As I get older and write more and more for Heavy Blog Is Heavy, the thing that keeps me motivated is to hear how music is changing. As a 30-something dude, it’s really cool to hear how bands that were huge to me 20 years ago are now having a huge influence on bands coming out now. You always hear about how your favorite artists were influenced by bands before them, but you never quite have that perspective until it’s a band you really love. We all get flashes of that all the time, but it’s becoming more and more real and apparent to me now. Keep this thought in mind as we go through the latest from North Carolina’s Bask.
Asheville’s Bask makes an interesting combination of rock music on the spacey side of life. It’s an interesting combination of stoner and desert rock with progressive elements and Americana songwriting. Once that gets through the meat grinder, it comes out sounding like a little bit of a lot of things but nothing specifically but themselves. It’s really exactly what you want from a musical artist: a group of people creating their own sound that isn’t aping anyone. The latest record, III, has all of that in spades.
What I can hear is a great combination of the best of the early 90s grunge movement and Tool. There are moments where there is that distinctly American grunge songwriting that’s very accessible. You can almost hear the alternative radio morning zoo show forming around it. Then there will be a dramatic shift into these moments of shoegazing progressive moments where the riffs and melodies are spaced out a bit. You can hear the song kind of breaking down a little while then being built up into those huge moments of dramatic release. It’s these ebbs and flows that keeps you engaged and guessing where the record can go next.
On Bask’s Bandcamp page, the band describes their music thusly: “we want rhythm heard for miles, melodies remembered for weeks and an honesty and sincerity felt to your bones.” No amount of words could put it more succinctly. III is the exemplar of this ethos. There are rhythms that will keep your heading bobbing along long past the final notes of “Maiden Mother Crone”. The melodies and riffs have that certain special something that echoes through your mind for hours on end. Nothing about this record is forced or pretentious at all. This is quite simply just four dudes from North Carolina who are expressing themselves in an honest way and aren’t trying to be something they’re not.
This all gets to the heart of III. It is the representation of the artist creating. It clearly has a whole lot of recognizable pieces that come together to be greater than the sum of its parts. As a result, Bask becomes one of those bands that you describe to your friends like, “You’ll just have to hear them.” It is a vibrant and lush record from a band continuing to forge their own path. This is the kind of band you want to see grow. Join the party now.
III drops November 8th via Season of Mist, and is available for pre-order on the band’s Bandcamp page.