Album Review: Stargazer- Tui La

The Pennsylvania Progressive Metal Quintet’s new studio album resonates deep, with beautiful orchestral moments and vicious articulation.

As a pair of ears fresh to Prog Metal, I’m nodding my head in blissful approval to what Tui La has to offer.

The duality between sweet and intense that drew me to Post-Hardcore goes to an entirely different level in Tui La. Bass, keyboard, and even vocals fill completely different rolesl. They play these roles masterfully and create truly complete pieces of art.

The first word that comes to my mind after listening to Tui La is Artful. Stargazer creates a lush and intelligent world without a limiter in this album. The highs and lows reach extreme points with extreme precision, and make their emotional mark consistently.

[tw-toggle title=”About Stargazer”]
Genre: Progressive Metal
Label: Famined Records
Release: August 18, 2017
Connect: Facebook
Purchase: iTunes | Google Play

There’s such a rich diversity in both the clean and unclean vocals.

The emotional weight behind the clean vocals rings clear as a bell throughout the album. The voracious, higher-pitched uncleans syncopate flawlessly with sporadic bass attacks and make for perfectly timed bursts of force.

The low uncleans have a shattering presence. However, they’re perfectly balanced. Each contributing instrument adds to the music rather than dominating it. The harmony between clean vocal parts is another highlight to Tui La. The harmonies bring noteworthy musicianship to Tui La, but the harmonies sometimes come off as abrasive.

That being said, a vast majority of what the vocals do in Tui La hit their mark. The heavy-as-hell lyrics at the end of “The Dream Electric” come at a jaw-dropping pace.

The balance of each song in Tui La is incredible.

The sprawling melodic line, the brutally precise bass, the vocal presence, and the deeply rhythmic percussion interact differently than what I usually see. But Tui La makes brilliant use of their instrumentation. I love seeing the bass have such an important and demanding role. I can’t get over how well the vocals slip into the walls of sound without overshadowing other instruments. That’s a triumph for Stargazer and Tui La.

Their instrumental interlude, “Satellite”, is a tasty, spacey little reprieve from to cleanse the palate. The beginning of “Colorfly” is absolutely gorgeous, and very unlike the rest of the album. “The Dream Electric” is utterly brilliant.

Stargazer – Colorfly Official Stream [FAMINED RECORDS]

Track: Colorfly Album: Tui La, out 8.18.17 Label: Famined Records iTunes: Amazon: Google Play: Spotify: Produced by Shaun & Dylan Werle at The WerleyBird Studios © Famined Records 2017, All Rights Reserved.

There’s so much good to talk about in Tui La.

The soundscapes are vast and complex. Tui La does fantastic at being ambient. The synth always comes in to support the sprawling melody when they’re needed. The variety of vocals is so refreshing, and the music comes off of the score in deliberate touches. The guitars have just the right amount of face-time, and play deliciously tight melodies. I hear a little Animals as Leaders, a little Intervals, and so much more of a distinct flavor, in truly great ways.

Sometimes however, moments between moods in Tui La come without preparation.

Little transitions would be helpful to bring a listener to the space each mood demands. Vocally, there are occasional moments where the vibe doesn’t feel right. In the abundance of key changes in Tui La, a listener can get lost in the sometimes-abrupt changes. Some of the lyrics and vocals, particularly in “Uncertainty Principle”, are a little cringeworthy at the end. The unclean vocal break feels forced, and changes mood a little too quickly. However, the song keeps consistent styles.

The albumcraft of a band is something I always pay attention to. Does Tui La make the cut?

While each song was strong, I felt like the flow between songs wasn’t at the level that separate good albums from great albums. The title tracks “Tui” and “La” could have connected better with each other in my opinion.

Overall, Stargazer’s Tui La captures a plethora of refined sounds with sweltering precision and gorgeous atmosphere.

It’s full of diverse concepts, and artifully constructed from the bottom-up. The melodies are delicious, and the rhythms do exactly what they want to. Occasional miss moments from the vocals and lyrics are there, but they don’t come close to compromising the album. There’s plenty of room for deep listening, ensuring continuity for Tui La.

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