Daniel Cece

Hot Off the Press: Night Verses - "Every Sound Has A Color in the Valley of Night"

Music Scene Media
Apr 5, 2024
4 min read
Album Art via Night Verses' Bandcamp

It isn't often that we see an album released in two or more parts, making it a treasured oddity whenever an artist or band defies the traditional release structure fans have come to know and expect. In the case of Night Verses' (partially) new record, Every Sound Has a Color in the Valley of Night, the second half finally followed its predecessor a whopping six months later, allowing ample time for listeners to ruminate on Act One while leaving them desiring the remainder to round it out. One could speculate many reasons for segmenting what would otherwise be a cohesive full-length album, and that's just it – while all 14 tracks each serve as their own unique color along the metaphorical spectrum of light that comprises the whole, each half possesses an individual, varying degree of warmth that ends up above or below a melting/freezing point. As such, the first half possesses qualities that are fundamentally different from the second, yet flow together in sequence like notes on a piano or seasons across a year. This isn't to say that each song gets progressively slower or softer, or even evolves throughout in some linear way – rather that Night Verses crafted two autonomous, justified experiences that happen to be shaped such that they chain together akin to a DNA's double-helix.

Part One of Every Sound Has a Color in the Valley of Night is what I consider to be the "warmer" of the two, with the majority of the runtime possessing sections that more often than not, are sonically vibrant, uptempo, and where there is a consistent kinetic energy present, albeit one that tends to fade in and out with the songs' oscillating dynamics. The percussion, lead work, and rhythms gradually begin to shift from their signature brand of organized mayhem to more comprehendible, digestible song structures and melodies – the full range of their temperatures does not get constricted, however, with levels of intensity and heaviness still occasionally rearing their heads even if the songs themselves aren't quite as chaotic or inflammatory.

There is an abundance of guitar work that brands itself on you, ranging from white-hot outbursts of abrasive, seemingly atonal calamities to slow burns that beckon you into an entranced daze where you can comfortably lose yourself. All the while, the same subatomic pulse reliably and dutifully remains steadfast as it has been from its inception point, never wavering despite the ever-changing continuum expanding around it. Never is there a point that reaches boiling; as close as the musicians in Night Verses allow themselves to get to total unhinged disorder – or even excessive sensory overstimulation – they have a sense of "how much is too much".

They are grounded in even their more outlandish experimentation, a trait which is innate in their very being as writers and is one of the many things that sets them apart, even in the Progressive space. They aren't afraid to toe the line, however, doing so tastefully and purposefully, albeit avant-garde, to say the least. If they do take it upon themselves to jostle the auditory molecules past a point that might be uncomfortable for a particular brand of listener, they skillfully administer techniques to rein it all in before the burns become third-degree.

The most docile point in Part One sets the stage for what is to come in Part Two, but not in such a way that challenges or contradicts the rest of the music up until that point. The "warmer" initial fraction of the album doesn't wrap up with a mere flicker as one might expect as it transitions into its companion but rather descends into a sort of twilight sequence, serving both as the end of one cycle and, in the broader context of the full album, the beginning of another. Night Verses presents the tail end of the record with similar grit and passion, one last solar flare of the rescinding sun before it fades below the horizon. Part Two is the more straightforward of the pair, though it is not without its complexities and intricacies that leave listeners peeling away the layers time and time again.

Poignant melodies are always at the heart of their pieces; they are applied here in a manner resembling that of soundscapes, intended to gradually coalesce into an atmosphere or environment rather than simply serve as a traditional verse or chorus along a predictable song structure. This is a familiar archetype of Night Verses' music throughout their discography, but Part Two unpacks this fervently unlike ever before, allowing them to explore various new interpretations and dimensions of this concept – not just experimental for experiment's sake, but rather a long-awaited opportunity to delve deeper into uncharted waters. There is so much soul and sentiment in the second half of the record that would not have had as much impact had Night Verses not cooled their flair down to let it properly shine.

There are messages in all of the songs on Every Sound Has a Color in the Valley of Night, but the subtle voices within those on Part Two offer an extra layer of storytelling, depth, and perspective that make them resonate distinctively from those in Part One. Being an instrumental band means filling in the gap where vocals and lyrics would normally reside, something Night Verses has been known for expertly accomplishing since their very first EP. This album, however, does utilize the talent and timbre of several iconic singers whose voices blend in with the ethereal, textural tones Night Verses employs, including Incubus' own Brandon Boyd and Anthony Green of Circa Survive & Saosin (Justin Chancellor, the bassist of Tool, is on a track as well!).

Night Verses chisels their sections down to the bone, selecting each note and phrase with utmost intent and purpose to best convey the emotions, concepts, and sceneries that flow out from what it was that initially inspired them. The songs on Part Two bleed with certain transmundane properties capable of unlocking and stimulating the mind, a peculiar magic found only within music that is not simply intended to be heard – or even listened to – but plunged into with all of one's senses and done so with an intent to breathe deeply once submerged. As the sun sets towards the end of Every Sound Has a Color in the Valley of Night, the breathtaking night sky that has formed around the listener becomes intoxicatingly illuminated, delicately at first, before the stars themselves draw closer and closer, engulfing the horizon in spectacular radiance where the cycle of fire and ice begins again. Much like the title suggests, every sound on this album does have its own corresponding palate of colors, some of which lie on wavelengths you'll just have to hear to believe.

FFO: Cloudkicker, Car Bomb, Haunted Shores, The Helix Nebula, Unprocessed, Strawberry Girls, Meshuggah, Chon

Overall Rating: 9/10

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