The Appleseed Cast: Illumination Ritual

appleseed cast, Illumination RitualKansas based band, The Appleseed Cast has been playing since 1997. It seems like the post rock genre sits on a pretty strong foundation; every post rock band I’ve heard of usually has a fairly long history. Normally, I don’t get it, most bands seem overrated, but these guys have talent. And while listening to their latest album, Illumination Ritual, I quickly found myself becoming a fan.

If one thing could be said about The Appleseed Cast it would be “they make some seriously good use of their limited instrumentation.” Nowadays, every band seems to either spearhead a synth or two in there, or load a song up with so many beeps, boops, and oddly produced string sounds that the listener has no idea what’s going on. The Appleseed Cast limits themselves however. Guitars, bass, drums, and a little bit of vocals properly flesh out each song. The band knows what they need to do, and they do it. No gimmicks, no experiments gone wrong, just good music.

“Great Lake Derelict,” the second song of the album, feels like a sampler. It gives a little bit of everything you’ll find in Illumination Ritual. Clean guitar melodies, carefully designed drum rhythms, and the occasional dash of surprisingly fitting vocals. This may seem standard for any rock band, but it’s all about the execution. The Appleseed Cast orchestrates each crescendo to work as a quick burst of energy amongst mesmerizing melodic landscapes. Furthermore, The Appleseed Cast knows just went to pull the trigger. As the album progressed I began to zone out, each song blended into the next, and then suddenly I snapped back to reality. “Barrier Islands,” the seventh track, features a short vocal section that creates a series break from the first half and the latter portion of the album. It’s like a much needed intermission. By the time the song ends, you’re ready for the last stretch.

Sometimes it’s really difficult to just like an album. You want something to be wrong with it, you look for a reason to complain, and it’s really just not there. Maybe it’s an instinct –a critics sharp tongue, their natural defense; but sometimes we all have to let our guard down. Illumination Ritual is far from disappointing, boring, lacking, or even just plain bad. From track one to ten I was sucked right in and every little note kept me going. Nothing here is spectacular or awe-inspiring but it’s just damn enjoyable. Who can complain about that?

I don’t like to admit it, but a lot of bands have indeed passed under my radar. For the most part, it’s generally just because they’re probably not my exact cup of tea, but every now and then I find a band that makes me say, “Damn, these guys exist?” The Appleseed Cast fills that role. Everything about Illumination Ritual had me hooked. Fans of the Post Rock and Math Rock genres will definitely love this one. Illumination Ritual is a great album, what more can I say?

Rating: 8.0/10
MP3: The Appleseed Cast “Great Lake Derelict”
Buy: iTunes or Insound! vinyl

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