Can music without lyrics be as meaningful as music with lyrics? Of course it can, and the new album from The Dead Centuries is great proof of that.
There’s not a single lyric sung on the band’s entire new album, called Race Against Time, but the body of work still feels like that of a fully fledged band. The band’s creations have enough of a character on their own so as to keep their work from falling into an automatic feeling of there being something missing.
The band’s music sits in a great place between charting new musical territory and exploring territory that’s been previously charted. There are those whose place could be seen as charting that new territory in music and there are those whose place could be seen as exploring the newly charted territory. In addition, there are, of course, some artists who do both, and the new album from The Dead Centuries does a great job of toying with perceptions of what music “should” be and doing both.
The band sticks to a straightforward and generally easily graspable song construction on their new album, although the types of songs that they present vary. A first impression of them sticking to one type of song construction is quickly proven wrong while progressing through the album, with the band experimenting with different speeds and textures throughout while never going too far off base so as to make the lyric-less album no longer make sense. At times — thanks in part to the imagery that accompanies the album — it’s easy to even imagine a generalized story accompanying the music.
Having to hold the listener’s attention essentially solely through instrumentals ups the responsibility on instrumental musicians to make something truly memorable, and say what you will, Race Against Time is memorable. The fact that instrumental music can be forceful and engaging just like conventional modern rock music is a real takeaway here.