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Earthside Let the Truth Speak album cover
4.36 | 74 ratings | 5 reviews | 39% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 2023

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. But What If We're Wrong? (4:30)
2. We Who Lament (8:44)
3. Tyranny (8:39)
4. Pattern of Rebirth (4:40)
5. Watching the Earth Sink (11:46)
6. The Lesser Evil (10:59)
7. Denial's Aria (5:26)
8. Vespers (2:41)
9. Let the Truth Speak (10:47)
10. All We Knew and Ever Loved (9:19)

Total Time 77:31

Line-up / Musicians

- Jamie van Dyck / guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
- Frank Sacramone / keyboards, backing vocals
- Ryan Griffin / bass
- Ben Shanbrom / drum, backing vocals

- Sandbox / percussion (1)
- Keturah / vocals (2,7)
- Pritam Adhikary / lead vocals (3)
- AJ Channer / lead vocals (4)
- Larry Braggs / lead vocals (6)
- Sam Gendel / tenor saxophone (6)
- VikKe / vocals (7,8)
- Duo Scorpio / harp (7)
- Gennady Tkachenko-Papizh / vocals (8,9)
- Daniel Tompkins / lead vocals (9)
- Baard Kolstad / drums (10)

Releases information

Label: Mascot Label Group/Music Theories Recordings
Format: CD, Digital
November 17, 2023

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EARTHSIDE Let the Truth Speak ratings distribution

(74 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(39%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

EARTHSIDE Let the Truth Speak reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Second Life Syndrome
5 stars Originally written for


The bond you can form with a band is nigh unto sacred sometimes. I've been following Earthside since before they possessed that name, since they were just high schoolers emerging from their proverbial cocoons. And, oh, how proud I feel when I see the heights to which they can fly! Their new album, Let The Truth Speak, is an evocative witness to their collective mastery of both composition and emotion. It releases on November 17th.

Earthside has kept us waiting for their sophomore album for eight long years now, but believe me when I say that it is worth every second. Their 2015 debut A Dream in Static is a brilliant celebration of art and music theory, of composing with various themes and dynamics in play. This album, however, is different, and on a completely different level. The band lineup consists of Jamie Van Dyck on guitars, backing vocals, programming, and additional keys; Ben Shanbrom on drums and backing vocals; Frank Sacramone on keys, synth, programming, percussion, and additional guitars; and Ryan Griffin on bass on backing vocals. They bring with them a small army of vocalists and musicians that I'll mention in time.

This is the same band, but a different side, an alternative perspective, from their debut. While that album was cinematic and progressive and technical, Let The Truth Speak is a haunting, atmospheric, and illustrious tapestry that is united by theme, by cinema, by visions, and by emotion. It is more singular in its thematic outreach, yet its musical expression is more diverse than the debut, and it represents the band accepting themselves for who they are on a deep level.

This is a progressive metal album, yes, but it is so much more. It is towering, almost keeping me on my literal tiptoes with its highwire melodies. It is mixed impeccably well, and so you will hear every riff, every orchestration, every groove, and every sweeping motion in crystal clarity. This album is perfectly comfortable in the warm ambience, but just as comfortable with a crushing riff, a soaring piece of cinema, or a textured abstraction. It is a voyage through a deluge of sensations, a sepulcher of light, a dream of inner places.

I will readily admit that this album makes me cry from start to finish. There are two reasons for this. First, the immensity of what these artists, these friends, have created is simultaneously a massive weight on my chest, and a freeing spirit for my mind. It makes me so happy and uplifted to hear what they have become.

Second, the themes of the album are perhaps quite potent for me. If you have read the book I published earlier this year, The Tumult of My Heart, you will know that the last 5-10 years of my life have been a search for something more, something truer. And here this album comes along to validate that sense in me, the feeling that the truth should speak for itself. There are moments on this album that feel like I could have written them. The sincerity of the lyrics speaks to my heart; the encouragement to abandon fear and to stand in confidence hits me directly in the chest. And the music is tailored specifically to enhance and develop those themes into something transcendent, transformative, and tantamount.

And that is exactly what Let The Truth Speak feels like: a tumult. It has ten tracks, and they are all glorious. The opener "But What If We're Wrong" features Sandbox Percussion, and it is almost shy or teasing in how it plays with us, but before long a wave of riffs and orchestrations sweep in to see us off on our journey. "We Who Lament" follows, featuring singer Keturah, and the towering might of the emotions on this piece never fails to grab me by the throat; I love the riveting drumming, the explosive vocals, and the ethereal emotions. Next comes "Tyranny" with Pritam Adhikary of the band Aarlon, and this song has more grit and more edge; still we get the expansive riffs and the feelings of vastness and openness, and the strings play a big role.

Two of my favorites come next. First is "Pattern of Rebirth" with A.J. Channer of Fire from the Gods on vocals, and it is one of my favorite songs of the year. This piece revels in the band's nu-metal influences, and it grooves and riffs with utter majesty; however, the lyrics?written by A.J.?really speak to me and I find myself singing this one constantly. An instrumental piece "Watch The Earth Sink" comes next, and I'm sitting here right now ruminating over how amazing it is. This track is rather reserved at first, even ambient, as the band deftly and lightly plays their instruments. But soon a massive wall of riffs blows into the scene, and then a stuttering guitar lick and sinister orchestration blasts us off to another planet. Jamie kills it on a huge solo, and the song just keeps mustering more and more courage as it plays for twelve minutes total. What a ride!

And the band is just getting started. "The Lesser Evil" with Larry Braggs and Sam Gendel is one of the craziest songs I've heard this year; it is heavy and theatrical and even a little maniacal at points, and this is all augmented by a brass section that slices through the metal in arresting fashion. It is unique and amazing. "Denial's Aria" with Keturah, VikKe, and Duo Scorpio follows, and could be called the ballad of the album. It is all about atmosphere and harmony, and I think it has one of the best choruses on the album, if you could call it that. I love its burning character. "Vespers" with Gennady Tkachenko-Papizh and VikKe is the next song, and this one is like an interlude that borrows the personality of the previous track, but takes it into a darker territory full of whispers and faraway cries. I love it.

The last two tracks are massive. The title track features Daniel Tompkins of TesseracT and Gennady Tkachenko- Papizh, and it is one of the more complicated pieces, vocally-speaking. The orchestrations are exciting and visionary and acrobatic here, and Daniel's fantastic voice and gritty screams are such an evocative and beautiful way to end the vocal portion of the album. It is truly a exotic and layered piece.

The closer, "All We Knew and Ever Loved", featuring Baard Kolstad of Leprous, released two years ago, and I hope you've heard it. This piece is a mountain of cinema and transformation. It elicits so many feelings and haunted visions of other places that are somehow also nostalgic and familiar, yet perhaps becoming alien to us? It is gorgeous, from the depths of its ambient portions to the heights of its organ-driven climaxes, and it is a work of wonder.

Earthside have bested their debut, not just by writing better songs, but by offering us a loving, confident hand. This album will lift you to the skies, and bury you in the dirt; it will force you to face those inner demons, but it will carry you away to better places. It is a work of skill and mastery, of many years of blood, sweat, and tears as the band honed and finetuned every second. This is surely the album that will leave its mark on 2023.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A group of veteran thirty-somethings hailing from New Haven, Connecticut, who astonish and delight as they "think outside the box" of conventional sound and music making. One of the secrets to the success of these musicians (aside from their tremendous skills) is in their refreshingly imaginative song constructs. Another secret is their collaborations with premier musicians (especially vocalists) from across the globe. (Who knew that a simple "want ad" on Facebook could generate so many offers and suggestions--from artists all over the planet?!)

1. "But What If We're Wrong?" (4:30) what is basically a two-chord song is transformed as if by magic by the ingenious layering of very active instruments above and around the core. It's as if the band turned something one dimensional and linear into something four-dimensional and subatomic! Awesome! (9.25/10)

2. "We Who Lament" (8:44) presenting one of those rare vocalists from the Layne Stayley, Ian Kenny, Einar Solberg class: a female vocalist named Keturah (Allyson), who is from Malawi. Here Earthside present one powerful, impactful, and refreshing song. It is a rare thing to behold to find a song that is driven so completely by the drum kit--and in a creative, melodic, and intrepidly multi-dimensional way that I am even more astounded as I listen to it each and every time! The section between 5:10 (or even 4:30) and the song's end is one of the most dynamic, creative, virtuosic sections of progressive rock music that I've ever heard! Ever! The band seems to create something that flits in and out of three, four, and, at times, five dimensions! And I absolutely love the choral shouts in the background over the awesome djent music of the final 90 seconds! Pure prog perfection! Easily the best drum performance that I've heard of all year. (Mega Kudos, Ben Shanbrom!) And bassist Ryan Griffin's djenty bottom-dwelling salvos stick with Ben all the way. Amazing synchornization! And Keturah's vocal performance is definitely one of the best on the album (and this is an album of phenomenal guest vocal performances). (20/20)

3. "Tyranny" (8:39) I love djent! the way those bass chords hit me in the chest! This song presents a little more of the piano-djent heard from France's KLONE and even Denmark's VOLA. Despite an opening motif that is perhaps a bit too drawn out, this song has excellent flow, development, shifts and (in the second half) melodic themes with impassioned play and vocals--a refreshing and nearly flawless song that gives so much more with each and every listening. I don't like the fact that it's not until the fourth minute that we, the listener, get to hear the true power and talent of freelance vocalist Pritam ("Pritzz") Adhikary. As a ballad singer, he's good, but as an enraged metallurgist, he is one of the best I've ever heard. Again the way this band mysteriously creates such engaging melodies with such a "big" and multi-dimensional sound is astonishing. There is a big shift, stylistically, at 4:40, into a gorgeously spacious, intensely atmospheric (almost Dream Pop) soundscape of guitar and bass arpeggi accompanied by Pritam's airy, floating, upper register vocalise. But then at 5:58 Pritam and the band break back into the heavy palette of the prog metallists while, somehow, retaining the conveyance of absolutely heart-wrenchingly gorgeous melodies. Miraculous! (As is Pritam's sincerely heart-felt performance in those final minutes.) Not even KARNIVOOL, VOTUM, or THE CONTORTIONIST have ever done it so fully, so perfectly, so effectively! One of the best progressive metal songs I've heard since this year's Ok Goodnight and Nw Obliviscaris albums hit my ears. (19.75/20)

4. "Pattern of Rebirth" (4:40) a more standard Prog Metal vehicle for vocalist AJ Channer (FIRE FROM THE GODS, Austin, TX). The keyboard parts are my favorite--reminding me of one of my all-time favorite Prog Metal tunes from Portland's THE MERCURY TREE, "Deep Five." I love the rap in the final 90 seconds with other voices woven over the three-range djent chords. (8.875/10)

5. "Watching the Earth Sink" (11:46) opening with some solo electric guitar play, classical guitar style like MAUDLIN OF THE WELL do. Guitarist Jamie van Dyck, one can tell, has had some serious classical guitar training (and commitment). In the third minute bass, rim play, and a second guitar track are added before Ben Shanbrom offers his toms. Tensions rise as the weave builds in the second half of the fourth minute, but then at 4:15, Ben's drums hit third gear and the rest of the band follows suite. In the sixth minute Ben's kick drum turns insistent metronome, leading the band into some awesome NEIGE/ALCEST-like walls of Shoegaze-metal with Ryan Griffin's awesome djent chord bass play right there with him. These guys are so tight! Jamie steps in with his screaming lead guitar to take us even higher before things calm down for a bit in the seventh minute while Ben and Jamie seem to "talk" to one another through their instruments. At 8:15, then, comes the real calm before the storm as Frank Sacramone's slow-playing descending Fender Rhodes arpeggi provide a wonderfully eerie pause while we wait for the ultimate dénouement (we all know it's coming)--which arrives slowly in the tenth minute, ushered in by Ben's driving tom and roto-tom play, while Jamie's guitar chords start to scream with increasing urgency. Some distant background vocals, big bass chords and low end fillers join in as chaos ensues. No lyrics or guest singer here. Just pure instrumental heaven (though not quite as creative or multi-dimensional as the opening three songs). Still, an awesome song. (22.25/25)

6. "The Lesser Evil" (10:59) vocalist Larry Bragg (TOWER OF POWER) leads this one over some excellent, layered keyboard work. Though not as Soul/R&B as one could expect with Larry's pedigree, there is definitely a completely different side of Earthside on display for the first 3:20 of this. Horn blasts and very deep chunky bass enter and (bass) take over as Larry's vocal definitely gets more R&B-familiar (not unlike a cross between Jeffery Osborne and Phillip Bailey). Incredible vocal performance. Hard to believe this is happening on a prog metal album! Amazing saxophone solo/work (and vocal) in the ninth minute! Mega kudos to these artists for not only taking a chance on this odd chemistry but for making it work! And work it does! This is one heck of a song (and Larry Bragg is one heck of a singer!) (18.75/20)

7. "Denial's Aria" (5:26) Welcome ViKKe (and, in a supproting role, Keturah) as well as harpist Dua Scorpio. With harp, keys, deep bass thrums, and infinity guitar notes, the vocalists here wow and entertain with an incredibly innovative and creative weave of theatrical storytelling. Not really a full metal song, but incredibly powerful in its entirely unique and laudatory creative delivery. Heavy and emotion-packed. Who knew Soul/R&B could mix with metal? (9.5/10)

8. "Vespers" (2:41) more excellent keyboard work painting a lush, dreamy, even jungle-like soundscape within which several voices and vocalists (including ViKKe and Russian nature-singer sensation, Gennady Tkachenko-Papizh). I love this song! (5/5)

9. "Let the Truth Speak" (10:47) Daniel Tompkins (TESSERACT, SKYHARBOR) takes the lead vocals this time with Gennady Tkachenko-Papizh playing a supporting role within this very thick walls-of-djenty KARNIVOOL-like sound. Very impressive vocal performances but the music is surprisingly "straightforward" for a djent-metal song--sounding a lot like some of LEPROUS's dirtiest songs (like "Slave" or "Coal")--no dancing string-theory multi-verse circles around the quantum core. (17.5/20)

10. "All We Knew and Ever Loved" (9:19) a cinematic prog homage to bands like GOBLIN and MIKE OLDFIELD that employs the value-added services of long-time LEPROUS drummer, Baard Kolstad. (In the video of the recording of this session, the two are seen split-screen duelling, synching, and weaving within and around one another in really entertaining ways.) Frank's heavy church organ is awesome throughout but truly essential to that magnificent crescendo at the end. (18/20)

Total Time 77:31

One of the most creative, progressive rock albums I've heard in a long time. The engineering feats achieved here alone constitute no small miracle of sound production: music that many times feels as if it goes beyond three dimensions, taking the listener beyond the confines of space and time.

A/five stars; a total masterpiece of progressive rock music in the truest sense of that which is "progressive." Definitely an album that belongs in every "prog lover's" music collection. For metal heads I should think those first three songs alone would make the price of admission worth it. All hail to these torchbearers of the progressive spirit of "progressive" rock music!

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
4 stars I find that oftentimes metal music is usually just framed as something that is only just gritty and hard as nails, and while in most cases that is certainly true, I find that metal can certainly share moments of beauty and tranquility, oftentimes in ways many might not see coming. I mean, certainly just this year we've had a couple of metal releases that, while still heavy, contain a spark of sheer grace for me that I come back to, craving for more. Woe Unto Me gave a more doom metal answer to my cravings of splendiferous music, and Ne Obliviscaris followed that up with a graciously amazing symphonic prog metal record. However, while those masterpieces of music certainly do deliver such a vibrant metal landscape, neither of which made me wish to see a more delicate outlook on the landscape as much as Earthside's latest release has.

Earthside is a relatively new group in the prog metal scene, being formed in 2014 in the New England region of the US. Despite their newer status, and very limited release pool, they have certainly made a name for themselves as a top dog in the newer sphere of prog metal, alongside Haken, Others By No One, and Caligula's Horse. What sets them apart from their colleagues is their metal in particular having a lot more of an introspective edge that can be similar to that of post rock groups like The Evpatoria Report, or We Lost The Sea. Whilst their first release, A Dream in Static, certainly featured their more lush heavy metal sound, their sophomore record of Let The Truth Speak expands on their post rock influences even more, whilst also showcasing an interesting way of bending certain genres to their whim.

If there is one descriptor I would say this album is in most of its facets, I would say pastoral. Now, you might be asking, why that word? Most of the times when you describe something as pastoral in a prog context, you'd mostly look at stuff in relation to the more folksy scene of groups like Strawbs or Gryphon. Well, I believe with how things are played about on this album, the term pastoral just fits right on home. The waves of beautiful symphonics mixed with an uplifting sense of self fits almost perfectly with the more country side outlooks many bands from the 60s and 70s looked towards for musical ideals, though to a certainly modern degree. Everything within the album's seams feel so warm, cozy, and tranquil in a weird but uplifting way, even in the more heavy moments this record shows often. I know, it is quite odd to call a heavy metal album 'cozy', but the music has a particular warmth to me that I never knew I craved in a record, almost as if it is a hug in musical form.

As for the sound itself in a more direct musical opinion, this is easily one of the best metal releases this year. Jamie Van Dyck's guitar soars in ways that makes it feel so otherworldly, with Ben Shanbrom's drums leading the pack with lines that have an intensity of a raging bull, but the comfort and loving embrace that of a mother. Frank Sacramone and Ryan Griffin also provide excellence here, with both allowing the textures to flourish that makes their efforts all the more commendable. Still, I believe the main focus is certainly the guest musicians that are on most of the tracks. Almost every track features at least one or two guest stars, usually with helping hands on vocals, orchestration, or sometimes to provide more instrumentation to the playing. However, this isn't like, say, Humanz by Gorillaz, where the guest stars are practically the musicians with the band being a mere backup. No, in fact this feels more like a communal effort, with both band and guests working together as one unit in these songs, at least how I see it. Look at The Lesser Evil for example, featuring Larry Braggs of soul groups Temptations & Tower of Power, as well as experimental jazzist Sam Gendel of Clown Core. Whilst certainly both play a large role in the sound of the song, I never felt both overpowered one another, or even overpowered Earthside in their efforts. In fact, it feels more like they bounce off each other with a highly enjoyable mix of things. Earthside obviously provide the more heavy metal sound, almost in a djent type of way, with Sam Gendel providing an amazing funky jazz that breathes a magical life in the mix, and Larry Braggs providing a soul / funk vocal setting, making this interesting fusion not only sound more pure, but filled with heart. Your attention is never on one particular thing here, only on the music, and as such these collaborations certainly feel just that, collaborations, work between musician and musician in order to make the art better than ever. Larry, Sam, and everyone else here aren't just featured on an Earthside record, they practically ARE members of Earthside here, and I think that is just beautiful.

Speaking of mixes of genres, I do not think I have ever heard a metal album so eclectic, aside from the Omnerod record I reviewed last week. I mean I already talked about the jazz funk mix of The Lesser Evil, but coming off that we get Denial's Aria, a strictly non-metal, ambient art pop track (and my favorite track on this album personally). I mean, having such a soft track after a wave of interesting, dramatic, and very vibrant metal workings seems like a recipe to absolutely break the flow of the album, and while it may certainly be unexpected, with just how it is orchestrated with a mix of beautiful symphonic qualities, atmosphere, and a sense of tension building, especially with the beautiful vocal workings of VikKe and Duo Scorpio's harp, it all comes together and creates probably one of the best scores in the band's catalog. This record is kinda like Omnerod's The Amensal Rise, but while that album was more so genres being mixed through the seams of a multitude of heavy, avant-metal workings, Let The Truth Speak is a clear and direct fusion between the genres Earthside is fascinated by. Obviously I mentioned elements of jazz, post rock, and pop here, but you also get elements of R&B, romanticism, soul, folk, and just a lot more that I find myself surprised with each listen, finding new things under every note. It is honestly quite amazing how they managed to just find a way to bend prog metal in ways that are totally unexpected, but totally rewarding all the same.

Though, I will say this record's only problem is that the second half is a lot more interesting than the first. While I do love a lot of the five tracks at the start, I find myself so much more interested in the later half, as it holds a lot more variety for me. While the first half is certainly consistently good, I am more interested in the various genre fusions and change ups that occur from The Lesser Evil through All We Knew And Ever Loved, but that's just me.

Speaking of All We Knew And Ever Loved, man what an amazing closer to all this. While I may find Denial's Aria to be the best track on this album, this track is a close second. This is where their post rock ideals shine thoroughly, capturing an almost Godspeed You! Black Emperor tone and energy, whilst also still sounding very much like Earthside. Just the buildup, each melody going through quietly, rising and falling to where you are not sure when the dramatics will reveal themselves. And when they do show up, they not only feel so otherworldly, but almost like you are experiencing music for the first time ever. This is also where Jamie's guitar reaches a level of magic that I have only seen Efrim Menuck reach in his various post rock projects, being this almost violin-like tone. It all comes to an end with a spattering of organs playing a singular bombastic chord, with the guitars in the back blaring sheepishly as the song closes out. It is basically a musical ecstasy in a way, creating a moment that I may never forget. Seriously, bravo on this wonderful track.

Certainly an album that must be listened to at least once. It features not only some of the most grand moments of prog metal this year, but features a variety of sounds and styles that I think anyone, no matter their musical preference, can certainly enjoy. As for myself, I believe with time and effort Earthside may become one the best prog acts of the 21st century for me, and that prospect may just be around the near future with how much time and effort they put into their music. If you want something good and new in the land of metal, look no further than this record.

Latest members reviews

5 stars I've been listening to this album for months. It has haunted my mind and convinced me that Earthside have managed to win the title of "Album of the year" (2023). This album has a rare combination of super-imaginitive arrangements, breathtaking vocal performances ("Tyranny", "Pattern of Rebirth", "De ... (read more)

Report this review (#3029694) | Posted by uribreitman | Wednesday, March 13, 2024 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 'But What If We're Wrong?' orchestral intro with vibraphone, dry percussion, distinct from the Sandbox Percussion group creating a strong and dark climate aided by guitar riffs; cinematic sound I understand; epic, aerial, the ostinato recalls the tunes of Philip Glass, immense; halfway through A ... (read more)

Report this review (#2987881) | Posted by alainPP | Friday, February 2, 2024 | Review Permanlink

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