Born by BirthRelease date: July 15, 2022
Label: Bad Omen Records
Last year during the hot, hot summer here in the state of Texas something extraordinary happened. During one of my morning walks I listened to one of the most ear-listening groups coming out of San Diego. That band is called Birth. This is a group that has taken the prog-rock genre to a whole other level by giving it a real kick in the gut like no other.
What took me by surprise was that it was a mixture from various bands including; Astra, Psicomagia, Sacri Monti, and Radio Moscow. Bassist Trevor Mast, drummer Thomas DiBenedetto (Paul plays the opening title-track), guitarist Brian Ellis, and vocalist / keyboardist Conor Riley. When they released their sole self-titled EP debut, I gave it a glowing review here on Echoes and Dust.
Now we’re in the melting sun section of July in time of its release with the band’s full-length studio debut on the Bad Omen label entitled, Born. While Astra was one of the bands that caught my eye thanks to the very first issue of PROG Magazine 13 years ago, Birth is continuing Astra’s legacy by finishing where they left off from The Black Chord ten years ago.
Born is like an enormous hallucinated flower ready to be bloomed at any second to reveal its true power in front of the entire public that they never seen before with parallel worlds that are about to be explored. And as Elizabeth from BioShock Infinite once said, “We all swim in different shores, but land on the same shore.”
Just as the title-track begins, Marrone goes for the jugular on his drum kit with Riley’s keyboards soaring through the Moog and Mellotron, taking us on this exhilarating roller-coaster ride of unbelievable stories that are ready to be told. Ellis uses his guitar by setting the controls on their spaceship by visiting various planets with mysterious passageways.
Creating tidal-waving vibes from Genesis’ Selling England by the Pound, P.F.M., and the Meddle-era of Pink Floyd, Birth’s music has only just begun. ‘Descending Us’ is an epic psychedelia opera brought to life. With mournful acoustics and sliding guitar vibes between Riley and Ellis, there’s something traumatic behind this song as you can imagine the king in his paranoid way.
Not only he lost his family and friends, but he’s going ballistic in the midsection trashing his entire palace in the Deep Purple twist with terrifying results. Ellis howls at the moon through his solo, knowing that the King is already doomed, and the only way to get out is to take his own life.
‘For Yesterday’ opens the book up by continuing where Le Orme’s Felona E Sorona climatic ending ‘Ritorno Al Nulla’ had followed. It becomes this wasteland of something horrible had happened in this once great utopian city, filled with madness, chaos, blood, and decay.
Birth sets up the aftermath with Riley setting up this carousel nightmare as he visions of this once beautiful city, has now turned into a civil war with no white flag raising for surrender. ‘Cosmic Tears’ becomes this mid-attack warning range as Birth channel Krautrock maestros Amon Düül II, Hawkwind, Magma, and Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti-era thrown into the blender to make their own hallucinogenic smoothie!
It takes on this whole attitude of going through time and space as Riley’s organ gives Mast a chance to come in by creating his own walking bass motif. From Traffic’s 11-minute opus ‘The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys’, I can vision the United Artists label signing Birth during the early ‘70s to be a part of the underground scene with The Groundhogs, High Tide, and Welsh group, Man.
‘Another Time’ sees another bloody aftermath, but with brutal arrangements between keyboards, drums, and bass creating this total annihilation from the chaos that’s occurred. There’s a sense of loss, hope, and to move forward, but the giant scar they will have on the back of their necks, will be with them for the rest of eternity.
‘Long Way Down’ sees Birth returning once more to honour the Zeuhl masters from the Üdü Ẁüdü-era with a slithering attack. Later on in the composition it becomes a dangerous climatic tightrope walk that Birth has created. It goes into a manic mellotron frenzy by transforming into the dance of death with no stop sign for the dancers until one of them drops towards their doom.
Birth’s debut album is like an adventure worth exploring. And they have brought out the big guns to unleash this killer sound that’ll make your mind go into this jaw-dropping experiment waiting to happen!