Album Review: Source – ‘Return To Nothing’

Album Review: Source – ‘Return To Nothing’

Source
Return To Nothing
(Pavement Entertainment)

Colorado’s Source are one of those bands who just couldn’t hold out for the new Tool album and took it upon themselves to make it, like so many other acts are doing these days. The difference is, I think they’ve actually done it. Without a doubt, fans of Tool, Karnivool, Soen, Chevelle, The Reticent and so many more will absolutely love what’s been done here. According to the tiny amount of information I have here, these three musicians are trying to “create consciousness based music through the exploration of floatation tanks, philosophy, meditation, yoga and other embodiment and mindfulness practices.” It also says that “their music is an expression of the sensations experienced on this planet, the profoundness of the human experience and the beauty of all that is.” So, after observing this lengthy performance, do I feel that this definition matches the sound I’m hearing here? Absolutely.

First of all, these songs are literally bloated with transcendental atmospheres which seem to equally channel the mind-boggling soundscapes of Tool with the abrasiveness of early Gojira. Yes, the frontman does utilize a couple of growls and the guitars do manage to pound out some punchier riffs more often than not. There are still chants and what I’d consider “musical drug trips” but it still maintains itself as a mix between metal and progressive alt rock, which might make it an easier listen for those who don’t entirely care for the extremities of the metal genre. Most of the record actually consists of ridiculously well calculated time signatures, which are as mind-melting as anything I’ve ever heard from Tool. Adding to that, Source do not write short songs, with the shortest cut here being a little over eight minutes. There are slight interludes, but you can tell from listening to this record that you’re going to be getting a true full-length musical performance. It’s heavy except when it’s not, and it can get very tribal or acoustic depending on the mood. Songs are liable to carry several different emotions within these elongated times, backed by a production that literally sounds as good as anything you’d hear from a major music label. No folks, you’re not getting raw, under-produced shlock. If Source was shlock, I wouldn’t be going out of my way to promote them.

Though I will say this, because I think it’s an interesting tidbit to add to this little observation – I had no idea what I was getting into when I reviewed this band. I guess I must have misread that they were from Delaware or something, because that was originally the band I was trying to review, as I haven’t heard many bands from my home state. It’s very small, you see. So I was curious enough to write up a review for that band here. That being said, I had no idea what kind of music I was going to be listening to as with most unknown acts and just decided to hit the play button. Source could have literally been anything and I could have outright despised them, but I can assure you that this is certainly not the case. Perhaps I was half-asleep and requested the wrong band, but considering how potent this recording is, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s no secret that I took to bands along the line of Tool and feel that Maynard and crew really left their mark on rock music as a whole as all of these inspired acts are coming out of the woodwork. Though like I said, Source are doing their own thing – this record throws down bass riffs just as hard as anything I was listening to back in the golden age of hard rock music, and I’m pretty sure that a lot of people in my generation are going to find that it brings back so many memories. Source are the kind of band that I wanted to see signed, and I am glad that they did recieve a label backing. These pieces might be a little too long to put on the radio today, but I do remember a day when the entire “Lateralus” track was played just because of how great it was. I’m getting that same “Lateralus” feel here as well. Someone get this on the radio.

I also need to add just how much Danny Carey influence I’m hearing in the drumming here and that’s important, because such a performance make it’s sound authentic. The man can play and beautifully. This is the kind of entrancing drumming that at the same time had me very tranced out during my younger years – which is something I will not soon forget. You can say “Tool ripoff” all you like, but think about it like this. How many bands can actually emulate the Tool formula so well that they actually get it this down pact? I’m willing to say that these guys have engineered nearly 98% of that formula, while bringing on some of the heaviest Toolisms that I think I’ve ever heard. Maynard never growled, but he did scream – quite a bit, depending on the song. There was never anything overly “death metal” about Tool, but they were certainly an act not afraid to breach into metal as Source have done here. Adding slight bits of death metal in the vocal range to Tool’s formula might not be something that those guys would have had in mind, but that’s also why musical evolution is important and that’s exactly what I’m getting here.

The guys are about to go on a small Fall tour through some states in the US, but I think if they can get as much promotion and praise as they need, they’ll be touring on a much larger scale. We might even be looking at the new Tool here. Someone has to take the reins eventually and I’d see these guys perfect for the job. Just listen to the album before you judge, even though I will admit that such a statement is a tall order. I also need to add that the bonus track (which you will only find on the CD version, so you need to go out and get it!) here is certainly not a throwaway unlike so many other bonus tracks that we get from albums, even if the band or label may have thought so. The piece touches into early A Perfect Circle, which might be different territory than what the band/label were going for, but it suits me perfectly and is an absolute must. You have not gotten the entire experience of this record unless you’ve bought the disc. Point blank, folks. It’s addition to the album gives it seventy-nine minutes of playing time (which is still about seventy minutes without) and though it is shorter than all of the others, I’m not complaining. In fact, it’s been stuck in my head for the past half-hour now. It’s pretty safe to say that with such an incredible debut as this one, Source are on to truly great things. I’m already looking forward to the next album. Could they be the next Tool?

Purchase Return To Nothing here.

4-half-stars

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