We’ve Seen the Light
Colin Stetson’s New History Warfare, Vol. 3 : To See More Light shines brightly. The opening track, “And in Truth,” is reminiscent of a choir-like ascension preparing the listener for the long, glorious journey ahead. Struggle, growth, and seem to be the recipe in Stetson’s …Volume 3, and he reaches these complexities in most, if not all, of the tracks.
In the beautiful yet raspy “The Hunter,” Stetson’s saxophone evokes Tom Waits after a few drinks and half a pack of cigarettes. The heaviness stomps around in an elephant-like syncopation which is offset by the tribal lion-like roars of the sax. The complexity continues in “High Above a Grey Green Sea,” where Stetson’s playing sounds more like a wild typewriter stamping and clacking– but then the song fades into an ancient drone, accompanied by a distant shout reaching to the ether and beyond. The track then develops a stirring, buzzing sound that is mesmerizing and electric but has a hint of danger, like being too close to the hive.
The slow build of “In Mirrors” flows perfectly into the energetic “Brute,” which opens with a burst, like someone trying to start an old push-mower. An upright bass clacks in the background, complimenting Stetson’s mechanical melody, which climbs into a heavy shriek accented by gruff chanting. It might sound more appropriate for a punk band—and yet it works. “Among the Sef” has a playful melody accented with haunting a vocal reminiscent of—again— Tom Waits.
The title track ”To See More Light,” takes the listener on a journey-within-a-journey through calm tranquility that is constantly interrupted by terror, death, and destruction before reprising to the soft, introductory melody. “What are They doing in Heaven Today?” is the closest track to resemble any semblance of a pop single, with a pleasing vocal melody and straightforward instrumentation. Overall, agony, beauty, melody and dissonance seem to be the recipe for Stetson’s New History Warfare, Vol. 3 : To See More Light, and the result is delicious.