Caspian's third attempt at sonic hegemony is Tertia - ten tracks that swirl, that twist and curl out of and into themselves, embracing the paradox of evoking the wildly specific by exploring the elusively abstract. There is a narrative, but it is spasmodic, fleeting moments, amidst songs like "La Cerva" and "Malacoda" where the instruments come together to an inextricable point, yet they seem to be uniting to deliver this: Things are about to fall apart. And then they do.
With teeth gritted tighter than previous work, "The Raven" showcases the leaden fury that weighs on the cracking atlas-spine of the album. There is something controlled about the plummet, though. It is as if the fall is really a volatile casting down of the familiar until, in "Vienna," its pieces can be quietly examined amidst the passing violence. Out of the scattered shards comes the closing "Sycamore." Beginning with the most delicate drippings of melody since their debut's "Last Rites," guitar lines weave around each other, bleeding and fading into a mosaic of polyrhythms that, for all their tribal wiliness, ceases with a single snap, soldering the instruments into something fused, smooth, new.
Tertia is, at it's blood pumping core, an aural descent through darkness towards a sun-soaked radiance. There is a sweeping sense of storytelling happening here, and fans of the band will have no difficulty assigning their own highly personal meaning to the narrative that unfolds. And yet, Tertia is also simply sixty minutes of new music written by five guys, inspired by the relentless cycle of performing on the road and experiencing a world much larger than the small oceanside town they call home. An honest reaction to life experience is being attempted, and it's taking form in a gloaming full of guitar flurries, bass throbs and pulsating, steady percussion.
Since forming in 2004 as a four-piece with no aspirations other than to create music they could collectively appreciate, the band have added a third guitarist, whose weighty presence makes its recording debut here. After playing their first show in their hometown of Beverly, Mass. five years ago, the band have been in a seemingly constant state of motion, bringing their sound well beyond borders they initially imagined, with a plan to add even more this fall.
The rain of fists that was their debut EP, You Are The Conductor, bled into the distinctive-but-circular tone poems of their first full-length, The Four Trees. Now, Tertia. One word meaning 'three' - the sum is merely an echo of its parts, the parts always aching--or, at least trying--to be one.