Articles > Articles & Reviews > 2009 Rocksposure Reviews
By Chris Brach
I’ve never been to New Mexico. In fact the closest I have ever been is probably Las Vegas. And even if I thought of making the trek to New Mexico while I was in Vegas, I surely would be out of cash well before I made it to pick up the rental car. I got my first taste of what New Mexico has to offer when I stumbled across a few tracks off the self-titled debut from Albuquerque's BeforeThisCity. Formerly known as Tragedy of Me, Manuel Archuleta and Scott Kazanowski (Sharing the vocals and guitars), drummer Charles Potter III, and bassist Andres Trujillo have played together since 2007, including shows on the Vans Warped Tour and Taste of Chaos. Their debut album just released on October 9, but I was able to catch a sneak peak of it a few days early.
After popping in the nine track album, I was impressed to hear something that many listeners overlook and bands often fail to pull off, an “Intro” track. Intro tracks are usually either filler for a short disc or unrelated to the other songs. But having only heard a few of their tracks up to this point, I found that this track absolutely eases you right into the disc. It’s only a minute and half long, but as it rolls right into the second track “Excuses in Dialogue”, you know exactly where they are heading. It is an absolutely perfect lead in for what’s to come.
As “Excuses in Dialogue” is the first full track on the disc, you are immediately dropped into the guitar and drum work of BTC, both of which have an intricate, yet intense sound that reminds me a little bit of The Mars Volta. This sound and intricacy carries throughout almost all of the CD but is especially evident on tracks like “Excuses in Dialogue” and “As We Ascend”. The guitar and drum playing on these songs really stands out given that every time you think you know what to expect, it takes a slight turn. Because of this, I found myself wanting to listen to tracks a few times to fully take them in and appreciate the subtleties BTC has worked into their writing.
“It’s Hard to Disappear in Your Own City” utilizes the different vocal styles of both Manuel and Scott. The contrast of the two singers go perfectly with the forceful riffs of the song, adding more character then it would have had with only a lead singer. This also works well on the hardest rocking song of the album “A Crisis Within”, a paranoid and claustrophobic tale that musically ties together all of the strengths that BTC has to offer.
One influence that seems to come through in “Plains of San Augusta” and “Minute in Rome” is Coheed and Cambria. I was reminded of several of their songs as I listened to this disc. But it is important to note that all of the tracks still had a sound that was very unique to BTC and that this influence simply plays very well into their style.
If you give BeforeThisCity a listen and are into even one of their songs, it is worth purchasing the entire album, you will enjoy it. While every one of the songs is unique, there is a good continuity throughout the disc that creates an excellent flow from song to song.
I would say that BeforeThisCity is definitely worth a listen, especially if this is just the first taste of what New Mexico has to offer.