Seldom Returns With “Black Mirror” EP
Photo: Barry Dolton
I think it’s safe to say that hard rock isn’t something that I’m known for championing. It’s not that I’m not a fan, it’s more that there’s so little of it that’s done correctly. Usually when I hear something from that genre, it feels fraudulent and weak. However, when it comes to the music of Houston’s Seldom, I’ve always found it to be better than the bulk of the genre. Last year they gave us a full length, they’ve been selling out shows all over the place, and it seems like as a band; they’re doing everything right. So when Mitch told me at FPSF this year that they were finishing up an EP to release this year, I wasn’t surprised. That EP, titled “Black Mirror” keeps in line with the previous work from the five piece, while adding more to the mix.
Things kick off with the riff heavy and chunky sounding title track, “Black Mirror.” Though the track begins slowly in the vein of early Metallica, they quickly bring in those chunk heavy riffs while keeping the melody going. When the vocals kick in, the band is on the quieter side of things, and the structure of the song works like it should. The chorus comes in like a hammer to the face where every amp has the gain cranked up. Heading into the second verse, it’s obvious that these guys are more diverse than the bulk of what you’re used to in their music category. They string the song along with more diversity than the bulk of their peers, including pre-recorded backing vocal tracks and a blistering solo that cuts like a knife through soft flesh. They follow this with one of the two standouts on the release, “The Grudge.” They squealing lead guitar that enters from the beginning will continuously find its way in and out of the track, while the vocals set the song’s pace. The drums hit harder than you’re used to while the basslines are intertwined to keep things in order within all of the thick riffs that flow throughout the song. There’s a breakdown on the song towards the end that adds to the depth of the track.
The third song, “Digital Echoes” shows off a side to the band that they seem to really shine on, by going slower. Though I wasn’t a big fan of where the vocals are in the mix, the craft in the guitar work alone is insane. When the chorus drops, the band keeps things on the slower side while still playing at full force. Overall, the move to drop a slower song on the EP was a good one, that pays off throughout the track. They follow this up with the other stand out, “Masquerade,” where the progressive guitar work that zigzags all over the song is intense and masterful. Stepping things up a notch, Seldom adds multiple rhythms and chord progressions that make the song sometimes feel like a train that’s about to come off the rails. The way in which the drums keep the song on track with guitars feeling like they’re coming from all directions, and the addition of screamo vocals in the background behind the regular vocals is something on a whole new level that these guys pull off without a hitch. They close out the EP with a more moderate stride, with the song, “Marionette.” Though the progressive riffs and complicated drum work is on this track as well, the song doesn’t have the chaos of the previous one. The band does well by keeping things hard and direct, which is their strong suit, and what sets them apart from the general weaknesses of the genre.
When it’s all done, the EP commands another listen, as it holds the hard rock world up to higher standards. The heavy riffs, the complex drums, the masterful guitar and bass work, and the strong vocals showcase how strong this band is. You can get your own copy of “Black Mirror” when Seldom performs their EP release party at Warehouse Live on Saturday, August 28th. The all ages show in the studio has doors at 6:00, and tickets between $5.00 and $25.00, the latter being a VIP option that includes a shirt and a signed copy of the EP.