For Fans Of
Caesars Rome are a criminally underrated four-piece band from South Wales (UK) who rarely carry any hype around them. That should hopefully change now. The quartet’s sophomore album, ‘Believers‘ (originally titled ‘Traitors‘), is a fifty two minute "wall of sound" epic. It takes strong influences from both the alternative rock and post-rock realms, and shifts between them sonically throughout. A follow up to their 2010 release, ‘The Company We Keep‘, the band again go with Romesh Dodangoda (Manic Street Preachers, Kids In Glass Houses, Funeral For A Friend, The Blackout) to record with. As a result, ‘Believers‘ shres similar musical aesthetics to its predecessor. However, this time round the band’s overall songwriting abilities and musicianship have improved greatly.
Lead guitarist, Kyle Smith, drummer Richard Berry and bassist Lloyd Wood all play so well together. They create such powerful, monolithic song structures, huge riffs and beautiful melodies so effortlessly. Each and every track moves and breathes so smoothly too. Whether it be between crunchy, edgy guitar chords, or the powerful and superb sounding rhythm sections of each song; it’s just epic in every sense of the word. All of these components are honed in by lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Jonathan Hopkins, whose pounding, dynamic voice shifts and moves with the music. The range and power of his vocals are really showcased in the title track (which features a bit of falsetto for good measure), the dark and epic ‘Earth From Space‘ and the progressive and sad ‘Stay Gold‘.
Songs like ‘Haunt‘, ‘Old World Continents‘ and ‘Traitors‘ show a more mainstream, alt-rock sound of the band. This is more than welcomed, as it proves they are capable of something more straight up and middle of the road. These three feel like something you would hear on a Deaf Havana or a We Are The Ocean album. However, on the other hand, the ominous ‘Stories Based On Science & Faith‘, the sombre and melancholic ‘Heavy Heart‘, and the opening track ‘Braille‘ (which sets the scene and pace for the album really well) are great examples of how this band can take a side-step and summon up these huge sweeping musical landscapes. Now, that’s a really pretentious description sure, but fuck, it’s the best way to describe their sound!
Furthermore, the spine tingling aurora and tone of Hopkins’vocals and the guitar melodies on ‘Things We Lost In The Fire‘ and ‘Heavy Heart‘ will embed themselves in your memory very, very quickly. Yet, those songs aren’t really that catchy or hook-laden. The same applies for ‘A Ghost In Our Lives‘, which is where the band really takes their time building up each part of the music. This track never once feels boring, nor does it ever seem like filler. It is paced and controlled so easily that if you didn’t know this group was under a decade old, you’d have guessed they’d be twice as long into their career, such is the ability. ‘A Ghost In Our Lives‘ is also where the band bring out the only heavy side of ‘Believers‘ with a few heavy, distorted riffs and chords, coupled with the closest thing you’ll get to a breakdown from these guys rhythmically.
There is one moment that is the odd one out though. ‘Earth From Space‘ stands out, but it’s the song that definitely needs to be talked about. Not only is it simply an amazing song in its own right, it’s also the best song off the album, and the best song this band has ever written. It’s soft and dark intro shifts into a huge wall of sound-like verse and chorus, mesmerising you as it goes with it’s desperate lyrics and forlorn tone colours. It also carries with it an almost-atmospheric vibe at times, especially in the chorus’s and bridge. It’s breathtaking final minute show the band at their best.
The band’s music is both an aesthetically pleasing beauty and an unstoppable force. This isn’t a very technical or progressive album by a huge stretch, but it is a very textured and dynamic album, and it never feels too dense or complex. Thus, it is such a joy to throw this on repeat with a decent pair of headphones and just let the music overwhelm you. This is one of those album’s that you could fall asleep to or wake up to and you would find it moving as all one big, beautiful, cohesive song. That’s not to say every track sounds exactly the same, but the flow is subtly smooth and it is never broken.
Obviously, a perfect score will come with a grain of salt as many will think that this album cannot possibly be the best audible release in 2014. But to each their own, and to each, only the highest recommendation can be given that you listen to ‘Believers‘ as soon as humanly possible.
‘Believers’ is quite possibly one of the most flawless albums that has been made in a very long time. From the musicianship and the articulation, to the album’s mixing, to how the songs are structured, it’s all evenly impressive. The incredible sense of scope, passion and drive all of these songs exhibit so profoundly is striking. There are no gimmicks or tricks here. ‘Believers’ is a grand example of just how surreal and amazing music can be when it’s done right.
2. Stay Gold
3. Old World Continents
4. Stories Based On Science & Faith
5. Earth From Space
7. Heavy Heart
10. The Things That We Lost
11. A Ghost In Our Lives