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Earthside A Dream in Static album cover
3.89 | 90 ratings | 9 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2015

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Closest I've Come (8:00)
2. Mob Mentality (feat. Lajon Witherspoon & Moscow Studio Symphony Orchestra) (9:56)
3. A Dream in Static (feat. Daniel Tompkins) (7:35)
4. Entering the Light (feat. Max ZT & Moscow Studio Symphony Orchestra) (5:27)
5. Skyline (9:28)
6. Crater (feat. Björn Strid) (6:03)
7. The Ungrounding (5:34)
8. Contemplation of the Beautiful (feat. Eric Zirlinger) (11:49)

Total Time 63:52

Line-up / Musicians

- Ben Shanbrom / Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
- Frank Sacramone / Grand Piano, Keyboards, Programming
- Ryan Griffin / Bass
- Jamie van Dyck / Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Orchestration, Backing Vocals

Guest Vocalists:

- Lajon Witherspoon (Sevendust) (1)
- Daniel Tompkins (Tesseract, ex-Skyharbor) (3)
- Bjorn Strid (Soilwork) (6)
- Eric Zirlinger (Face the King, ex-Seer) (8)

Guest Ensembles and Performers:

- The Moscow Studio Symphony Orchestra (MSSO)
- Max ZT / Hammer Dulcimer
- Henrik Gennert / Guitar Solo (7)
- JP Asplund / Percussion

Releases information

Self-released, digital, October 23, 2015

All music, vocal lines, and lyrics written by Earthside

Produced by David Castillo at Ghost Ward (Stockholm, Sweden)
Co-produced by Earthside members Frank Sacramone and Jamie van Dyck
Tracks 1, 6, and 7 mixed by Jens Bogren with Johan Örnborg at Fascination Street Studios
Tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, and 8 mixed by David Castillo at Ghost Ward
Mastered by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios

Thanks to aapatsos for the addition
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EARTHSIDE A Dream in Static ratings distribution

(90 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

EARTHSIDE A Dream in Static reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars US band EARTHSIDE is a fairly recent addition to the ranks of metal bands with a desire to explore territories with more of a progressive intent. They have been in existence in some form or another since 2012 or thereabouts, and appears to have taken the time needed to hone their craft. "A Dream in Static" is their debut album, and was self-released in October 2015.

The band describes their music as cinematic rock, and while that is an apt description on some levels, it doesn't at all indicate the width and scope of the material they produce and the depth of the landscapes they explore. The description metal needs to be applied for starters, and for those who associate cinematic with careful, unobtrusive soundtrack quality music, well, this isn't it. If one were to describe this production as one that contains an elaborate form of modern progressive metal with cinematic touches you'd probably be much closer to the greater reality here, and one might add that this is an album with something of a zeitgeist feel to it as well. It's most certainly a product of this specific period in time, a creation that couldn't have been made 5 years ago.

Massive, monumental and booming guitar riffs ebbing and flowing in intensity and pace is a key feature throughout, with room for both aggressive pounding riff attacks and quirkier, unpredictable riff constructions. Most times alternating with sequences with much more of a careful expression, ranging from frail plucked guitar and piano motifs in a dual fragile harmony to more dramatic orchestral textures, the latter with a tendency to build in intensity and transition smoothly back into one of the numerous distinctly metal-based themes explored. Classic progressive metal themes with guitars and keyboards isn't a style you'll encounter too often here though, if at all, but indie-flavored sections with a sound not too unlike Radiohead (if they played metal) is one feature here, and on the other end of the metal scale we find massive. dark and subtly djent-tinged riffs as a bombastic presence.

The use of orchestral details does add a few additional aspects to this production, both when used in the gentler passages as well as when deployed as supplemental features for the various riff-dominated metal runs, much the same can be said about the m ore careful piano, guitar and electronic details liberally used to flavor the soundscapes. An additional details that is a strong identity mark here is the use of nervous, intense light toned guitar textures, adding a distinct touch of post rock to the proceedings. That many of the compositions at the core is built around an ebb and flow movement rather similar to one of the more common approaches by post rock bands adds a certain emphasis to that aspect of the sound and style explored by Earthside, so that post metal may arguably be a better indication to what this band is all about, even if their take on that style isn't all that similar to what most bands described as post metal sounds like, at least from my personal and admittedly limited experience in such matters.

"A Dream in Static" comes across as an excellently made album, where the compositions are well thought out, the recordings mixed and produced to a high level of excellency, and all the compositions sports a massive amount of detailed arrangements it will take a few listens to get accustomed to. It's also a rather challenging production due to this, at least if you are the kind of listener that prefer to listen to your music with full concentration. My impression is that this is an album that demands that approach too, to get a grip on everything that is going on and ongoing here. A quality CD of contemporary progressive metal, flavored with cinematic effects and defined post rock details, and one worth checking out if you think you'll enjoy a fairly challenging but well made album's worth of that kind of music.

Review by Second Life Syndrome
5 stars *Originally written for*

If you follow The Prog Mind on Facebook, you've seen me posting about Earthside for quite some time now. I honestly wasn't sure if I'd ever see the day when their debut album would finally release, but here we are! 'A Dream in Static' releases on October 23, 2015. I'm not sure that anyone realizes how much this album really means to me. You see, I've been following this group of musicians for a long time now, since probably 2008 or so. I've been there through all their side projects and name changes and EPs: Hell, the band used to send me individual tracks via email simply because I loved their music so much. So, even though I'm not sure if the guys remember me or not, I was that enthralled nerdy guy that somehow discovered their music by sheer chance and simply couldn't get enough. So, in a nutshell, getting to hear the finished product is something of an event for me. It's a big deal!

Fast forward to 2015, and Earthside look to be taking the music world by storm. I didn't say 'progressive music world' because these guys are popping up everywhere, even on Yahoo Music. It does my heart good to see these guys getting much-deserved praise and incredible reviews. But, at some point, the music needs to speak for itself. With all my expectations and all the hype surrounding the release of 'A Dream in Static', does the music really capture my imagination? Yes, absolutely.

The 'guys' I keep mentioning are Jamie van Dyck (guitars), Frank Sacramone (keyboards), Ben Shanbrom (drums), and Ryan Griffin (bass). These guys are top-notch musicians in ways that I didn't even realize myself. After fine-tuning their sound, they have crafted a band that transcends genres, from progressive metal to symphonic metal to heavy prog to alternative rock. Earthside is poised perfectly at the crossroads of various styles, and manages to master them all. Jamie blesses us with his guitar expertise, using everything from heavy riffs to shoegaze to something akin to djent. Frank's signature is all over the album, as his style of keyboards is very recognizable for me. Sometimes he drives a song, other times he is the contrast to the odd signatures and heaviness, and other times he can be found matching Jamie note for note in depth and speed. Ben and Ryan give us what is probably the best rhythm section of the year, though they are far more than that. Ryan's bass is intense and pulsating, and Ben's, oh my goodness, Ben's drums are the best I've heard this year. Tasteful, immense, and kinetic, Ben's style is simply an adrenaline rush (see the end of 'The Closest I've Come') that makes sense but also challenges my mind.

Let's talk about the album itself. You can tell through all my flattery here that I really have high regard for their abilities. I was shocked, however, by the quality of the actual songwriting. 'A Dream in Static' is an eight track album of the highest standard, each song being its own masterpiece. Songs are written with clarity and inspiration in a way that I haven't heard much this year. Even though the song structures are incredibly complex and even though the technical level is a 10, each track stills sounds cohesive and purposeful. 'A Dream in Static' is an album of satisfying textures, dynamic contrasts, surreal space, and invoked colors. In other words, it's art of the highest order.

You may have noticed the absence of a vocalist in their line-up. Earthside utilizes the voices of several well-known vocalists, including Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust, Bjorn Strid of Soilwork, Daniel Tompkins of TesseracT, and Eric Zirlinger of Face the King. So, think an instrumental album that more or less alternates between instrumental tracks and songs with vocals. This is an awesome balance, as you never feel like you've gotten totally lost, not to mention the fact that each track feels unique. You will definitely not have trouble hearing where each track starts and ends. Each track is like an event in and of itself.

Emerging from the ascending, climactic nature of the 'The Closest I've Come', the album moves into 'Mob Mentality', a song led with fervor and power by Lajon. This track is classy, catchy, and simply elegant, especially with the massive strings courtesy of the Moscow Studio Symphony Orchestra. It's a breathtaking song that rides the edges of alternative rock and progressive metal, but it leads into the title track which is just as stunning, though in different ways. Melodic, emotional, and brilliant, 'A Dream in Static' is sung by Daniel Tompkins, featuring a huge chorus. Next is an instrumental track called 'Entering the Light', presented to us with a dulcimer leading the charge. Yet, it reflects the softer, more fragile side of the band, and I certainly hear some familiar melodies in there, being an old fan.

The second half of the album is incredibly successful. Beginning with the crazy metal instrumental 'Skyline', the album moves into 'Crater', sung by Bjorn. Soaring the heights of the guitar range, the track shows us Bjorn's melodic side and his incredible range, too. His performance is literally flawless. The album ends with an instrumental called 'The Ungrounding' and the longest track 'Contemplation of the Beautiful'. The former is a balls to the walls tech fest that is simply divine, while the latter features Eric on vocals and what I grasp as a darker, mental type of approach. It really is pensive, almost in a maniacal sort of way.

From that track rundown, know that each song sounds completely different. This isn't an album of 10 ways to create the same riff or some such nonsense. No, Earthside writes music that just feels right in my gut. They charge forward in a way that makes me trust them with the destination. In fact, their music is the type that makes me drop my reviewer ears so that I can just sit back and enjoy the show. Yes, they have managed to create a style that makes you feel something, even in the midst of the technical fireworks. The artwork for the album shows this, too, as I can't look at it without a swirl of thoughts and emotions hitting me.

What has this band achieved, then? I mentioned earlier that they transcend genres, which is true. However, I personally see Earthside as a new sort of progressive band. No, they don't take primary inspiration from the classic prog sound (thank goodness), and, even though they get compared to Haken sometimes, they were around before them. Indeed, with the choices in vocalists, this album appeals to the nostalgic side of me, remembering the music I listened to in high school. The more underground sorts of modern or alternative rock that I loved back then (including Sevendust) always had something that held them back. In Earthside, the forward thinking and ambitious voice of alternative rock/post- grunge has finally been unleashed, complete with orchestras, progressive structures, and mind-blowing moments. Intact, however, are the raw emotion, the personality, and the accessibility. All of this is a difficult balance that Earthside pulls off somehow. Don't ask me how.

'A Dream in Static' is an album for everybody. Cinematic in scope, personal in its quiet moments, and simply beautiful and monolithic in tone, this is an album that will be remembered for a long time. High quality production values, an amazing mix, and surreal art are all added bonuses. These guys have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into this ominous album, as evidenced by their inspired writing and stunning performances. It has been their life for several years now. This album truly is a special part of them being put on display, and their dedication is obvious. And I appreciate every second of it. Earthside, from a long time fan, you have truly made me proud.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'A Dream in Static' - Earthside (63/100)

I can't help but feel the slightest bit suspicious when a band suddenly explodes the way Eathside has over the course of this past year. There was nary a mention of these guys before they usurped the prog metal dialogue last October with their debut. Now, just a few months later, they're acting as direct support for the genre's present frontrunners on the upcoming North American Leprous tour. What's more; A Dream in Static comes with the kind of massive budget and big-name guest spots you might normally expect from a more established act. With this manner of apparent step-skipping, I almost get the impression that Earthside only saved themselves the years-long struggle working up the ladder because their wallet was big enough to accommodate their ambitions.

Then again, before I heard Earthside's name on the upcoming tour announcement, I heard of them from friends who got up in arms over A Dream in Static as soon as it was released. Much the same way the progressive metal network went ape over Leprous' own Tall Poppy Syndrome several years ago, it didn't take long for A Dream in Static to latch onto its target audience. Most importantly, even if their sudden success is conspicuous, Earthside have the raw talent and skill to back it up. Progressive metal isn't an easy shell to crack as a musician, and their tight execution says more about their experience together than whatever dollar signs they had backing them up.

I could take a positive or negative stance toward Earthside, and I think I'd have sufficiently enough to say in either scenario. My real opinion probably lies somewhere in the middle. Earthside may have a lot of great things going for them. but for all their firepower and heft, A Dream in Static leaves me feeling somewhat dry. No one can doubt their determination when it came to making the album as polished as they could make it, but it also sounds like Earthside took every possible cliche of modern progressive metal under consideration when it came to writing the album. Djenty rhythm sections? Soaring melodic vocals? Bombastic arrangements and misguided symphonic pomp? Check, check, check, check. There are times on A Dream in Static when I feel like I'm listening to a modern metal laundry list manifest as sound. For a genre that's proverbially meant to be constantly pushing the limits forward, it's not a great sign that they constantly see fit to remind me of bands that preceded them.

So much of Earthside's craft feels deadset on impressing the listener as much as they can for as long as possible. While there's nothing wrong about a band pushing themselves to their limits, there's something immediately disingenuous about hearing a mix crowded with djenty chugs and a full-blown live studio orchestra. The use of the Moscow Festival Orchestra on "Mob Mentality" and "Entering the Light" has its moments (particularly on the more atmospheric latter track) but I never once feel like the symphony was employed as more than a display of some vague musical ambitions.

It's kind of ironic that Earthside actually make their best strides when they streamline themselves a bit. While they're clearly skilled as composers, their ambitions outstretch their reach with the most involved pieces. To contrast, they make great strides when they tighten in the reins. "Entering the Light" is a fantastic exotic instrumental that basks in the spaces between notes that may had otherwise been filled with sound on other tracks. Earthside offer up their best songs for the likes of their guest vocalists. Daniel Tompkins (TesseracT) and Björn Strid (Soilwork) each cover some fantastic range on "A Dream in Static" and "Crater" respectively. Tompkins' soaring chorus work towards the end of his spot is easily the most spine-chilling moment of the album for me. Earthside's own vocals are very solid as well, following the similarly melodic form of their guests. They've got a surprising skill with working melody into their work; I only wish more of the album had reeled in on that strength.

This is a mixed bag kind of impression, really. Earthside see fit to exemplify the polished place where modern progressive metal has settled. They've got plenty of skill, but aren't quite clear on how to wring the best out of their potential. They're clearly ambitious, though I it would be more accurate to wrap ironic quotations around that word; they are ambitious, sure, but they're not grasping at heights any higher than their peers. When all is said, I know Earthside have the best possible intentions at heart, but their apparent urge to amaze the prog community limits their potential to emote and connect on a more human level. This isn't a problem faced by Earthside alone, but modern prog as a whole. It's to their credit that they do what they do slightly better than many of the other bands to come out recently.

Review by Rivertree
4 stars This yet is another thrilling prog metal debut which I lately came across by chance. Responsible for that stuff is a relatively new band hailing from Connecticut's New Haven, featuring 'a group of composers who are passionate about their craft' (bandcamp introduction). Well said! Holy [&*!#]! Again it took some attempts, but now I'm willing to confess, that these chaps know how to make it big! As the vocals seemingly are not their metier, they have invited some singers, who are deriving from diverse well-known prog and heavy alternative bands. Apart from that this still is an album though which sets the focus on the instrumental as well as compositional skills.

Certainly accurate to say that 'A Dream In Static' marks an impressive statement, which regularly leads into crashing guitars all over, as well as punchy bass and powerful drums occuring. The keyboards superficially often seem to lose the game regarding this showdown. Maybe it's a matter of a special consciousness, but after some time of devotion and patience gradually other aspects are coming to the fore. And, by way of variation, there are also moments given which are mirroring a more calm and relaxed atmosphere, for example to name the beautiful Entering The Light with its marching drive here.

So in the end, either way, there is a highly technical approach given by this band. On the other hand though I find this very accessible, while surely melodic, cinematic, in parts even symphonic. A fascinating case in its entirety somehow. The title song is exemplary for that. Daniel Tompkins of TesseracT fame aboard here, headphones required at the latest! And please add The Closest I've Come to your track list too. This album is addressed to prog metal fans above all, but not solely. 'A Dream In Static' is an excellent addition to a well sorted prog collection. Wondering what will follow next ...

Latest members reviews

4 stars 4.5 stars. What a statement of a debut album! This is a confident young band with no limit on their potential. I encountered this group live before hearing the album, and they blew my expectations away. First off, we don't get a lot of great concerts here in Ottawa, As groups tend to play Quebec Cit ... (read more)

Report this review (#1699783) | Posted by Corcoranw687 | Thursday, March 9, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I've been trying to find new music this year, and so far I've found surprisingly lot good stuff, this certainly belongs to that category, whilst not being my thing per se. Earthside's debut is a form of cinematic modern progressive metal, whose closest rival I'd say is the French Hypno5e. The ... (read more)

Report this review (#1579884) | Posted by RuntimeError | Saturday, June 18, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Highly recommended masterwork of modern progressive metal, with touches of classic prog, post-rock and electronica. The production is immaculate, fully absorbing and deeply satisfying. The centerpiece here is "Mob Mentality" (#2), which amounts to one of the most impressive combinations of orches ... (read more)

Report this review (#1553615) | Posted by uribreitman | Wednesday, April 20, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Cinematic metal? Yes please! A.k.a. what happens when you take four hungry metallists freshly graduated from music college, ready to rumble and tear up the progscene by taking some first-class metal riffs, combined with tasty orchestral arrangements being wildly orchestral enough to remind you o ... (read more)

Report this review (#1540327) | Posted by Porcupineapple | Wednesday, March 16, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I was drawn to this when I saw a Moscow(?) Studio Symphonic Orchestra listed in the credits. As is the case with how prog stuff from my country reaches Western audiences I am oblivious how this came to be, but the idea of an American band using an apparently Russian orchestra in the current geo ... (read more)

Report this review (#1521296) | Posted by Progrussia | Wednesday, January 27, 2016 | Review Permanlink

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