To say By Design is ambitious is an understatement. Having released one of the biggest sounding albums to come out of Newcastle in 2012 ‘Spaces’, the band seemed to be ready to take over the world but then… nothing. Then band had gone MIA and after watching the documentary which is now live on their website wearebydesign.co all is revealed. Covering everything from the beginnings of the band to Jayson Evans’ (founding member) battle with depression that brought everything to halt, the documentary also covers the re-ignition of the band and creation of Reanimator, an album and short story depicting one mans struggle to find happiness on a foreign planet despite creatures inhabiting said planet attempting to prevent this. Which brings you to the next part of my ramblings, the review of Reanimator.
The album kicks off with a spoken word piece telling the beginnings of the story and giving you a little insight into what so expect story wise (all which will be revealed within the short story). The cinematic music behind this spoken word gradually builds as it seamlessly blends into the second track ‘Recreate/Reestablish’. Forcefully yet pleasantly the riff makes its way into the listeners ears with Jayson Evans new found vocal strength giving it an extra punch and sets the tone for the rest of the album.
It is not just the first two songs that flow so perfectly into each other though, this can be heard all throughout the album as Recreate/Reestablish creates a perfect path to ‘Only You’, one of this reviewers highlights of the album. Originally meant for Guitarist/Vocalists Dylan Booth’s solo endeavors, ‘Only You’, got a By Design make over with a ballsy riff and shared vocals between Booth and Evans. The addition of the time signature change halfway through and the Muse-esque bridge with an ear pricking guitar solo are just the icing on the cake.
As I continue through the album I find myself gritting my teeth in anticipation as I’m never sure as to where the album will take me. The conflicting musical elements of ‘Flow Motion’ somehow work so brilliantly together. Musically it is one of the heaviest on the album whilst vocally calm and unaggressive.
Another highlight for me on this album is the instrumental/cinematically brilliant ‘On The Edge of Heaven’. For a song to evoke such emotion from me with out a vocal melody is something special. Dynamically it builds and falls taking the listener on a journey through the different elements that make up By Design such as Levi Dallen’s ability to hit the drums with such an impact you need to reattach your ears to the haunting and subtle keys.
Speaking of Dallen’s drumming ability, the rhythm section consisting of Dallen and bassist Brent Ebeling is something to not be ignored. Best displayed on ‘Leviathan’, not only do both instruments do the solid job they’re known for, being the back bone to the band and complimenting each other, but they both shine individually with Ebeling getting a tone out of his bass that not only moves your soul but your bowels.
Trying to find a flaw in this album is impossible. From the flawless way the songs flow into one another, the bands bigger and more intricate sound and the ability to tell such an epic story through even more epic songs By Design have taken it’s aforementioned ambition and have used it to create not just an album but an experience.
Reanimator the album and short story will both be released for FREE this Saturday 28th of March (Just after midnight Friday) at wearebydesign.co