As a one-man project by singer/songwriter/instrumentalist Michael Wright, The Restitution’s second outing, Into the Dark, is an existential exploration. Blending post-hardcore and progressive rock is how these musings are delivered, and often with incredible depth. The self-produced album was released June 19th, including 10 tracks. Given that this is the band’s second release, there are higher expectations. Let’s take a look at some tracks!
As in most of my reviews, I like to explore the album opener. On this release, the first track, “Swarm”, behaves like a post-hardcore song with a light drizzle of prog on the top. Guitars lilt throughout the song, ebbing and flowing behind the soaring vocals. This song serves a great introduction to the material, ensuring the listener gets a sizable sampling of what’s to come.
The next song on the album is one that I found getting stuck in my head. “Singularity” comes in guns blazing and has one of the catchier choruses on the entire album. This song captures what a fusion of progressive rock and post-hardcore should do. The instrumentation rarely takes its foot off of the gas, which better accommodates the range the vocals go through. It is one of the highlights of the album and shows how well this artist understands the influences that make up the overall sound.
The 10th and final track, “Glimmer”, opens with a heavy dose of ambiance. One of the overall slower tracks – even though there are a few timing changes – it’s a fitting and anthemic conclusion. The lyrics, “But can She break through the miles / Of death and gloom that keep me here”, show a skeptical mind reaching for hope. The markedly subdued closer severs the theme of the record, looking to leave the listeners with their own thoughts.
The fusion of styles works mostly to great effect, but what occasionally misses the mark is matching the instrumentation and the vocal performance. While the music lilts and flows from one passage to another, the vocal delivery often stayed in the same space, which creates a dissonance that brakes the cohesion as a whole. The other point to note is that the vocals sit too far atop of the rest of the mix, spotlighting my aforementioned criticism. The vocal performance itself is in no way lackluster, as Michael Wright has a voice well suited to this style.
While I didn’t love every aspect of this record, there is a lot to love here. Solid song composition, powerful vocals, and thought-inducing lyrics. The flaws pointed out do detract from the listening experience, but are in no way a reason to avoid listening. I look forward to more for The Restitution, and have no doubt that we will see more growth and proficiency in the future.
Notable Tracks: “Singularity”; “Leviathan”; “Glimmer”
FFO: Ninjaspy, Thrice