Stop the presses! Develop laryngitis! The World Is Quiet Here. More specifically, that’s the name of the band we’ll be sliding under the microscope today. Furthermore, it’s a name the prog heads of this world should be writing down right about now. This is a 5-man, compositionally advanced band bringing the jams from the land of Oshkosh (no b’gosh), Wisconsin.
After forming in 2010 (only to complete their line-up much more recently), they’ve been hard at work for quite some time on the debut LP known as “Prologue”. They’ve finally turned the page with the album’s release on March 30th this year. But that brings up the question… is this one coming from the top shelf or a spot in the bargain bin? Let’s find out!
However, before we get too far, note that this album is available for streaming and purchase over on Bandcamp right now! Likewise, it’s available through most major online music platforms. So if you’d rather listen for yourself before reading over my set of spoilers here, be my guest! You can find some portals into The World Is Quiet Here’s music further down this page.
In the beginning, there was a flash of light and brilliant colors as the instrumental corps weaved together an image for the ears and mind. “Some Call Me Cynical” is actually a very positive first step into the record as it continuously evolves through a 7 minute duration. This track functions as a solid Progressive Metal introduction setting listeners up for the journey they’re about to take. It brings a range of dynamics through a whirlwind exhibition of musical ideas and damn near immediately lets the listener know these tracks will be multi-layered. More than anything, the opening track establishes the fact that this band is very talented!
It should absolutely be noted that the instrumentalists of The World Is Quiet Here pull together a brilliant presentation from start to finish on “Prologue”. Really makes me wonder what Chapter 1 will look like if you catch my drift! This is among the stronger debut efforts I’ve heard from a Progressive Metal outfit in recent history. To give credit where it’s due, this was brought about by the widdly widdlys of guitarists Isaac Stolzer-Gary and Ethan Felhofer, the percussive feats of drummer David Lamb, and the rumblings of bassist Tyler Dworak.
When you really dig into “Prologue”, the theme and transitions put forth seem to be telling the listener a narrative. The band themselves explain the story as such over on Bandcamp, “Prologue” introduces the story of a broken man coming to terms with the person he has become. With his mind quickly breaking down, he searches for an escape from a life that he does not belong in, and a path to somewhere worth living.”
From time to time, the vocal inflection and musical delivery change in step together as if emphasizing the perspective of different characters. At least half a dozen seemingly different voices are rotated throughout this album’s duration making for some nice variety. Interestingly enough, it seems they’re all provided by the vocal cords of frontman Tyler Koltz who clearly has a talent for voice modulation. I would probably bet that he’s pretty damn good at impressions in day to day life.
Hinting at the transitions just recently, every track seems to bleed seamlessly into one another which is always an admirable and engaging quality. This is especially true for large scale Progressive Metal / Rock albums such as this. If one is not careful with track one, it’s easy to slip to the end of “Aperture” in a single sitting. I know because it happened to me more than once!
In some ways, this album is a perfect cross between quantity and quality. Though 8 tracks may not seem like a lot on the surface level, the total run time is almost certainly 50 minutes to an hour… and it’s all good music! There weren’t really any moments on this album that felt phoned in or “meh”.
Speaking of which, back to the tracks! There are a number of high points here. “See The Sun” is quite literally one of them as the length of this track reaches for the sky at a whopping 13+ minutes (okay, okay, yes, I know this is lightweight for the genre but it’s one hell of a track!). “The Vagrant: Inanimate” has some very nice, mathy elements towards the beginning. The set of “The Benign Author” tracks really hammer home that a story is happening if it wasn’t apparent through the fireworks of “Some Call Me Cynical”. “Nihil” won’t be remembered… or at least that’s what the lyrics say. I though it stood out!. In reality, this is all barely scratching the surface of the world this band built on “Prologue”.
Despite some of the heavier themes, there’s actually a good bit of fun on this album. This works well to counteract the sometimes… erm… pretentious nature found in Progressive music. For example, “The Vagrant: Inanimate” has some wonderfully ridiculous segments to add a stupid smile to just about any face. This actually reminded me a bit of Devin Townsend.
The album ends on such a delightful note with “Aperture”. For some reason, it reminds me of the town / general store music you run into playing certain video games (that’s meant in the best way possible) before ringing into a sonically pleasing series of chords and voices to close things out… Before you buy the next book! I personally enjoyed this album a good bit.
However, for the sake of objectivity, it might not be all sunshine and daisies for everyone. Parts may feel like Between The Buried And Me worship (amen!) or like they’re borrowing chapters from other prominent prog units (for educational purposes, of course). But when it’s all said and done, if you enjoy bands along those lines, then congratulations! This is exactly where you want to be!
In terms of production, No Passenger Studio’s Spencer Fox did a knockout job. Likewise, the good sir Spencer Fox also did a fine job on the final mix and master. These tracks are clean without the stench of sterility and allow all the layers to breathe as they should. It feels natural which means it feels right!
Time for the final chapter of this particular review… The World Is Quiet Here debut is really bad at being quiet but remarkably good at just about everything else! This is an impressive outing in general but it’s made that much more impressive by the fact that this is only the beginning. Hard work really does pay off here. My gut is settling somewhere between an 8.5 and a 9 on this one so we’ll mark it up as the greater of two evils. Congratulations on a rock solid first release! Looking forward to what may happen next as The World Is Quiet Here continue down the path of evolution!
Once again, if you wish to give this album as listen, you may do by checking the links above and heading over to Bandcamp where “Prologue” is currently available for streaming and purchase. You can also show the band some love by signing up on their follower lists via Facebook and Instagram. Give these lads a firm pat on the back, will ya?
On a final note… shout out to Isaac’s dad, Rob Stolzer! He’s responsible for the awesome watercolor painting that’s featured as the album art for “Prologue”. You can scope that out just about anywhere on this page or through the links provided. Also, holding that note… Since I finished a recent album review with a Mother’s Day reminder (which is May 13th), don’t forget Father’s Day is next month on Sunday, June 17th! Buy your mom a beer and get your dad some flowers!