Released this September, Seize the Ocean is the first full album of Littleton-based band 21 Taras, and I can say with conviction that this is one of the finest works of classic hard rock from a local band. There is absolutely no doubt that a huge amount of effort went into making this album.
“Black Iron” and “Hat Trip (Story Of My Life)” offer a strong start to the album; they set the stage for the well structured and flowing rhythms of just about every track. Instruments include an orchestra with guitars instead of violins, an electric bass instead of cellos, and keyboards and drums instead of grand concert pianos. This is where the universal form of this music comes into play; even if the listener doesn’t typically enjoy hard rock, their skills are undeniable.
The album isn’t twelve tracks of straight hard rock though; there are very deliberately placed soft and acoustic spots, such as “Underwater Idol,” “Ache Of April,” “Mayfly” and “Beauty Fades,” all of which share the same flowing rhythms and precise arrangement of the other songs. These are essential to the flow of the listening experience and enjoyment of the work as a whole.
My only gripe with this album is the final track, “Oceanaeco,” which seems to abandon some of the exquisite cadence 21 Taras is so capable of composing. This is not uncommon for rock bands though; Pink Floyd has a number of rather eerie, droning songs which have no clear purpose and can leave the listener a little peeved and its continuous sameness.
That being said, “Oceanaeco” still is an important part of the album and the running motif of oceans throughout it. Seize the Ocean is the kind of album you need to listen to from start to finish all the way through to really appreciate; each song leads into the next, complimenting and accenting certain aspects of each other. Making a fifty song playlist with a couple of these tracks-while not necessarily a bad idea-wouldn’t do the album justice.
Here’s what’s really cool about this band: not only are they based right here in Littleton, CO, but two players attend LHS, lead guitarist James Steinbach and drummer Alec Lister (who also plays keys on tracks 3, 5 and 8).
Seize the Ocean is available on iTunes, bandcamp.com and at various record stores throughout the Denver area, including Angleo’s CD’s and Records on Broadway and Twist and Shout on Colfax.
Complete song list:
- Black Iron
- Hat Trip (Story Of My Life)
- Underwater Idol
- Mystic Signs
- Ache Of April
- Invisible Queen
- Beauty Fades
- Stone Cold
- Seize The Ocean