When discussing the nature of progressive and hard rock music, there’s a tendency to linger on the generalities of extended guitar solos and vague, listless lyrics. And while there are some bands who use these musical crutches to cover some substantial inadequacies, there are just as many who see past these stereotypes and embrace the expansive environments that these genres afford musicians who possess the impulse to subvert these long-standing musical assumptions.
For Chattanooga band Subkonscious, the need to push past these meaningless labels is at the heart of their variant hard rock sound. Over the past few years, they’ve used an assortment of rhythms and approaches, resulting in a history that favors an eclectic experimentation over rote rock tropes. Volume and musical diversity aren’t mutually exclusive goals but ideas to be twisted into an adaptable aesthetic-one they will peddle at this year’s Riverbend Festival.
With their new song, “Paranoid Cage,” Carl Foshay takes the lead, handling all the musical aspects of the song and co-writing the lyrics with Jordan Huff. The band itself, much like the music produced under its name, is fluid and changes from moment to moment, with Foshay being the one constant in the lineup. And with this track, he brings out the guitars in full force, a barrage of riffs thrown skyward and melodies buried under dense waves of noise and fury.
But there is room for subtlety as well among the ruined and cratered landscape that the music inhabits. He’s quite successful at maneuvering intricate melodies within this volley of guitar rhythms-“Paranoid Cage” roars and stomps but allows for brief moments of refined creation, instances where his attuned creativity draws out the emotional volatility inherent to rock’s molten movements. With the sounds of serpentine guitars and thudding percussive explosions ringing in your ears, Foshay makes it that much harder to wait until we get a full record from the band.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.