Tigerface – Out of the Dark

The darkness. An atmosphere of continual blindness, lostness, depression, and hopelessness. In the modern world, very few of us experience true darkness in actuality–light is the flip of a switch or press of a button away. But almost everyone has felt a spiritual darkness at some point in life, and knows that getting out isn’t just the flip of a switch or press of a button. It’s a journey.

Capturing this concept is a truly challenging task, and its this formidable undertaking that    Tigerface takes on with Out of the Dark. Tigerface rocks the right kind of sound for it. With a pulse pounding beat, steady velocity, and electric currents of guitar and bass feeding the vibrant vocals, Tigerface has all of the staples needed in your average rock band.

What allows them to pull it all off, however, is the ambition of the electronic soundscape that carries throughout. Keyboardist Ari Epstein doesn’t just provide the bells and whistles, but contributes to a layered and powerful soundscape to be reckoned with. His partners on Out of the Dark are lead singer and guitarist Chris Ertz, drummer Mitch Cronin, and bassist Alex Cardoso. Together, Tigerface manages to do what a good band should do; turn a bunch of sounds into an experience.

An experience that likely wasn’t artificially manufactured. According to their Reverbnation biography, tragedy befell one of their members in 2007 when Chris Ertz suffered from an accident that could have claimed his life. Out of the Dark is Chris’s second musical foray after his accident; his first was Castlecore, Pt. 1 in 2009.

The songs on this album are coated with sadness, desperation, longing–but there is also nonetheless a strange sense of celebration, and craving to offer inspiration . The opener, “Run Right Now,” especially balances the bleak with the hopeful. “Run right now, back to the summer” the anthem sings out, or “hide away in the middle of the nighttime.” The song is essentially a sort of carpe diem for a shadowy, sulky world where temptation and fear are always around the corner.

Listening to the synthesized openings of a lot of the tracks, and the melodic echoes of them that carry throughout– “Jellyfish,” “In the Lion’s Den,” and the moving closer “588″ come to mind–one could be forgiven for thinking that you were listening to a score or soundtrack. The scope certainly fits. Each song tells the story of an emotion, a feeling, a state of mind, and not only do the openers evoke an ongoing narrative, but the transitions are well managed as well; when the hammer drops, the rock lives up to the beginning, rather than clunking on clumsily as can happen with some bands.  On “Eighteen for Glory,” a beateous chorus of synthesized voices gives way to fast paced guitar, bass, and drums, which are soon joined by the song’s sweeping vocals. The chorus doesn’t leave immediately, and transforms into a synthetic orchestra. Finally, during the biggest moments of the song, violent, hectic drumbeats–that sound far away–beat away, adding just the right amount of emphasis.

Tigerface is definitely doing some neat stuff. Though recently their lineup has seen some changes–Ertz and Cronin have left, and have been replaced with guitarist Matt Willers and drummer Alex Murphy–here’s hoping they keep their core spirit, sound, and direction, and there will be more where Out of the Dark came from.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Album: Out Of The Dark
Release Date: July, 2012
Genre(s): Rock, Indie, Electronic
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Members: Ari Epstein/Vocals and Keys, Alex Cardoso/Bass, Alex Murphy/Drums, Matt Willers/Guitar
Website: www.tigerface.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tigerfacemusic
Reverbnation: www.reverbnation.com/tigerface
Twitter: www.twitter.com/tigerfacemusic

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