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Red Sparowes 

At the Soundless Dawn

Wednesday, Nov 9 2005
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Comprised of members of Isis, Neurosis, Pleasure Forever, and Angel Hair, Red Sparowes are an L.A.-based instrumental outfit that performs scores for movies that haven't yet been made, or a symphony orchestra from 1960 reincarnated as a pack of gloomy metalheads. On At the Soundless Dawn, they unpretentiously combine elements of metal, progressive rock, and 20th-century classical music, alternately employing gently strummed, monolithic riffing, harmoniously distorted electric guitars, eerily sighing pedal steel guitar, judicious feedback, atmospheric keyboards and bass, and drums that boom like a storm in the distance. In the manner of minimalists, the Sparowes cyclically repeat massive, cinematic-sounding melodic motifs perfect for watching a red-tinted sunset or a fogbank making its way down Geary Street ("Mechanical Sounds Cascaded Through the City Walls and Everyone Reveled in Their Ignorance"). Such idyllic reveries are shattered by hammer-of-the-gods eruptions and masses of sustained, tortured tones pleading like a hell-bound choir for deliverance ("A Brief Moment of Clarity Broke Through The Deafening Hum, but it was too Late"), before relief comes via strains of comforting minor-key twang ("Our Happiest Days Turn Into Dust"). If the Rapture transpires within their collective lifetime, Red Sparowes will likely be tapped to provide its soundtrack.

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Mark Keresman

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