Starset, a band that emerged onto the scene with such a gargantuan presence, came out earlier on this year with an album known as Vessels. Now, as of recently, they have a novel as well as a graphic novel known as Prox Transmissions made in collaboration with Marvel! In other words, the impact this band has made in the few short years they have been around has been nothing less than incredible. I myself discovered them in 2014 at Rocklahoma, and knew from that moment they were gonna go somewhere, and boy did they. Well, in celebration of their graphic novel’s recent release, here is a review of Vessels, Starset’s second album.
With the last album Transmissions we encountered a lot of play on sound, atmosphere, instrument work, and even the vocals. With Vessels, the same is applied, but the production value went up even higher, and you can really hear it stand out. Vessels starts out with The Order, a nice instrumental that sets you up as you reach the next track Satellite. Satellite is a song that takes some very nice electronic sounds and mixes it in with fantastic instrumental work and wondrous melodies that carry with the song. Next we move into Frequency, a song that has very hard hitting, but softly impacting, tones accompanied by a piano playing some keys that blend with some more electronic work. Frequency, while not exploring too much as vocally as the last track, is still soothing, up until the breakdown with intense vocals. Oh yeah, there’s a breakdown, with some heavy sounds accompanying it. That’s something I like to see a lot in this album, the evolution that was just right. Nothing too much was drastically changed, but, nevertheless, there were changes. Die For You is a track that will get you ready for whatever the day has set your way. Its gotten this powerful aura around it that is just backed by even more headbang filled riffs and progressions. Not to mention, the symphonic work on this is great, as they are in other songs on Vessels as well. Then, when all is said and done, we are led out with a peaceful little melody that leads into Ricochet. This song liked to definitely play with electronic work, beat wise and vocally as well. This track is pretty steady and concise. Mellow verses met with powerful yet still mellow choruses, not too shabby whatsoever. Starlight, is a track we come to that takes a bit more of a electronic pop sort of feel. Not anything bad or wrong with that though, as it makes the track exceedingly bouncy and fun for any listener. With Into The Unknown, we find Tesseract’s little brother, and man, is he playing fiercely, but elegantly. Not too much to say on that track, other than if you like a bit of djent/prog, you’ll have a good time. Gravity of You is the track you’d want to listen to if you just wanted to lose yourself in a song, there is so much going on, but it all meshes, so it comes out wonderfully. Back to The Earth is filled with much of Dustin’s voice being manipulated lately by his effects that he uses to make a sort of transmission radio sounding vocal track for the song that compliments nicely the orchestrated instruments playing in the background. Last to Fall is the same way, but just more electronic beats and hard hitting drum work. A real powerhouse of a song to say the least, taking breaks with some verses and pre-choruses that lead back to the chaos of sound that’s generated. Bringing It Down, is somewhat reminiscent of last album’s track Carnivore in some of the progressions put in, while making it still a track of its own message, heart, and sound. Unbecoming is the track that starts to cool down the tone that’s been apparent within all the recent tracks of Vessels, but only for but a moment. The track leads into the track Monster, possibly the most popular track on the album. It’s a track for legitimately any time, anywhere. There is no scenario where this song couldn’t make some sort of impact on the listener that got them up and pumped with energy. This track is probably the track that sound the most like something from Transmissions. Second to last track, we have Telepathic. This track is also one of those tracks that are very poppy with the way it was created with some nice build ups to just energize the atmosphere surrounding the track. Everglow is where our journey through this album ends. The track is filled with a somber feeling with very mellow electronics beats that play in and out as the track continues on with Dustin’s voice being used a lot more softly. If there was anything described as a ballad on this album, this would be it.
Vessels as a whole, instrumentals, vocals, production value, songwriting, all of it was stellar and perfect. There isn’t a track on this album that doesn’t end up being a meaningless song, all of them have purpose. The tracks all have reason and presence. Vessels speaks for itself on multiple scales. If you haven’t already, go and listen to it. It is definitely one of the top best albums this year, and also don’t forget that they do a have a graphic novel now, so, if you would like to keep up with the lore of the Starset Society, head on over to a bookstore, or Amazon Kindle, and get yourselves some novels written by Dustin himself. I already bought my copy, and I can tell you, it is worth it. Not to mention, it supports the band, and it supports a band that inspires other bands to come into fruition. With that being said, if you ever are a band starting out, or artist, take a look at Starset. Hard work and determination, with a side of following your dreams will take you places you can’t even imagine.
Album Score: 9.5/10