|1. ||Procession Of The Dancing Dusk (Part I)
|2. || Star-lit Soliloquy
|3. || The Shedding Skin
|4. || Alcor And Mizar
|5. || Penumbra
|6. || Procession Of The Dancing Dusk (Part II)
||SINKING STEPS RISING EYES
CD | INIT-18
Sinking Steps...Rising Eyes present their long awaited debut full length, a collection of songs, it's more inline with a musical composition; with traces of their roots in hardcore. Clocking in at over 40 minutes, the album feels organic and life like, songs seem to have personality. Vocals are few but each song seems to speak volumes. The album is as brutal as it is serene, with comparisons to bands like Denali, (a less heavy) Isis, Mogwai, and the Blackheart Procession. The songs are crafted with guitar, bass, piano/keys, flute, melodica, vocals and drums.
So back in winter 2003/2004, every Wednesday night a bunch of kids would go bowling in Sioux Falls and I would often meet up and bowl with them. It was at these bowling nights where I was able to get to know Eli and Brogan from Sinking Steps Rising Eyes better. Brogan kept telling me to release his band's CD, as they were left without a CD after the label that was going to release it went under. Eli was a bit less pressuring about it and burned me a copy of the recording and told me he didn't know if I would be into it, but if I was, they were looking for someone to help put it out. At first I expected to not like it, truthfully, but was going to help them put it out because they were awesome kids, but once I listened to it a few times, it really grew on me, and I told them I'd put it out because they were cool kids and I dug the CD.
"This is a newer band from South Dakota thats signed onto the independent label Init Records. Ever since I first heard this band, I knew there was something very interesting about them. It may have been the odd mix of female vocals, screaming, guitars, a keyboard, flute, and a melodica. Their cd "Majestic Blue" is a very experimental album. I think that they did a great job creating the sound they were going for. They accomplished to make a sound that cant really fit well into a specific style of music. Their sound is very raw but has a very nice flow and feel to it. There is more music than vocals, which gives it a more intellectual sound. One song on the album called "Procession Of The Dancing Dusk (part II)" is over ten minutes long and apparently is the conclusion to the introduction of the cd as well as the end of the cd. The song has a piano solo that leaves you with a serene feeling that enlightens your thoughts. All of the songs on the cd flow together so smoothly its almost like one epic song that switches moods at unexpected times. This is an album that will leave you thinking."- Dave Darr
"This is really beautiful music. It reminds me of Mogwai or Isis' "Oceanic" with even more instruments; I'm a sucker for pianos. This definitely has an indie rock feel but it can get super heavy and screamy. It's moody. I'm very interested to see how this band evolves. The woman that sings in this band has a beautiful voice but the screaming doesn't work for me. This is very atmospheric sleey time music."- Dave Hall
Bread And Paper #1:
"Everything about this CD is just plain beautiful. The slick, calming graphic design of the CD fits the sound well. The only distraction to this release for me is that I think the lyrics are mostly Christian themed and I tend not to agree with or value much in that sphere of thought. They don't seem to be preachy or anything, I just personally have sucj a negative attitude towards religion that I don't want to hear anything about it. But that's just me and it's entirely possible that I'm misinterpreting the lyrics anyway. The music is absolutely gorgeous with the traditional drums/guitar/bass as well as keyboards, violin, flute, and something called a melodica (?). The music is atmospheric and extremely powerful and at times overwhelming. SSRE have mastered the effect of the buildup and slowly bring calm gentleness to huge climaxes and wander back down only to hit you again with a part of epic proportions. The vocals incorporate male and female singing with screaming. The singing is all well done and really complements the different emotions and intensities of the music. The screaming is mixed in so that it sounds far away which makes it all the better as far as I can see. The demale singer's voice is at times comparable to the singer from Denali. One comparison to SSRE is Richmond VA's GREGOR SAMSA, though SSRE get way heavier and more intense. Highly recommended."- Nevin Marshall
"What a cool little CD! Really nice mostly instrumental space rock, the likes of KINSKI. They pack in guitars, keyboards, flutes (!), violin, and percussion into a swell of sound. It gets a little less stunning when the vocals come in, but overall it's good."- Laura Davis
"Out of the ashes of a screamo band comes SINKING STEPS...RISING EYES; a 5 piece that combines the harshness of TAKEN FROM YOU with the melodic yet unique sounds of SUFFERING & THE HIDEOUS THIEVES, VELOUR 100, and BLACK HEART PROCESSION. Sinking Steps pretty much takes ambience and mixes it here and there with some hardcore elements. Erin Toft (vocals) sings with passion and beauty, and yes, Erin is a female. Sinking Steps aren't an ETTISON CLIO or BLOODLINED CALIGRAPHY type band though...don't worry! They are more or less like life...as they do delight the senses most of the time yet still are easily transformed into bitter abrasiveness. Another element that adds a lot to their overall sound are the keyboards and synthesizers. On one song, the lovely sound of a flute can even be heard. Oooo! Ahhh! I guess why I enjoy this CD so much is because of its overall amount of originality. I've never heard anything quite like it and I am extremely excited for them and their future. I know I've said this for other bands but I've never meant it to this extreme...somone needs to sign these guys! They are sure to explode. Oh and one more thing, EPITONIC sure as heck needs to give them a listen. So many bands fail in comparison."- Ryan Fairfield
"Although Sinking Steps...Rising Eyes come from the hardcore scene, other than the atypical vocalist Erin Toft, and its shouts of screamo no one would notice. Majestic Blue is a really innovative disc, where they gamble more with experimentation whose primary target is the creation of atmosphere that surrounds the listener. They are not afraid to use unusual instruments either, like the flute or the piano, or at times creating a contrast between the sweet feminine voice and the rabid masculine howls that seem to recreate the continuous fight between hope and desperation. Something that is much more clear when listening to the lyrics is the clear references to religion. Sinking Steps...Rising Eyes appears like a groups that moves away from the conventional and towards something that can satisfy the most anxious public. Recommended if you like: The Grand Silent System, Zyon, Envy"- (translated by Titus Haug)
"Despite the broad backlash that has accompanied the increasing popularity of post-rock, those with a weakness for the stuff just can't seem to get enough. Most of us started with Mogwai, then we shimmed up the ladder rung-by-rung, stopping by Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Canadian fortress of solitude, Tortoise's multi-faceted toolshed, and, more recently, Explosions In The Sky's castle of clean, bi-guitar consistency. But a new sector of the genre has emerged from the muck of all things metal to bridge the gap between Slint and the Mevlins. Call it doom, dirge, or post-metal, these slow-building bands are following the lead of pioneers such as Sleep, Earth, and Boris. Technically skirting along the lines of Isis and Red Sparowes more than straight-up rising-action rock or guttural sludge, Sinking Steps seek diversions of all denominations to better communicate their apparent dread, and their sound is both unique and familiar. The screams unsheathed by vocalist/melodica player Brandon Dejong are much more satisfying than the cavalier crowing of Aaron Turner, and Erin Toft's lovely singing cuts down on the easy-cheese that often squirts out when heavy bands try to flip things up with a gentler brand of melody. This six-track effort is ambitious, rough around the edges, and absolutely entrancing, each offering topping the last until album-closer "Procession Of The Dancing Dusk (Part II)" shoos away any staragglers. Extracting life from a template that is already becoming rote with multiple interpretations, Majestic Blue is a must for bored Neurosis devotees, post-rock revelers, and doom dudes alike."- Grant Purdum
"Sioux Falls, South Dakota's Sinking Steps...Rising Eyes were a band that never got their due. Their 2004 EP, Majestic Blue, is one of the best records ever released by one of the best bands almost no one outside of the upper Midwest is ever likely to have heard. Having recently played their last show, it's likely to stay that way too, and that is a shame.
Attempting to summarize this band's sound in words is not an easy task. They blended so many different sounds together with little concern for conventional genre boundaries that trying to pin down any specific influences or points of reference can be a challenge. While their work prior to this was much more straight-forward screamo/hardcore, Majestic Blue tones that down a bit in favor of a more piano-driven indie rock sound. If you were to imagine the heavy, progressive sensibilities of Isis mixed with Murder By Death and combined with alternating male and female vocals, you'd be halfway there.
Brandon Dejong's tortured screams wouldn't have sounded out of place on a Circle Takes the Square or Pg. 99 record, and are in stark contrast to Erin Toft's far more delicate and melodic voice. The two work incredibly well together though, and the contrast between them is breathtaking. Their poetic lyricism is also another highlight, painting a picture of a life spent at sea. It's an odd theme for a band that hailed from a place far from anything you could call an ocean, but it works.
Every song on here has an amazing sense of flow to it, with one track leading seamlessly into the next. It's the kind of record you can just put in, sit back, and allow to wash over you without skipping from song to song. From the soft keys that open up "Procession of the Dancing Dusk (Part I)" to the drum segue between "Alcor and Mizar" and "Penumbra," each song on Majestic Blue is extremely well-connected to the one before it. The band was also a seven-piece unit at the time this was recorded, and they made good use of their numbers by incorporating unconventional instrumentation. "Star-Lit Soliloquy" opens up with a lone acoustic guitar before a meandering flute melody creeps in. They continue to add layer after layer of drums, guitars, and pianos until the song sounds absolutely huge.
Majestic Blue is a fine example of how a band can be heavy yet soft, complex yet simplistic, dark yet beautiful. Fans of anything from Isis to Vedera to I Would Set Myself on Fire for You will probably be able to find a lot to like here, and would do well to look into this soon before it gets swept into total obscurity. A hidden gem if ever there was one." (five stars out of four)