By Ryan Falla
1476 is a heavily experimental metal band from Salem, Massachusetts. Where some bands would root themselves into a couple of sub-genres while taking elements from varied genres to create their musical identifier, 1476 foregoes the typical “genre” build by floating in a sea of fluid waters. Instead of setting you on a specific, foreseeable path, with ‘Our Season Draws Near’ 1476 takes more after white river rafting. It isn’t so much that the album is “never ending ferocity” like many would expect from a metal band; what 1476 brings is a constantly changing, yet fluid piece of work that keeps you on your toes because you genuinely don’t know what’s going to come next.
While 1476 does play with a multitude of elements that give them a shifting sound throughout the record, there is a very strong anchor within the raw guitar and drum work. Did I mention this band is a duo compromised of multi-instrumentalists Neil Derosa and Robb Kavjian? That does a lot of explaining as to how a band can shift through so many elements without losing their unique identifiers, despite shifting from atmospheric punk/power metal with the track ‘Ettins’ to jumping into pop-punk with the songs ‘By Torchlight’ and ‘Winter of Wolves’.
At first it is a little difficult to examine the core of the musical duo 1476, only because they play with so many different tonal arrangements, but once you get into the nitty gritty of their sound, the “power” punk makes the heart of their music become clear. They are extremely raw in the sense that the production value with ‘Our Season Draws Near’ shares the same minimalist values as the makeup of the band, and their music follows a similar formula.
One element that stands out stronger than others present within the album is the dark, moody ambiance. The record ‘Our Season Draws Near’ is an attempt to capture the dreary, haunting and foreboding atmospheres of coastal New England. 1476 succeed massively in this regard, as they take the exact colors they need to paint the portrait they envision and supply with you the proper tools to create the image they wish for you to see. ‘Our Season Draws near’ is a thematic album to capture the spirit of the “winter” season; the haunting image of old coastal New England fitting hand in hand with a dreary, grey winter atmosphere.
1476 is very much ‘pop-metal’ in the same sense that Ghost is ‘pop-metal’; the dark somber tones of metal fused with the brighter elements of lighter rock/pop to create an image quite different from what is present in the metal scene. There is a massive play on dynamics within this record; the track ‘Solitude (Exterior)’, among others, takes acoustic neo-folk to paint a softly damning scene while the second half of the record brings in heavy pop songs such as ‘By Torchlight’ that are honestly reminiscent of early Morrissey.
No, I’m not comparing them to Morrissey, I’m simply drawing parallels between the emotional imagery and the similar paths taken to reach this apex. Yes they’re much “punkier” in the track ‘By Torchlight’, but at the core the band is a dreary pop atmosphere that is much like a heavier The Cure that doesn’t step into goth territory.
My favorite track on this record, hands down, is ‘Winter of Wolves’, not only does it echo my Morrissey sentiments, it’s just a phenomenal track all around. It’s superb, it’s fantastic, it’s supreme; it’s a game changer. ‘Our Season Draws Near’ is a fantastic album all around, yet when 1476 takes their minimalist sound and strips it even further (this time laying back the dominating metal elements in favor of the “doom pop”), they create truly unique and inspiring music. I had to make up a name for what they’re doing because it’s so fluid it becomes difficult to put a finger on exactly what makes 1476 tick the way they do, that’s how dynamic they are.
This is some serious “doom pop-punk”, and while it’s initially masked by the metal elements at the forefront of ‘Our Season Draws Near’, as the record goes on, it slowly strips itself away from the metal-centric tones to reveal a truly unique sound in the current metal landscape. What’s even better about this album is you can experience it with more value with repeated listenings. It’s not a matter of “this record needs to grow on you”; ‘Our Season Draws Near’ has its obvious merits from the get-go that give quality to the initial listening of the record.
Once you listen deeply to the record and become more familiar with the heart of the music and what 1476 is truly doing, each listen becomes a different experience until you completely familiarize yourself with the heart of 1476. Understanding the heart of the music gives greater meaning to what they do, there’s much more than simple surface level appreciation with this record.
Even if you listen to the record for surface level value you will leave the experience satisfied with the time spent giving attention to ‘Our Season Draws Near’. Delving deeper into the record with a goal greater than simple enjoyment will bring much, much more value to this music. Like fine wine, this record ages beautifully with repeated listenings (don’t think too hard about that analogy), and I could not recommend ‘Our Season Draws Near’ with more enthusiasm for a genre that should be experienced by your ears more than I am already.
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Record Label: Prophecy Productions
Release Date: March 31st 2017
01. Our Silver Age (4:47)
02. Ettins (5:44)
03. Winter Of Winds (5:22)
04. Solitude (Exterior) (6:04)
05. Odessa (4:30)
06. Sorgen (Sunwheels) (5:39)
07. Solitude (Interior) (4:39)
08. By Torchlight (5:38)
09. Winter of Wolves (5:13)
10. Our Ice Age (9:00)
Total Duration: 56:36