’s well-developed progressive post-hardcore leanings, and while Lift Your Existence leaves just six minutes of space left on a CD, it would still be inadvisable to also include half an hour of crap on it. That’s all…
However, it starts strongly with ‘Introducing: The Rot Under The Sun’, which is dynamic enough over its 5m34s to immediately show that real thought and guile has gone into the songwriting but enough familiarity to prove that they haven’t deviated too far from their 2012 EP. Robinson constantly walks the tightrope of singing on the verge of exploding emotionally into a gruff roar. His ability to temper his talents and deliver his lyrics exceptionally well is what will get people listening but the level of overall musicianship is what they’ll stay for.
‘Rage’ is a perfect case in point. It’s as angry as the title suggests but while Nick DePirro’s brilliant guitar lines punch and swirl through the music, Robinson keeps his vocals in check, expressing his lyrics with dynamic flair. There is variation in the album as well. ‘Celestial Fires’ takes the tempo down slightly after the obtuse heaviness of ‘Antidepressants’, the brooding ‘Parasomnia’ twinkles and then explodes into grand choruses before the nu metal twangs of ‘Pull Back Your Teeth’ give way to more fury. The ten-minute closing track allows the band to showcase Aric Improta’s intricate virtuoso drumming without disappearing up their own arse completely.
All but two songs are over four minutes long and there are 15 of them. Night Verses clearly have a lot to say but they say it eloquently and with real purpose. Lift Your Existence is an accomplished body of work that offers something different to a scene that frequently has fingers pointed at it for being staid and predictable. This album is genuinely worth investing 74 minutes in. While existing fans of the band and related projects do not need to be told that, this demanding album is capable of wider appeal.
Sounds like: Tool, Thrice, The Fall of Troy
Top tracks: Parasomnia, Rage, Antidepressants