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Crossover Prog • United States

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The Dear Hunter picture
The Dear Hunter biography
Formed in 2005 in Providence, Rhode Island, USA

THE DEAR HUNTER was originally a side project by guitarist and vocalist Casey CRESCENZO of post-hardcore band THE RECEIVING END OF SIRENS. On leaving that band, CRESCENZO worked on THE DEAR HUNTER fulltime, producing 'Act 1: The Lake South, The River North' as the first part of a six-album concept concerning the life of a boy at the turn of the 20th Century. After its release CRESCENZO recruited Luke DENT (Keyboards), Erick SEMA (Guitar), Sam DENT (drums) and Josh RHEAULT (bass) to record the second part of the hexology 'Act 2: The Meaning of, and All Things Regarding Ms. Leading' and toured extensively to promote its release. During this time RHEAULT and the DENT brothers left the band, leaving only CRESCENZO and SEMA.

Having recently announced that they are also working on a nine album concept based upon the seven colours of the rainbow and the two tones, black and white, indicates that THE DEAR HUNTER are not light on ambition, the next step is to see if they can deliver against such bold claims.

Falling somewhere between THE MARS VOLTA and COHEED AND CAMBRIA, THE DEAR HUNTER may appeal to some fans of either band.

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The Color Spectrum: The Complete CollectionThe Color Spectrum: The Complete Collection
Box set
$199.98 (used)
Migrant RepriseMigrant Reprise
Rude Records 2014
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THE DEAR HUNTER discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

THE DEAR HUNTER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.09 | 256 ratings
Act I: The Lake South, The River North
3.99 | 252 ratings
Act II: The Meaning Of, And All Things Regarding Ms. Leading
4.04 | 258 ratings
Act III: Life And Death
3.83 | 172 ratings
The Color Spectrum
3.73 | 105 ratings
3.98 | 275 ratings
Act IV: Rebirth In Reprise
3.96 | 208 ratings
Act V: Hymns With The Devil In Confessional

THE DEAR HUNTER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 13 ratings

THE DEAR HUNTER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.67 | 3 ratings
The Color Spectrum Live

THE DEAR HUNTER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.62 | 21 ratings
Act I: The Lake South, The River North & Act II: The Meaning Of, And All Things Regarding Ms. Leading
4.08 | 85 ratings
The Color Spectrum: Complete Collection
5.00 | 3 ratings
Act I, II & III

THE DEAR HUNTER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.62 | 14 ratings
The Branches EP
4.03 | 21 ratings
Black EP
3.14 | 19 ratings
Red EP
3.13 | 17 ratings
Orange EP
3.86 | 17 ratings
Yellow EP
3.23 | 16 ratings
Green EP
3.25 | 13 ratings
Blue EP
2.64 | 14 ratings
Indigo EP
4.18 | 14 ratings
Violet EP
3.44 | 13 ratings
White EP
4.06 | 16 ratings
All Is As All Should Be


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Act V: Hymns With The Devil In Confessional by DEAR HUNTER, THE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.96 | 208 ratings

Act V: Hymns With The Devil In Confessional
The Dear Hunter Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Now here is a collection of mature, very well constructed, clean, relatively true sounding Neo Prog songs that I can get behind. Great vocal arrangements and very rich song constructions. A class act that has always been solid but seems to keep getting better. The QUEEN-like theatric nature of the music produced here in support of another whole-album concept is truly eclectic. These guys should be staging Broadway productions of their albums!

1. Regress (1:22) (8.5/10) 2. The Moon / Awake (6:09) (8.5/10) 3. Cascade (5:11) (7.5/10) 4. The Most Cursed of Hands / Who Am I (6:42) a two-part song (why not two separate songs?) (9/10) 5. The Revival (5:00) (6.5/10) 6. Melpomene (4:14) (8.5/10) 7. Mr. Usher (On His Way to Town) (4:59) (8/10) 8. The Haves Have Naught (4:12) (8.5/10) 9. Light (4:02) (8/10) 10. Gloria (5:16) (8/10) 11. The Flame (Is Gone) (5:40) my favorite song on the album (8.5/10) 12. The Fire (Remains) (5:26) (8.5/10) 13. The March (4:12) (8.5/10) 14. Blood (4:33) (9/10) 15. A Beginning (6:19) a gentle, emotional song that just might be the best on the album. Great keyboard, orchestral and vocal arrangements. (9/10)

It is unfortunate that the great multi-voiced vocal arrangements that opened the album weren't sustained for Casey's voice can get a little monotonous (despite his efforts at theatrical renderings). The variety of musical stylings and instruments incorporated to produce the Dear Hunter sound is astonishing and commendable. There is still room for improvement, though.

A four star album; a very good album that most prog rock music lovers will probably enjoy.

 Act V: Hymns With The Devil In Confessional by DEAR HUNTER, THE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.96 | 208 ratings

Act V: Hymns With The Devil In Confessional
The Dear Hunter Crossover Prog

Review by Skyperion

5 stars I have been a relative new comer to the world created by Mr Crescenzo, having only started listing with any regularity to his albums since Act iv. However that album was quite a revelation to me and thus when I realised that the next act was out I immediately downloaded it and invested time in coming to know the previous albums as well. The striking thing about acts vi and v is the creative imagination they present and the variety of styles. Within its 73 minutes Hymn stretches from rock, prog to blues (and even big band!) - Casey shows his capability in all those areas. The production and musicianship are also top class.

Some highlight tracks would be Cascade, the Revival and A Beginning (one the best album endings in years!). Mr Usher also stands out from the (rat) pack being a slightly lighter track with a great big band sound, yes really, it also has some excellent vocal arrangements.

I have not been disappointed with Hymns with the Devil and over the last few months it has become my favorite album from Casey, furthermore it is currently my choice album of the year.

 Act V: Hymns With The Devil In Confessional by DEAR HUNTER, THE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.96 | 208 ratings

Act V: Hymns With The Devil In Confessional
The Dear Hunter Crossover Prog

Review by javajeff

4 stars My favorite of the five, and the one that got me interested in the series. I have been trying to enjoy this story for some time, but it is quite extensive and required some online help to understand. There are many metaphors used to depict the actions of a boy's life, and you are missing out if you do not have interest in the plot. The musicianship and vocals are stellar, so I wanted to get that out of the way. However, what makes this series unique is the multi-act story that unfolds one album at a time. It is bigger than one album, so it is probably in your interest to spend some time trying to understand it more. I find myself interested in the previous Acts now, but it is a little long for me to take in at one time. Act V is a must have for owners of the rest of the series, but not as suitable as an individual purchase.
 Act IV: Rebirth In Reprise by DEAR HUNTER, THE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.98 | 275 ratings

Act IV: Rebirth In Reprise
The Dear Hunter Crossover Prog

Review by crashandridemusic

5 stars I feel I've been waiting for this album for a long time, considering it's the next part of a series of albums left off back in 2009. For six long years I've been waiting for the next installment by The Dear Hunter, who are back at it with their wonderful album "Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise."

"Rebirth in Reprise" continues the concept left off in their previous album, but with a sound that has changed drastically. More than ever Casey Crescenzo and company utilize orchestral instruments, with the basic rock instruments taking a backseat. This doesn't mean the album is lacking in rock- influenced arrangements, as present in the songs "The Old Haunt," "Waves," and "A Night On The Town." But if I were to remember anything from this album, it's the plethora of flutes, trumpets, trombones, and violins that create a much more unique and interesting listening experience. With interludes, interludes, and more interludes, these instruments shine in between tracks, setting the scene for the next song. Reminiscent of albums like "Censored Colors" by Portugal. The Man and "Days of Future Passed" by The Moody Blues, Crescenzo is able to leave an amazing impression on the listener, using progressive and indie rock influences together with classical inspirations. Considering the timeframe of the concept around the story, one truly feels they are back in the 19th century.

If the orchestral instruments paint a scene of the past, then the inclusion of modern instruments like the keyboards and electric guitar add a new layer to the storytelling. "At The End of the Earth" is a great example of how these different ages mix together perfectly, using a classic piano sound and a cappella singing alongside sound manipulation and guitar effects. The single "A Night On The Town" also utilizes this technique, consistently shifting between the new and the old. When a harder chorus finishes, the song transitions to a classical bridge section, only to return to a harder passage. I love how this album incorporates all these instruments together, which regularly complement each other in ways I could never imagine.

Two of my favorite tracks happen to be two of the harder songs on the album: "Is There Anybody Here?" and "King of Swords (Reversed)." I believe "Is There Anybody Here?" captures Crescenzo's best vocal performance on the album, a passionate and steady mid-register voice. His voice reminds me of the thoughts running through someone's head when they are lost, a reflective performance that reminds me of a character on Broadway. I can feel the emotion the main character displays throughout this song. The guitar solo towards the end of the song is also very interesting, and is one of the only solos I can easily recall off this album. With all the classical influences in this album, "King of Swords (Reversed)" turns the album on its head. With a poppy twist, I really enjoyed how out of place this song was, instilling some life into a slower section of the album. Using those classical instruments in unintended situations, I couldn't help but dance around to this song. I hope they play this song live at their concerts, because it will definitely get their audience's attention.

For an album lasting nearly 75 minutes, I am thoroughly impressed with the talent, devotion, and creativity that went into "Rebirth in Reprise." Unfortunately, it also serves as a negative at the same time. Being much slower compared to previous albums, there were times when I checked what track I was on to see how far I was into the album. Despite how beautiful the arrangements were, I couldn't help but anticipate a harder track to shake things up, which occurs only a few times. I can't help but wonder how the band will tour for this album, considering the majority of the album is downbeat and slower. It's a great album to play at work, even though you might not be able to hear much of the album if the volume is down too low. Finally, the album closes off seemingly sudden, almost underwhelmingly. I understand that the closing of each acts are merely closings of scenes in the overall story, but I felt like I was left hanging when the album ended. I would've changed the ending slightly to let the listener know that the album is, in fact, over.

Overall, "Rebirth and Reprise" is a great album. Those not knowledgeable of The Dear Hunter or any of the "Act" albums will have the same feeling as those walking into a movie thirty minutes late, but should still marvel at the creativity and sophistication of this album. I seriously feel like I should be listening to this album in an art museum or at a gala.

Taken from

 Act IV: Rebirth In Reprise by DEAR HUNTER, THE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.98 | 275 ratings

Act IV: Rebirth In Reprise
The Dear Hunter Crossover Prog

Review by Xeroth

5 stars I am completely blown away. I have been on a relentless prog and rock search for something new that absorbs me into the music like Rush, Ayreon, Porcupine Tree, and other such classics have done. Wilson's new album was great, and there's been a few others. But the resemblance to Porcupine Tree/Blackfield, still left me hungry. I found Jolly, they were fun, Leprous was brooding but kinda new. But I couldn't find a soulful music that really sang for me. Enter The Dear Hunter.

When I came across Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise, I was expecting heavy synthesizer and quirky carnival like music--thanks to the album cover. But Rebirth, the musical sounding intro, grabbed me, I was moved by Waves, and by the end of this lengthy album I bought it. There was not a song on this album that I did not think "that was great too!" One could argue maybe Remembered as the weakest song, but even that song contains compelling acoustics, just as a slight awkward rhythm for me.

Compared to other 2015 releases this quickly took the cake for my favorite. And that's saying something competing against "Hand. Cannot. Erase." It's soulful, layered, complex, unique and Dear Hunter's best works from what I've now listened. From emotional tracks like Waves to funky soul songs like Kind of Swords and brooding songs like Wait, Crescenzo, with rich and powerful vocals, delves through many layers of emotion and musical composition to a paint a complex scene on life, death, and I guess Rebirth and Reprise. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys art rock, but also likes to dip into a more progressive scene that still keeps an accessible mainstream feel. Every time I listen to this album I appreciate the sound more and more.

Crescenzo has done a great job with this project, and I'd say this album should belong on everyone's music library. Everyone should at least give the album a listen. This is indeed a masterpiece, not only within The Dear Hunter's discography, but also among the collective prog and rock history. It's an incredible gem not many know about. 5 Stars, a beauty.

 Act IV: Rebirth In Reprise by DEAR HUNTER, THE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.98 | 275 ratings

Act IV: Rebirth In Reprise
The Dear Hunter Crossover Prog

Review by asbottino

5 stars Beautiful. Act IV has everything they had its predecessors, but not only that. Crescenzo has had the courage and the intelligence to stop after three chapters. How many others would have done it in his place? He explored its color palette and worked on his skills as an arranger with a real orchestra. He also found the time to produce an album of songs, Migrant. Just songs. Demonstrating how it's possible producing intelligent and profound music without necessarily wanting to be complicated. And now, after six years, the result is this wonderful and passionate work. Casey is currently one of the best creators of melodies on the scene, perhaps the best, and he is so young. Waves, Remembered, A night in town, Is There Anybody Here are my favorite moments of the chapter but there's not a single fragment of music in the entire opera that is not able to capture your attention and your emotions. Beautiful, again.
 Act IV: Rebirth In Reprise by DEAR HUNTER, THE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.98 | 275 ratings

Act IV: Rebirth In Reprise
The Dear Hunter Crossover Prog

Review by ledrums

5 stars After six long years The Dear Hunter has brought us part 4 of the intended 6 Acts which follow the conceptual story of a boy/man known as "the Dear Hunter". Casey Crescenzo, for the uninformed, is basically the "brains" behind the band. He composes most of all the music the band has put out. The rest of the current line-up consists of his brother Nick Crescenzo (drums), Robert Parr (guitars,keys, and vocals), Nick Sollecito (bass), Maxwell Tosseau ( guitars, keyboards,aux perc, vocals), and Andrew Brown (keys and vocals). For this album he also enlisted the talents of The Awesome Orchestra. I must be upfront and state that, as far as I am aware, Casey writes all the material and the others members either play what he composed note for note or expand and add to his ideas. This would include the orchestra as well. This is a matter that only Casey and his bandmates would know amongst themselves. That being said, let's tear into this album. Track 1. Rebirth- Keeping in line with the first 3 Acts the album opener is quite theatrical. Lush background vocals accompany Mr. Crescenzo's singing as light strings and acoustic guitar provide the back drop. The song eventually morphs into an orchestral segment which at times evokes the feeling of tension or being chased. This song lead straight into track 2

Track 2. The Old Haunt- Cue the drums! A snare lick kicks off this rocking number. Lot's of tasty drumming in this song. Tasty use of drum rims. Lush harmonies and great use of orchestra (common throughout album). The song builds and builds with the lyrics "Now we wake up. Wake up!" Another orchestral section at the end does a call back to a previous album leading into track 3

Track 3. Waves- This could easily be on the radio. More straight ahead, but still clever arrangements and tasty little things. The bridge is quite delight to my ears.

Track 4. At The End Of The Earth- This song start with percussive sounds and keys in background. Kind of sounds ominous to me. The piano kicks in adding to the layering of the song. Casey's vocals have only gotten stronger from year to year.

Track 5. Remembered- Clever interplay between piano and orchestra. A song like this is not trying to be a hit single. To me it is an interlude. My favorite part being when you think song is over and piano melody softly kicks in again.

Track 6. A Night On The Town- Clocking in at 9 minutes it's easily the longest track. However, with all the different sections, it doesn't drag or make listener lose interest. It has horns, piano, strings and a very catchy chorus.

Track 7. Is There Anybody Here?- So up to this point there hasn't been much for guitar solos. Dinner is served. The end of this great song treats the listener to a very tasty, and at some points technical, guitar solo outro. Mr. Crescenzo can shred on guitar, but only does so when he feels it serves the song. Got some Pink Floyd vibes from it.

Track 8. The Squeaky Wheel- Very catchy chorus and almost Beatle-esque in some parts. I liked it a lot.

Track 9. The Bitter Suite IV and V: The congregation and the sermon in the Silt- The bombastic side of the band shows up. Theatrical beginning. Over the top and not ashamed of it. This is the side of the band that some love and others call "pretentious". I think the latter description is an over used insult thrown at bands who try to go big. I enjoy this side of the band.

Track 10. The Bitter Suite VI: Abandon- Very ethereal song. Even a minor drum solo in it. Once again for the song. Not for sake of showing off.

Track 11. King of Swords (Reversed)- Two questions.1. A disco song?2. How did you make it work? Because it does! Radio friendly all the way. Might throw the snobby fans off, but as usual the band doesn't really seem to care. Put on your dancing shoes.

Track 12. If All Goes Well- Good track. Pure gold at around 2:15 section of song.

Track 13. The Line- Stripped down song, but still lush.Almost Dust in the Wind like in a way

Track 14. Wait- One of the heavier songs on album. Tasteful use of effects on vocals on certain parts

Track 15. Ouroboros- The closing track. A disturbing track. Lyrics says " I never wanted to hurt no one. No one but you" The song/slash album almost leaves the listener hanging, but I believe that was the intent. In summary I believe the album to be incredible. The arrangements, vocals, instrumentation are all top notch as is the production aspect. I believe Casey Crescenzo to be Brian Wilson like. His bandmates are incredible musicians in their own right. Check it out!

 Act I: The Lake South, The River North by DEAR HUNTER, THE album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.09 | 256 ratings

Act I: The Lake South, The River North
The Dear Hunter Crossover Prog

Review by petrica

4 stars "Battesimo Del Fuoco" is actually a very good way to start the album. It's a voice only song with multiple voices interluding one each other. Then we have a second short song which is catchy and symphonic. Together with the first one makes a perfect intro.

The first things that strikes you after this introductory part is the way the third song is starting in a very aggressive way, similar to The Mars Volta especially when we talk about the rhythmic section but also the voice. The melodic line is easy to remember and this is probably one of their finest songs. Definitely the highlight on this rather short album(under 40 minutes) .

After this unexpected introduction the things get settled with "The Inquiry of Ms. Terri". The song is simply continuing the story behind this conceptual album. The bass line from the end is absolutely amazing and the disruptive and strange sound from the end are remembering again about The Mars Volta strange sound trips.

If the approach would have continued in the same manner I would have easily given 5 stars. But somehow the inspiration and originality were lost. Don't get me wrong, the remaining songs are also good. But there is a visible difference in comparison with the first part. This makes it a bit inconsistent.

There is a kind of energetic approach when I'm thinking about this first release from The Dear Hunter and from time to time there are some kind of musical explosions manifesting a kind of accumulated frustration and misunderstood. I belive the guys managed to transmit in a fantastic manner their intention about the story behind. The music makes the transmitted feelings almost organic.

 The Color Spectrum: Complete Collection by DEAR HUNTER, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2011
4.08 | 85 ratings

The Color Spectrum: Complete Collection
The Dear Hunter Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is an amazing collection which is definitely worth your while to search for. What this is is a concept box set of 9 EPs of 4 songs each. Each EP is named after a color in the visible color spectrum. In the vinyl edition, each EP is pressed in the appropriate color of vinyl. For vinyl collectors, even that is enough to make one salivate uncontrollably. Once I heard about the release of this, I pre-ordered it for close to $100.00. It's definitely worth more that that now. But, it's not enough for The Deer Hunter to put together an attractive box set. They have to go and write 36 excellent songs to go on these EPs. This box set is chock full of top notch, high quality music, mostly sung by the lead singer and songwriter Casey Crescenzo. This guy has an amazing voice with an unbelievable range and incredible dynamics. This guy has drama in his voice that you would not believe, drama that even matches that of Freddy Mercury's, but so very well controlled. He doesn't show off that voice unless it's called for in the song, so it's not over the top, but it's there. Oh boy, is it there.

The concept here is not that the songs are tied together by a story. It is more of an idea in each group of four songs on the EPs are related to the colors by timbre, genre, feeling. In other words, the Black EP is heavy and dark, while the Yellow EP is bright and sunny, with Green being somewhat folkish in nature. Being an Indie-folk fan myself, I love this EP, and consider it my favorite, but all of them are excellent. One other reviewer here went so far as to name several bands that were similar to the music on each EP so you can get an idea of how each one sounds. I think he got it pretty close. The amazing thing here is that one band is making all of these wonderful excellent sounds. The songs themselves are individual songs not tied together by anything except color which represents the style. These are all accessible songs, but they are all high quality, beautiful and excellent.

This would have to go down as being one of the most ambitious and original concepts I can think of. And the great thing is that it's all done so very well. I listen to these songs and can't find any weaknesses among the styles of rock music that are presented. That is the thing that makes this progressive is the idea and the quality of the music. These are straightforward songs averaging about 4 minutes each. There is nothing epic except for the concept and the release of the concept. Not much in the way of meter changes or ingenuity in the music itself, but you can listen to all +2 hours of this and not get tired of the music. I consider this progressive because of the concept itself and the quality of the music. Awesomeness and ingenuity, you get it all here.

If you can't bring yourself to purchasing the entire collection, there is an album which is an 11 track single album which pulls together selections from each EP, but there is sooooooo much you miss by not having the entire collection. The Deer Hunter has other albums that are more accessible as far as price goes and that have more prog elements than this, so only for that reason can I not give this 5 stars, simply because it's not what I would call essential, but if you haven't heard them, I would suggest getting one of the traditionally sized albums. I will warn you though, it will make you want to save up your money for this excellent addition. In my own personal collection and rating system, this has 5 stars, but for Prog Archive rating purposes simply because of it's inaccessibility tied to price and the availability of other Deer Hunter albums, I will give it 4 stars. Excellent stuff people!

 Act III: Life And Death by DEAR HUNTER, THE album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.04 | 258 ratings

Act III: Life And Death
The Dear Hunter Crossover Prog

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars Act III: Life and Death, as the title suggests, is the third and latest part in Casey Crescenzo's forever-on-hold Dear Hunter project, a concept release detailing some over-the-top story about prostitutes (or something), which was planned to be released over six albums. But the truth of the matter is that ambition is often a double-edged sword, as Casey obviously realised after the completion of this record. The overblown concept would take nearly a decade of writing music around it, all done in the same operatic indie rock style. And in the making of Act II: The Meaning of, and All Things Regarding Ms. Leading, Casey made the rather ridiculous decision to make it a double album, stretching out not only the concept, but his ability to write music of that style. And it wasn't a great payoff. Act II, despite having some obviously solid moments, drowned itself in filler nearly to the brim, with Casey doing The Dear Hunter-by-numbers and filling every song with as many elements from Act I: The Lake South, the River North as possible, but without creating any memorable or notable melodies or themes, to the point where they are so forgettable that many of the highlights of Act II were the reprises of parts of Act I.

So I guess it's a bit surprising that Act III is any good at all. I mean, Casey essentially drained himself dry in the second part, and if what I've heard is true, he actually wrote two hours of music for that album. Part three was necessary only because he promised it, but at this point his promise of six albums was looking as silly as Sufjan's promise of all fifty states (and the same deal goes - he could have done it if he had written shorter releases, but instead he ran out of steam writing 140 [%*!#]ing minutes worth for Illinois). But Act III is definitely a better release from The Dear Hunter, and actually did breathe a bit of life back into the Acts saga with some motifs and tracks as memorable as the few that were on Act I. The music here is far more consistent and less wandering, and it definitely shows that Casey has sat down and tried to make each song a bit more memorable - a strong chorus, a nice string part - just to keep the flow of the album up.

But at the same time, the parts that make this album good are also what bring it down a bit. Because let's face it - The Dear Hunter have an insanely unique style. It's a wonderful blend of indie rock with connotations of progressive and art rock. It's poppy and sweet but dashed with strings and horns and lavish Beach Boys-style vocal harmonies, and crispened out by some angular math rock and occasional post-hardcore influenced Claudio Sánchez-isms in the vocals. And yet, as cool and unique as that sounds, it does get rather tiring and predictable after a while. That was certainly Act II's downfall, and it's still here, but in a less noticeable capacity. I admit to liking every track here to a certain extent, yet I can't really push this album much higher than a 7 in my score system, because there are certainly moments when I just sigh out of boredom. It's difficult to explain, but it's the sort of sense of knowing that "The Writing on the Wall" would lead into some bombastic riff coated in horns and Casey wailing in his indie/post- hardcore croon. Many of these tracks feel like I've heard them before, even if I haven't, because this style of songwriting becomes so predictable so fast.

The hooks here are definitely the album's leading selling point, with most of the songs boasting at least one wonderful melody, from the upbeat and fun lines on "What it Means to Be Alone" and "The Poison Woman" to the melancholy of the last few tracks to even some hardcore-tinged anger like on "He Said He Had A Story". That particular song is an interesting one, being the only track with lyrics potent enough to imprint them in my brain. On first few listens, that really seems to be the biggest thing going for the track, but I can now say that the massive screaming of "WHAT WAS YOUR NAME" is now one of my favourite moments on the record (although the backing vocals are pretty damn cringeworthy with them narrating the scene, but I guess it evens out). However there are some tracks here that really seem to lean on the hooks an awful lot - "Mustard Gas" being a particular example. The opening is majestic and grand, reminding me of both Queen and Muse (with less annoying vocalists of course), and bringing the mood of the album up immensely, but aside from a few great string/horn arrangements, the rest of the song just doesn't live up to the intro.

In terms of differences between this and its predecessors, the post-hardcore is definitely down and the Beach Boys are definitely up. Nearly every one of these songs has some kind of vocal harmony involved, and they are pretty great, even if the source is pretty obvious. The hook on "This Beautiful Lie" revolves entirely around a "babababaaaaa" sort of melody, and along with the opener "The Writing on the Wall", Casey really showcases the dark and moody side of pop harmonies. Another noticeable trait of this record is the absence of longer tracks, and a general lack of prog and math rock connotations. "The Thief" is in 5/4 most of the time, and "In Cauda Venenum" has some pretty mathy twists to that bombastic opening riff, but throughout most of this album Casey focuses more on the art rock and chamber side, with massive emphasis on instrumentation and layering. Oftentimes, the strings and horns will take the lead far above the guitar, showing influence from baroque pop, jazz and chamber music (and even a bit of Streetlight Manifesto-influenced ska in the aforementioned "In Cauda Venenum"). This is a softer and more melodic album, but it is still quirky enough to define it from the melodic indie pop/rock that the band would go into on Migrant.

This isn't the last Dear Hunter record, of course, but both The Colour Spectrum and Migrant are a bit removed from this style of bombastic and horn-driven indie rock, and really act as Casey Crescenzo solo releases more than part of the band concept. But Act III is the last of the Acts series, even though it was supposed to be the third of six, and I'm glad for it. I know many bands who have written the same record decades over and never seem to get bored with it, but Casey is different. Hell, it's only been five years since this album and he's already onto Romantic-era symphony worship. This is a man who does not want to stay in a place for too long, and returning to the Acts would only bring about more duds. In my honest opinion, even though I like this record, it should have ended after the incredible Act I, but at least this one acts as a bit of an apology for that dreary second part. It's not a complete end to the story, and some perfectionists will be a bit mad, but I'm happy that Casey has left this behind. If you're coming here for music or a recommendation, I'd send you to Act I first, and then come here if you're dying for more. A solid album no doubt, and a good farewell to a (mostly) good concept series.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog:

Thanks to Dean Cracknell for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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