Hearing Aide: Consider the Source ‘World War Trio Parts II + III’

coverIf pop music is reading at an elementary level, Consider the Source’s latest release, World War Trio Part II + III, is at least a 400 level college course.

For someone only exposed to American music, the concept might be lost. That has always been the case with Consider the Source though who has always pushed global boundaries. Never before though has the band done it this masterfully and with such vision. This isn’t just food for thought, but a feast, with such lush sonic depth that can’t simply be explored in one pass. This is music that commands focus in a time when fans are more flippant than ever. You could say the band is fighting a natural progression, but I applaud the effort and what they force a willing listener to listen to. The continuity between songs is beautifully orchestrated and only possible with an overall delivery being kept in perspective from the onset.

Consider the Source continues to improve upon the layered depth the trio creates. Most bands employ a second guitarist or a keyboard player to fill in some of those aural gaps the ear senses. Consider the Source somehow rarely leaves those though, instead filling the air with enough character and integrity on both the individual level and collectively as the full body of work.

It’s difficult to break this album down like a typical review because it lends itself more to a movie score than an actual music album, weaving rhythm and melody like a story line. This certainly isn’t a movie for everyone though. Hell, it might not even be for most, but for those willing to spend the time, this album is certainly capable of hitting you places wouldn’t think music could.

Staying with the movie parallel, this is no comedy, but a serious drama. It’s the type of movie that’s meant to make you think and not entertain per say. While there are plenty of parts where the band digs into a danceable groove, the vast majority is a complex structure meant to unlock pieces of your imagination and brain that may have been untouched otherwise.

In terms of sound, the band has always had their Middle Eastern and Sci-Fi elements, and while I would say the former is true on this album, the latter has now been pushed outside of this galaxy. The Middle Eastern elements underscore all of these other directions the band is going in. You can hear heavy metal influences this time around and that’s not a bad thing as they use it tastefully for emphasis throughout. I also heard Latin rhythms and a tonal landscape that covers so many other cultures. To someone with chromesthesia, these guys are coloring with the big box of crayons. Again, it must have taken an impeccable vision to be able to weave a thread through all of this the way they do.

On the individual level, these guys are simply incredible musicians in their own right and have found a chemistry that allows them to have a musical conversation. Jeff Mann should be commended for his uncanny ability to keep these two explorers on track, while bassist John Ferrara pulls double duty holding the rhythm and providing a sturdy base for Gabriel’s melody lines. Ferrara isn’t just support though and steps out many times throughout to take the reins and lead with the low. On guitar, Gabriel’s tonal breadth is equal parts beautiful and haunting. His understanding of timbre and where and when a tone should be called upon is literally right at his fingertips with his instrument’s flexibility. For example, when he needs a xylophone, like the solo on “Up to, But Not to Exceed…Whoa,” he does and he makes that perfect call every time. The three have hit a stride on this like they’ve never hit before.

The album ends on a dream-like wave of layered tones. The beautiful blend has a very natural and earthy feel to it that slowly draws this masterpiece to a close. The play between the various instruments perfectly compliments one another and the gentleness of the track is a great counterpoint to some of the more aggressive playing that proceeds it. This is not a loose collection of songs, but a score. The tracks below were some gems, but it really deserves a full listen to understand the concept.

Key Tracks: This Dubious Honor, Up to, But Not to Exceed…Whoa, I’ll Fight for the Imp, You Are Disappearing