Reason Define Soar To Amazing New Heights With “In Memory…”
The five, fierce females of Reason Define have just opened up a new chapter in their musical career with the recent release of their sophomore album in memory… The band has shown exponential musical growth since their 2017 debut album Far From Strangers by taking on a concept album dealing with the five stages of grief. The ladies have drawn influence from the work of famed psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and her groundbreaking books that introduce the emotional stages of grief as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. This may seem like a tall order for any band but Reason Define have come up with a musical masterpiece, taking the listener on an emotion-packed ride that will leave you happily exhausted from such a cathartic experience.
The album opens with an introductory track “In Memory,” which features a brief, spoken part from one of Kubler-Ross’s works before beautifully segueing into “Waves.” The song begins with an elegant opening and the heavenly vocals of Paolina Massaro before the guitars of Shelby McVicker and Savannah Ruff kick in bringing the track up to full rocker mode with the listener “drowning in waves,” before the pattern repeats. The wonderful tempo changes are a great dichotomy between passion and power and really take the song to the next level. “Forgiveness Again” is up next and features some extremely passionate guitar work just past the midway point of the song that you won’t want to miss. The thundering rhythms of drummer Sydney McVicker are accompanied by the thumping bass lines of Caitlin Rutkowski on “Innocent,” along with a killer riff and anthemic vocals. “Inferno” and “Impossible Victories” are great rockers along the lines of Three Days Grace that I could easily see being played on rock radio and throughout stadiums everywhere. “Reaper” is probably the heaviest feeling track on the album while “The Hunter (The Hunted)” has more of a punk rock feel to it opening with a “1, 2, 3, 4.”
The hidden gem of the album is definitely their most recent single, the exquisite piano ballad “Mirrors.” The song is a true showcase for the vocal style of Massaro and features gorgeous piano work from drummer Sydney McVicker. This powerhouse track is full of emotional highs and lows and is simply breathtaking. Be prepared to shed more than a few tears as you take it all in. After all that emotion, Reason Define is back with a hard-hitting stadium rocker “Pointing Fingers” that touches on the whole #metoo movement and abusive relationships. The song packs both a musical and emotional punch with a brilliant riff and lyrics like “I won’t accept the silence.” and “Truth is on the horizon.” The band definitely has something to say with this song and their message is received loud and clear. The album closes out with perhaps the most interesting song on the record “All I’ve Got.” It opens with a great acoustic feel before changing up to a hard rock feel but then it surprises you again with a divine, low key vocal that flows right into a spirited mid-tempo number that seems to be part of a song by another band with a male vocal. It’s a tune that’s both easy and pleasant to listen to and perhaps a little subdued which may be just what is needed to bring you back down after the rollercoaster of emotions that are experienced with in memory…
People say that great suffering makes for great art and certainly pain, loss, and grief have led to some of the greatest works of art in the world whether it be music, literature, or painting, but I think it takes a little bit more than just experiencing these emotions to turn them into something extraordinary. The artist needs to allow themselves a sense of vulnerability and have a willingness to wear their emotions on their sleeve which is exactly what Reason Define has accomplished with in memory… By making the album a true reflection of themselves, they have reached that pinnacle of greatness that so many artists wait a lifetime for. Bravo, ladies.
Reason Define is currently out on tour in support of in memory… and will be heading back to their hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina later this month for the official album release party at Amos’ Southend. Check out their website for tickets to one of their shows and be sure to pick up your copy of in memory… while you’re at it. Stay tuned to Shutter 16 for a full show review and photo gallery from the album release show.