Dayton Ohio's Mouth of the Architect's second album, The Ties That Blind, shows a band poised to take on the world of heavy metal. But if you like your metal simple and straightforward, look elsewhere my friend. For Mouth of the Architect favor very long songs, time signature changes and loads of moody atmosphere that would please many progressive rock fans. Make no mistake, The Ties That Blind is headbanging music, but there's also a lot of headspace for solitary listening sessions with headphones.
The ten minute "Baobab" establishes the Mouth of the Architect sound: a slow, doomy introduction that would make Trouble blush, some Opeth style death growl vocals and then a somber, almost pretty second half reminiscent of Porcupine Tree. "No One Wished to Settle Here" is similarly depressive stuff, but with some nearly improvisational bits that could almost be mistaken for King Crimson circa 1973. The vocals come crashing in near the 6 minute mark before the piece becomes unexpectedly psychedelic.
Really, every track works exceedingly well, but one of the highlights for many listeners is going to be "At Arms Length", which features guest vocals from Mastodon's Brent Hinds. At seven minutes, it's the most easily digestible composition, but still has progressive tendencies.
At 66 minutes, and with just six tracks, The Ties That Blind is a bit of a marathon. But the quality of songwriting, the progressive influences and the haunting melancholy make for a compelling hour of music. Go for it.
- Baobab (10:30)
- No One Wished to Settle Here (15:36)
- Carry On (12:09)
- Harboring an Apparition (7:55)
- At Arms Length (7:04)
- Wake Me When It's Over (12:53)