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The Reticent “On the Eve of A Goodbye” Album Review

Genre: Metal: Progressive Metal
Released by: Heaven and Hell Records
Release date: October 5th, 2016

Tracklist:
1. 24 Hours Left
2. The Girl Broken
3. The Hypocrite
4. 19 Hours Left
5. The Comprehension
6. The Confrontation
7. The Apology
8. 10 Hours Left
9. The Mirror’s Reply
10. The Postscript
11. 2 Hours Left
12. The Decision
13. Funeral For A Firefly
14. The Day After
15. For Eve

All instruments and vocals performed by Chris Hathcock
except the following:

Narration by Carl Hathcock, Juston Green, and Amanda Caines
Female vocals by Amanda Caines
French Horn by Dr. Nicholas Kenney
Trombone and Trumpet by Matthew Parunak
Tenor Saxophone by Andrew Lovett

 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it: music is supposed to illicit some type of emotion within you. If it doesn’t then that music is a failure. Even if that emotion is deep seeded hatred, it has still made you feel something. It amazes me how so many bands fail to realize the importance of feel in music- it’s a key component. Some albums just hang there in the ether, lifeless and purposeless. There are other albums that are out there to simply make one feel good, have a great time with friends and offer a party atmosphere.

I enjoy those records because as important as feeling, music should also bring joy to not only the musicians, but the listeners. Then there are albums that illicit such visceral, guttural, and raw emotions, where it is almost hard to listen to the album because each note cuts your very soul, yet the pain is such sweet release that you keep on, and return multiple times to it. Those are my favorite and it’s been a truly long time since an album pierced my heart, soul, and mind as equally, as harshly, as emotionally as the upcoming album from the band The Reticent called On the Eve of Goodbye.

Reticent Album Article Framed

It doesn’t matter what your opinion is about the subject of suicide (selfish act of a coward or the only way out for a tortured soul) it certainly leaves a lasting impact on so many lives left behind by the individual that has committed the act. Grammy nominated mastermind behind The Reticent Chris Hathcock tapped into some very deep, primal, and torturous experiences he has endured since the tragic loss of his childhood friend Eve to suicide. Not so much an album as it is a chronicle of the day before, the day of, and the days after the loss of Eve, the album should be taken as a whole. Yes, it is broken down into songs, and yes taken individually the songs are phenomenal, musically heading into different territory than The Reticent has before, but the story told throughout must be absorbed as such to truly get the full impact. Instead of predominantly ethereal, atmospheric music or even acoustic stuff, On the Eve of Goodbye is not only his most intense album emotionally, it is musically much heavier than his past material.

Some of the tracks are separated by some spoken word pieces, narrations that carry on the story, delivered by three different people. As for the songs, the one most people will talk about will be “Funeral For A Firefly.” This is the track that Hathcock had an emotional breakdown in the studio while recording it and had to stop, fearing he was going to be forced to scrap the song. Producer Jamie King suggested otherwise, and together have created one of the most intense songs I believe I have ever heard in my life. There have been songs of love lost that have made me tear up, and even a band like Into Eternity with their album The Incurable Tragedy dealing with the loss of Stu Block’s mother to cancer made for a very tough listen, but the bare emotional outpouring, the pure pain and agony of the realization that his friend was gone forever, the conveyance of this despair into this song…I cried. You can’t help but want to comfort Hathcock, to take away his pain, but you know that is something only he is able to do through the song, hell through the whole album. It is an amazing song, however tracks like “The Confrontation,” “The Hypocrite,” “The Decision,” and “The Day After” are just as important to his musical catharsis. I also have to say the inclusion of former Tattermask singer Amanda Caines to perform the vocal parts as Eve was outstanding. Their voices blended perfectly- hauntingly perfect in fact.

I’m pretty sure I just listened to the album of the year for me. Out of so many brilliant albums I have had the pleasure to listen to this year, none of had the impact on me on this many levels. It satisfied my desire for cerebral musicianship and writing, it quelled my need for emotional sustenance, and it moved me in ways nothing has in many years.

This is an album that deserves, no, demands your attention, your patronage, your undivided attention. My first listen I sat in stunned silence, hit so hard by the passion, care, love, and desire to tell his story so much with On the Eve of Goodbye. This is not a feel-good album, nor was it intended to be. When handling such delicate and painful a subject as suicide there is no way to avoid getting punched in the guts. I always feel somewhat guilty reviewing albums by bands that I have been a fan of for ages and/or am friends with. I am quite proud to call Chris Hathcock (and many of the other folks attached to this band that I have been lucky enough to meet) as a friend. I feel guilty because what if I don’t like their music and give it a bad mark. Will that tarnish that friendship? Or what if it is known, my connection to a band whether as a friend or fan, and I give it high marks, do people think I’m just being too nice? I feel zero guilt in anything I have said about this album.

The all too humble Hathcock rarely accepts praise for the amazing work he has done in the past with The Reticent, but this is an album that is utterly amazing start to finish, and a piece of work he should be absolutely proud of. Yes, there will be others comparing his music to different bands (Tool is a band often bandied about as a comparison, I myself have done so) but frankly I think The Reticent offer much more than any other band making music even close to this. If you have never heard of The Reticent I implore you to get On the Eve of Goodbye. It will be a tough album to listen to, but it will captivate you, move you, like no other album.

Reviewer: Chris Martin

Rating: 10/10

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