Local Love: Seldom
Photo: Bryant Gutierrez
I would be the biggest liar if I said that I was the “go to guy” for progressive rock music. It’s always been one of those labels that people put on musicians that I never really felt drawn to. Over the years, the prog term has been placed on bands that are too far off the beaten path to fit under certain monikers. So, when I think of progressive rock, for some reason, the things that aren’t really correctly placed under that label are what I think of. However, every once and while I hear something that actually fits that label pretty well. A good example would be the new album, “Damaged” from Houston’s Seldom. Seldom has that mix of metal based riffs, alternative styled vocals, and rat-a-tat drums that on their own, really just sound like alterna rock, or alt-metal. But all of the parts together, make a pretty accurate example of progressive rock at it’s best.
“Damaged” is not something that I’d usually be drawn to. But, that’s not a bad thing, it’s just not the type of stuff I’ve usually listened to and been a big proponent of. The same could be said about speed metal, ska, or even white dudes playing reggae. But, in a little over forty minutes, I’d be lying if I said that i wasn’t impressed with the way these guys craft a song. The album is only nine songs, which felt like an odd number of tracks, but they do a good job from start to finish. The opening song, “Legacy” slinks in with what sounds like one of those didgeridoo things from Australia, but it quickly picks up to a more metal pace. The guitar is crunchy and tight, while the bass sounds like a thick snake caught in a pillow case. The same could be said about the second track, where the two guitar sound from one guitarist coupled with the thuddy bass is done with precision and perfect melody. The third track, “Cancer,” has the flow of a radio single complete with dual vocals and a catchy chorus. It also clocks in at a little over three and a half minutes, setting it apart from the longer opening tracks.
By the time you’re on the fifth song, the soft opening and slower paced “Over & Over,” you realize that these guys are a step above most of the alterna-rock you hear nowadays. Usually, when I hear stuff like Stain or Alter Bridge, I cringe. But the stringed instrumentation on the song set them apart from those bands by leaps and bounds. The eighth track, “Wasting Away,” has a pretty strong opening, that’s immediately hit with vocals that permeate your senses. However the chorus brings in an almost completely new element to the song that takes you by surprise. The one track that stood out, was ironically the last one, “Damaged.” Utilizing the album title, the catchy opening of dual guitar sounds has the type of opening that gets played on the radio. The bridge and the chorus are just as catchy, and they move the song along at a hook filled pace. Even by taking a one hundred and eighty degree turn at one point doesn’t deter the multilayered elements on the song. Back when I was in radio, this would’ve been the song we would’ve pushed. Minus the almost five minute length of the song, the open ended vocals give the song a completely different depth than the rest of the album. It’s actually the least progressive sounding song, but that’s not a bad thing.
When it’s over, Seldom has done what very few bands in their end of the rock music spectrum can do; they’ve created a journey through sound. If you’re a fan of bands like. Breaking Benjamin, Chevelle, or even Avenged Sevenfold, then you should give these guys a listen. “Damaged” is available on iTunes on September 16th, and you can actually catch Seldom when they perform at Scout Bar on Friday September 12th. The doors are at 8:00, the tickets are $7.00, and the show is 18 & up.