Some people prefer quality over quantity… I am not one of those people. That’s not to say I like the quality to be crap, but rather that my preference is both of those two things. However, with “When the Dust Settles”, the long awaited debut EP from the Dallas hard rock band, Red Angel Theory, the quality outweighs the quantity by far.
The EP is comprised of six songs which span just a little over 23 minutes, but it is some of the best 23+ minutes of music your ears will ever hear.
Two immediate stands out to me when I listened to the record were “Inception” and “The Darkness”.
The former one begins with more of a unusual instrument to the band, as you won’t see any of them playing it live; a violin. It’s one of the most gorgeous violin pieces I have heard, though it is also quite ominous sounding, before it dies out and gives way to the rock music. I find this to be the most original sounding song of the EP, as it has the perfect build by beginning slower, ramping up at the choruses, and then slowly subsides at the tail end.
“The Darkness” is the longest offering on the EP, and goes along somewhat of the same lines as the previously mention song, with the opening guitar notes resembling that of feedback, and they set a ghostly, end of the world feel to the song, before Nick Sarabia’s drumming breathes some life into it. The softer side of Justin Ranton’s vocals are also shown on this song, at times sounding almost like an eerie whisper. Also, on the chorus, the song manages to break away from the vibe established on the verses, as it explodes out of nowhere and then tapers off just as quickly. I think the fact that they can pull such a transition off so flawlessly only displays their superb musicianship.
Another track on the EP is “Shattered”, which, like every song on the album, begins with an in your face intro and also has the most hard rock vibe of all the songs. I find this one, one of the more interesting songs on the record, as it incorporates Nick on lead vocals, who does his part in a rap style. Even more unexpected however is how well the rapping blends with Justin’s singing, as they intertwine quite well.
Something about “No Regrets” makes it come across to me like a classic rock song, just with a very updated and modern twist put on it, and I think it due time this will become a classic of the bands.
The guitars, bass and drums are obviously an essential part on every song, but on “It Often Lies”, Brandon Deaton guitar work, Nick’s beats, and Phil Sahs bass notes work in perfect harmony, with each instrument contributing an integral part to the track, as well as getting their own moment to shine.
Then you of course have the title track, “When the Dust Settles”. Justin has a vast vocal range, which can be heard throughout the album, but some of the most intense, hardcore screaming comes on this song and is supplied by Nick. “What is left?” he screams repeatedly in the final moments of the song, which is layered over Justin’s singing, “When the dust settles.” There is also a pretty stellar instrumental bridge featured on this song as well.
All the songs have a certain similarity about them that gives the entire thing a great flow, but don’t misinterpret that, as these aren’t the same song in a different packaging, much like mainstream radio is these days.
It’s truly a great record, and should stand an excellent chance at being named one of the best local releases of the year.
Until March 31st, you can pre-order the “When the Dust Settles” EP for $1 HERE.
Red Angel Theory will be performing at the Curtain Club on Saturday, March 31st. The show will serve as the launch party for Texas Music Unites and will include an staggering line-up of talent, with tickets costing only $5.