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American Draft - The Rescue CD (album) cover

THE RESCUE

American Draft

 

Heavy Prog

4.00 | 1 ratings

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TCat
4 stars The Heavy Prog band known as 'American Draft' has been around since 1999, and after 20 years together, you might expect there to be a lot of music out there as a result of their time together recording and touring. However, 'The Rescue', released in 2019, 20 years after their formation, is only their 3rd full studio album release. The band line-up consists of the original quartet of Mike Baldwin (guitar), Sean Shipley (guitar), Jeff Wojtysiak (bass) and Matt Precin (drums). The band typically plays all instrumental music, but on this album, the almost 18 minute title track features vocals from guest Sacha Mullin. Overall, the album consists of 5 tracks and has a run time of 37 minutes.

The music has a lot of chunky guitar power, the sound being heavy and hard with some tricky, rhythmic changes as in 'Running Scared'. This track is mostly built off of a riff that, while on the surface might seem a bit repetitive, is actually quite omplex. Just try to follow the meter as it goes along and you'll see what I mean. The music reminds me a lot of the heaviness of 'Oceansize', appealing, hard hitting prog. Where this first track moves along at a good clip, 'Solace of Light' slows things up taking on a more plodding rhythm with grungy, or maybe even sludgy style, but with a soaring and ear- catching guitar lead pulling it along it's almost 7 minute duration.

A slow moving and atmospheric 'Blades' splits up the heaviness with a short, atmospheric drone with sustained guitar effects, on that puts the listener in a more laid-back state. 'Blood Meridian' keeps the atmosphere on the softer side at first, meandering along almost like a soft post-rock style, but suddenly blasting to life about half way through by adding a moderate tempo and heavy bass, but melodic guitar lines, again sounding like 'Oceansize'.

The last track is the long title track 'The Rescue' which takes up the second half of the album. It starts off in a slow developmental phase, taking around 3 minutes to finally stop meandering along before the band kicks in and starts taking the music in a more progressive style, with some nice mood shifts and riffs, returning to the developmental theme and now adding a lot more life to it by improvising with guitar riffs and what not to bring about even more of a build up. After 7 minutes, the music quiets down, some synths join in making for a flowing texture and creating something sounding more epic. There is a really cool build up of tension as the synths push up the volume, then there is a sudden interruption at 10 minutes as wandering guitars calm things down before a sudden explosion of the full band bring us back to the driving heavy prog sound. It's not until after 12 minutes that we hear the airy vocals of guest Sacha Mullin, his voice soft and quiet at first, but split up into some great harmonics later. The vocals don't last very long before the drums come crashing along frantically bringing the level of heaviness back again, and creating a very powerful wind up for a solid climactic ending.

This album is very good and really packs a nice progressive punch with plenty of guitar layers, but still takes time to experiment around and make for some variance in the overall heavy style of the album. Again, I find the music close to what you would hear from the excellent band 'Oceansize', and that fact makes me like this album. All of the tracks are great with not much filler at all, but even with that, it is hard to surpass the powerful ending. It will leave you wanting more. The biggest drawback here is the album's length being a little too short, but that shouldn't keep you from hearing this impressive album. You can tell this band has been working together for a while, but it keeps me wondering why there isn't more recorded material out there from this band.

TCat | 4/5 |

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