Starset is at it again with their much anticipated sophomore album Vessels. The Ohio-based quartet, made up of Dustin Bates (vocals and emulator), Ron DeChant (bass, keyboard, backing vocals), Brock Richards (guitar and backing vocals) and Adam Gilbert (Drums), released the new album on Jan. 20 which is jam-packed with fifteen songs that will please old fans and entice new ones.
The self-defined ‘cinematic rock’ band started out back in 2013 by the release of their first single “My Demons” on Oct. 24, before being picked up by the label Razor and Tie and releasing their debut album Transmissions in July, 2014. Bates, who has completed research for the US Air Force and was on track for a PhD in electrical engineering, says that his love for science and astronomy inspired the entire concept behind Starset and the fictional Starset Society, which claims to have received a message from the future pertaining to humans and their use of technology. In reality, Bates wanted to take a unique multimedia approach to rock and roll, combining space, technology and music to create music videos, graphic novels and full length novels to get the band’s “message” across.
“Vessels” intro “The Order” is an attention grabber, and thrusts listeners right into the first song on the record, “Satellite,” a synth-driven, melodic song that sets up well for the rest of the record. The next two songs follow the same love-like theme, with “Frequency” presenting more of an EDM feel, while “Die For You” brings a more traditional Starset sound to it.
The end of “Die For You” leads you smoothly into my personal favorite off the record, ‘Ricochet,’ followed by “Starlight”, a song with unique drum-driven moments. The album then leads into a more mellow, airy mood with “Into The Unknown” and “Gravity of You,” before transitioning into “Back to the Earth”, a unique piece even for Starset that really gives you the feeling of falling back to the Earth. “Last To Fall” is a change-up to a more vocal-heavy song, which then leads to “Bringing it Down” and “Unbecoming”, which are a little more on the rock and roll side of things for Starset. The band’s current single “Monster” is up next, before leading into “Telepathic” and closing off the record with “Everglow,” which is a dreamlike, melodic piece, but ferocious enough to catch the listener and encourage them to listen to the whole album once more.
All around, “Vessels” has something for everyone. You can definitely pick and choose songs depending on what you’re looking for, or you can sit through the whole album and get the full experience. Bates pushes his vocals by ranging from gentle serenades to dirty rock growls scattered throughout. Starset manages to take rock and roll and put a new spin on it, combining the typical vocals, bass, guitar and drums with synthetic, EDM-like sounds to create a new genre of rock and roll. With Vessels, they were able to carry over the sound that made them who they are and put a new spin on it, progressing themselves forward while still staying true to their music. Starset is definitely a rock ‘n’ roll force to be reckoned with.