Written by: Mike Ritchie
March 9, 2016, at 6:00 p.m.
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Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario progsters, Sierra have recorded a unique multi-artistic piece, playing music in chapter form inspired by a real life, true crime story dating back to the early 70s. The 72 EP was inspired by the tale of a brutal murder spawning a confession years later by a participant, thus exonerating the falsely accused. 72 is their second release since 2012’s Pslip.
The concept is based on the true story of a sixty-something-year-old man whose girlfriend was murdered by an unknown group on her sixteenth birthday in the early 70s. Besides the murderers, he was the last to see her alive and was accused and harassed by the public and police for a year afterwards. Many years later, one of the murderers committed suicide, admitting participation in the crime in a suicide note, thus clearing the man. The story was told to vocalist/guitarist Jason Taylor, which inspired Sierra to create 72 in celebration of the man’s innocence and in memory of his lost love.
Many of his short and long-term emotions and the spirit of the girl are lyrically and musically explored during the single song’s 22:34 running time. Presented as a piece of musical storytelling, the song is structured in parts, setting moods, interludes and plot points.
Musically 72’s 22-and-a-half minutes are a conglomeration of 70’s prog, Kyuss, Alice in Chains, Foo Fighters, COC, Rush, with hints of Iron Maiden, and a heavy Opeth sound. It starts with proggy, stringy blues melodies quickly hit by guitars with thrash elements. The running time consists of breakdowns, spacey jams, and intricate notes to acoustic structures. Icy, trepidation-laced chords hit on emotions, while throw-down jams lead to moments of thrash catharsis translating the man’s inner- and outermost pain to music.
For the elaborate project, extra instruments were brought in to capture the select feel of each section, giving a full range of feelings, vibes, and emotions needed to tell the story musically. Lyrically, the track is structured into seven chapters. The instrumental beginning “Prologue 1972” introduces lyrics to Chapter II “Dead or Dreaming,” each song having a subtitle describing the conflict and struggle he endured, from his POV; pouring his heart out, dealing with the guilt of not being there in her time of greatest need, the harassment, and what she meant to him. Chapter III “Seventies Pigs” speaks from his and the Pig’s POV, at 16, he was the only suspect, first degree murder, the culprits got away, pulled from classrooms for questioning, taking his youth away.
The instrumental Chapter IV “Agatha” is the year his life was torn apart. Chapter V “Black Fin” in 1973 he fought back, taking matters in his own hands, the search for justice began. Chapter VI “To Hear You,” 40 years have passed, he’s moved on and married but still feels incomplete without her, her spirit still speaks to him. Chapter VII “She Waits,” the year everything changed, the confession was made, he was cleared and her memory has justice, till they meet again.
72 was an opportunity to tell a friend’s story, giving him some peace and closure while creating an epic song to tell a multi-decade story of murder, heartbreak, injustice and eventual vindication. The band plans on recording their follow-up by year’s end. 72 is now available.
The package is completed with standout cover artwork by Felideus
Review material courtesy of Earsplit PR