The week prior to the release of a proper debut should be a time of excitement and anticipation, but for Raleigh, North Carolina’s Valleys, the week leading up to the street date of Experiment One: Asylum has been filled with sadness given the news of vocalist Mikey Clement’s passing in a tragic car accident.
If there is a silver lining to this story, though, it is that these upstarts have a truly impressive release by which to remember their fallen brother. Experiment One: Asylum’s 10 tracks see Valleys explore the dizzying edges of prog (“A Tension”), dive deep into metalcore’s low-end acrobatics (“Desperate Me”), and even dip into down-tempo electronica (“The Other Side”), all before the midpoint of this concept album. Written from the perspective of Asylum who is struggling with multiple-personality disorder, the album captures the volatility of the disease with a complex, explosive soundtrack brimming with infectious hooks courtesy of the intense interplay between Clement’s growls and co-vocalist Jayson Mitchell‘s clean singing. This chaotic beauty is best captured on “Compassion” with the gentle and pristine undertow of its verse that is unexpectedly overwhelmed by the unbridled fury of its chorus.
Experiment One: Asylum is one hell of a debut from a band that is coloring outside the lines of modern metal. Although it is being released in the midst of an emotional storm, it leaves little doubt that Valleys have a glowing future ahead of them once the clouds of this painful loss subside.
Experiment One: Asylum is self-released and out today. Buy it here!