Album Review: Lucid AfterLife, I Am

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Lucid AfterLife

Who is Lucid AfterLife?

Nathaniel Jack (vocals), Diego Avila (guitar), Kyle Arellano (bass), and Matthew Shearlaw (drums) are known for their genre-bending sound, which mixes metal, hip-hop, and spoken word, among others. The four-piece is revered for their theatrical live performances, consistently captivating audiences on tours across North America. They have released a handful of tracks, as well as an EP, Meltdown. Now, the Vancouver-based progressive rock band gives us a deeper look into the depths of their souls with their new album, I Am.

Funky, introspective, and laced with thick lines and squealing riffs, the eight tracks on Lucid AfterLife’s latest effort play seamlessly, flowing from dark places to lighter ones both sonically and metaphorically.

I Am opens with its title track, with the band affirming their presence through groovy verses and powerful shouts over heavy, hard-hitting riffs. The song, idiosyncratic by way of Rage Against The Machine, descends nicely into “Mother” — a slow-burner with sexy plucks and even sexier female backing vocals.

Lead singer Jack’s spoken word is nothing short of poetic over emotive strums on “A.O. (Alpha Omega),” a track originally released in 2013. Though it’s likely the most well known song off the album, it’s not the biggest highlight — “Lillith”, which follows with a hair-raising guitar solo and pummelling drums, also leaves a great impact as it slowly builds up and down and back again.

I Am’s final three tracks almost act as extensions of each other — whirlwinds of intense emotion with narratives that seemingly pick up where the last left off. “The Price is Right” considers the allure and cost of fame, leading into “Dope’n Dhamma” — another album standout — that has Jack urgently whispering, “everybody’s doped up” over bone-rattling percussion and eerie bass lines that emulate the destructive tendencies that come with celebrity.

“Love Is Beyond” brings the journey to a harmonious close with a nine and a half minute opus of contemplative riffs and atmospheric arrangements. Optimistic lyrics remind us that there’s always light after darkness and suggest that maybe Lucid AfterLife is, like their music, just a beautiful combination of many different things.

Lucid AfterLife’s I Am is available on Bandcamp.

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About the author

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Yasmine Shemesh is a freelance writer who was born in Vancouver and raised on The Rolling Stones.
@yasmineshemesh

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