The incomparable music of Spirit Descending and band members' creativity was unleashed for a second compilation in their anticipated second release, EP entitled Creatures of Habit. The band went back into the studio this past summer to birth a set-list premiering a more technical and polished sound that binds the complexity of their collection of songs into a cohesive novel, each chapter full of mystery, darkness, twists, and beauty which was released in October 2015.
After parting amicably with SD’s original bassist and gaining experience of performing their debut self-titled album live on stage, the band was ready to push their music to the next level. Band members Krys, Elaine, Amanda, and Erik laid down new tracks, demonstrating the band’s musical maturity and desire to play with the boundaries of reality and fantasy.
COH invites listeners to enter a mystical journey made up of six new songs comprised of lyrics that transport one to another world, while feeling relatable to this one. The album’s song of the same name begins as an entrance to a dream, where the mind is struggling to decide if it's in a fantastical dream or a nightmare. During the making of this album, the band continually revisited one particular song, which eventually became Revenge, She Said. “The stanza of this song, 'As stories unfold; tragic deeds unfold; villains take the fall; behind the scenes; between the sheets; heroes take it all,'" Dulay explained, "sets the mood for the rest of the album as it is mostly about heroes and triumphs over tragedy, among other obstacles."
The album’s first single, The Descent, is made up of heart-pumping musical movements like side trips as though Alice is once again going through the Looking Glass. Dulay writes such lines to create this as: “Sifting through the tide, seeing beyond the lies...And now to stand before his never lasting mercy,” it’s no coincidence that Dulay developed her vocal chops from musical theater training.
If Dulay's lyrics and voice represent the main character through her obstacles, then Amanda Rostykus' keyboards are what conjure the sense of ever-changing scenes, from dark forests (Revenge, She Said) to desolate stretches of nothingness (Creatures of Habit), plunging into chasms (The Descent) and scraping through fiery pits (Heartbeat Serenade). Modest, musical prodigy Rostykus evokes a clear sense of each scenario to those with even little imagination using melodic piano sections to ethereal effects. Rostykus also supplied her mandolin skills and recorded all bass parts on this latest album.
Every story needs an antagonist, and the guitar sound plays the part well. Elaine Garcia's guitar persona is nearly the complete opposite from her own, presenting an unpredictable, aggressive yet hypnotizing sound. Garcia attributes her style to willingness to be influenced by all genres of music-horror movie scores to classical music. Her contribution to the album created a guitar sound that compliments the vocals while refusing to stand secondary to them. The movements are seamless yet distinct from one to the next with progressive sounds that evolved the band's sound as a whole.
The final piece to Spirit Descending and to COH is Erik Garibay, drummer and co-founder of the band along with Garcia. Far from his roots in the fixed beat of traditional Mexican music, Garibay laid down the rhythm of the story, somehow not only depicting urgency at times, but the main character's heartbeat and footsteps, as well as the dark adversary, always looming closely.
"Wow, simply...wow," said fellow local band, Blind Disciple. "I don't think there's anything even close to this on the Fresno Metal Scene. The vocals have a haunting quality, the musicianship is tight, the keyboards add another level of eeriness. Honestly, some of the best stuff I've heard...PERIOD."
This musicianship is one of SD's greatest strengths as they combine styles, movements, effects, and experimentation from which most bands would shy away. And with COH, the band took more chances to create new, vivid sounds that represent their honed-in identity. The risk to demonstrate this distinct identity, with all its corresponding elements, required that much more synchronicity to form one sound, one story.