The Quiet Cull – This Cold, Rational World

The Quiet Cull

The four-piece ensemble known as the Quiet Cull first emerged from the musically inconspicuous and snow-ridden city of Anchorage, Alaska in 2013.  The first album, titled Allegories and Rhythm, is an effort written and recorded solely by the band’s current vocalist/guitarist Todd Farnsworth, according to the group’s official website.

That album offered upbeat, metalcore type riffs like the one featured on the track Vagabonds & Vagrants.  Two years and an EP later, Farnsworth returned to the studio with a full band to record a dark, melancholic, and often times disturbing opus that is the quartet’s newest album, This Cold, Rational World, released in November 2015.

The opening and title track to the record is a brief, yet haunting intro that begins with a string section that fades in subtly to an eerie guitar melody. The guitar and drum tracks give off a reverbish effect, which adds to the unsettling mood of the song. After a few lines of vocals the song fades out disconcertingly just like the fade in at the song’s beginning.

The somberness of the record’s first track is traded for a livelier tone with the intro of the second song titled Ataraxia. It begins with a funky, surf-rock style guitar riff. The vocals in the verse are shouted, not screamed. The pieces of this song fit together quite oddly. The parts do fit together; it’s just not easy to take in at first.  The song, in my opinion, is akin to listening to the structure and timing one would hear from a band such as System of a Down or Mastodon.

The next song begins with another unnerving melody but quickly snaps into a catchy groove reminiscent of the early ‘00s emo era. The band lists Thursday as one of its influences on the group’s ReverbNation account, and one can really hear that influence on this particular tune.  

The bass plays solo at the entrance of the song’s bridge, the guitar sneaks in down the line and some fast hi-hat work comes in and the song is carried to conclusion.

The expression “what the hell” comes to mind when listening to the fifth song on the record, The Isle. It begins with the sound of rainfall; a female voice enters in and delivers a spoken word message that is repeated verbatim by a whispering male voice. The actual music doesn’t start until the 40-second mark of the track. The female and whispering male voices return to end the piece with more spoken dialogue.

Troubled Heart, Be Still shows off four and half minutes of attitude and punk rock influence. While Monologue is the album’s only instrumental. 

The Widow is quite a gloomy song, which features a pleasant sounding female voice. She harmonizes with the lead singer before the second verse and sings the last verse beautifully on her own. Her vocals seem hold out a bit longer than the male vocals during the harmonies. Whether this timing was intended or not is impossible to tell, but either way, it sounds good.

The album closer, dubbed When You’re Going Through Hell, is a bit depressing. The tempo is slow for the majority of the song. The guitar tracks move along at a methodically gloomy pace. The mood swings to upbeat at the 4:33 mark as a slightly power pop section is delivered for the album’s outro.

The closing lyrics read, “Finding beauty in this cold and rational world, sometimes ain’t easy when you’re caught up in the downpour. So find your solace in solitude; find your strength in your fortitude, when you’re assailed by those caustic tongues and vitriol.”

This album is an interesting, entertaining, and enjoyable listen, even if it doesn’t evoke the most positive emotions.  It’s available for streaming on the group’s Bandcamp profile, and if you have an open mind, check it out. The album is also available on the site for just $7.

This is good music. What this is not is one of those albums full of easily digestible pop songs like those you hear fading in and out on the radio on a daily basis.

This music is complex.

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