REVIEW: SARAH LONGFIELD – “Disparity”
I’ll get this out of the way immediately; Sarah Longfield was an unknown name to me until the Wintersun tour was announced with support from her and Ne Obliviscaris. We’re so used to seeing the same old bands and names running around the country, so I got to a female’s name and was immediately curious. So, if you too have never heard of this fantastic musician, pull up a chair and pay attention!
Sarah Longfield is an incredibly talented multi-instrument musician, as seen on ‘Guitar World’s Top 15 7 & 8-string Guitar Players in the World’ list and as a member of The Fine Constant based out of Wisconsin. Did I mention she was named one of the top 15 guitarists in the world? Just checking…
She has been pushing quite an exponential climb in the past few years thanks to social media outlets like Youtube and gathers an impressive audience with every video she uploads. Of course, her reach is spreading even deeper into the metal roots of the world with this Wintersun tour and previous world-wide shows before it, so if she wasn’t already a regular name in our scene, she will be soon.
Checking her music out on Spotify, I was not disappointed, though progressive rock/metal in general is not my usual cup of tea, I do enjoy my fair share of it from time to time and this was really hitting the spot. I particularly enjoy the “oddities” of acts like Felix Martin and Native Construct, so this fits in a nice little cushion somewhere in between. However, I feel like any fans of instrumental prog music and bands like Between the Buried and Me, Dillinger Escape Plan, and Animals As Leaders would be particularly into this sound as well.
Her newest release ‘Disparity’ on Season of Mist is coming out in late November, 2018. The album starts off with a simple, calming “Intro” track full of dramatic piano and atmospheric touches, but builds quickly into the next track “Embracing Solace”. This is where you first hear Sarah’s voice on this release, adding an almost haunting but velvety smooth layer onto the beautiful music already established. The album really sold me with the track “Cataclysm” however (which you can already check out on Spotify). I’m not saying the previous tracks don’t show off her incredible skills as a musician, because they do, but “Cataclysm” really explodes with this in your face shredding. This is really a commanding demonstration of just why exactly she was named one of the top 15 guitarists in the world… I don’t know if I mentioned that already? In case you had any doubts, check out “Cataclysm” now.
While I will admit I prefer the pure instrumental moments on this record, “Sun” is a beautiful song with a nice little die-down in the instruments that brings Sarah’s haunting voice back into the spotlight, but quickly is overrun by some fantastic guitar licks. The second half of the release is a bit slower, and almost loses a bit of momentum, but I really loved how the record ends with “The Fall” that has a bit more life than previous tracks, and a unique sound all its own from the rest of the record.
Overall, this is a phenomenal album that gets better the more you listen to it. There is a lot to take in with each song; these instruments seem to multiply with each and every listen, and that’s what makes this such an outstanding album. I can’t stress just how much of a surprise the record was – it’s not all shredding guitar, actually there is so much more to it including harps, pianos, saxophones, and can I say – fucking fantastic drumming. Some of this album had me wanting to unwind and do yoga, and some of it had me wanting to get up and punch things… sometimes all within the same song. If that sounds like a good time to you, keep your eyes pealed in November for the release of this record! Cheers, Sarah Longfield!