There’s a hugeness that some records just can’t quite convey, no matter how mighty they might be, and seeing a band in its live form can hammer home that point. That’s not to suggest that the recorded medium is somehow subpar or not worth your time. It’s just that when you hear the music in your headphones or on your turntable, it isn’t the same oxygen-ripping experience as when band is in front of you.
Despite sharing a hometown with The Long Hunt, the instrumental doom trio from Pittsburgh, I didn’t get to see them live until after their debut full-length album “All Paths Lead to Hear” was released. Once I was in the same room and heard them play the songs in the flesh, I could not believe how much more powerful the experience was, and that’s no knock on that album. It remains a favorite. But their second full offering “Threshold Wanderer” really gets at the heart of this band—guitarist Trevor Richards, bassist Allison Kacmar Richards, drummer Mark Lyons—and the force they harness. Over six immersive, earth-shakingly heavy, woozy, psyche-washed tracks, the band flexes their muscles, working into your bones and giving you a closer taste to what taking them on live is really like. On top of this, Trevor Richards used the downtime of the pandemic to work on his 3D modeling skills to craft an album-long video that gives you a visual glimpse into this record that revels in the themes of exploration and traveling between worlds. I mean, it only took eight months and 1,000 hours of work, so make sure you check it out April 1, the day the album is released (you can see some song clips now on their Bandcamp).
“Prelude” enters amid windchimes, birds chirping, and a seemingly serene, gentle scene that rolls into “The Tower” where guitars immediately begin to char. The playing open and lays in the punches, dread builds, and the spirit swaggers into dusty scenery as if the desert is sneaking up on you. Things hit heavier, the guitars increase, and the bass plods through your chest and out the other side. “The Golden Bough” is an immersive adventure that has the drums pacing and then the guitars scorching as organs slip in and give a vintage psyche feel. The heat continues to build as the dust settles, the playing crunches, and the keys swim in madness, the clouds darkening and wafting. The senses are scorched as electric currents batter and burn off after the end bubbles to the surface.
“Night Falls on Black Wings” is the longest track, running 12:34 and driving slowly, the bass chugging and bloodying mouths. Red hues thicken and warp your vision, the playing pounds with precision, and birds start to caw, the elements of your dreams bleeding into reality. Sitar splashes give a Middle Eastern vibe, and your brain begins to wander, your spirit moving along with other ghosts as orange and purple color the horizon. “Crossing the River” works into a gentle haze, the bass makes ripples in the water, and the guitars guide everything through calm winds. Things then turn disarmingly blissful, filling your chest with warm emotion as you move into 12:12-long closer “Procession of Dust.” Drums hover as the guitars give off exhaust, and things feel grim and rusty in a hurry. Doomy riffs unload before the guitars begin to explode, cutting through the mist, the bass making its way through the storm. Psychedelic whirring and electric pulses combine, the intensity builds, and the guitars feel like lasers slicing through multiple planes of existence, the sounds melting into space and the final hints of sitar.
“Threshold Wanderer” is a gigantic step forward for The Long Hunt, a band that already was operating on a high and fully immersive level. This record is more indicative of their mighty lives shows where you can feel like you’re both at their mercy and enthusiastically along for a journey that challenges and sparks you. This is a record fitting for so many different settings from long night drives to stargazing to getting your own creative juices flowing before trying to expand your own artistic marks.
For more on the band, go here: https://listentothelonghunt.com/
To buy the album, go here: https://thelonghunt.bandcamp.com/album/threshold-wanderer