Spoken Reflection album

Spoken – Reflection (Album Review)

Spoken 2024 band

Formed back in 1996, Nashville, Tennessee’s Spoken has been changing the lives of music lovers with a spiritually inspiring brand of Rock. First putting out On Your Feet in 1997, the band did not make their big break until 2000 with the release Echoes of the Spirit Still Dwell, and there has been plenty of growth since. 

Looking back, after the release of A Moment of Imperfect Clarity in 2003, Spoken evolved to a more melodic Metal/ Hard Rock sound rather than a Nu Metal/ Rapcore of their younger days. Then, 2005’s Last Chance to Breathe solidified the band’s style which matched harsher and cleaner vocals, plus melodic, yet heavy guitars. Fast forward all these years later, on March 15, 2024 Spoken return with their tenth studio album, Reflection.

Their first release through XOVR Records (co-founded by Korn’s Brian ‘Head’ Welch), Reflection also marks their first studio album in nearly 7 years. Their last, 2017’s IX, was met with positive reviews, but now a new era starts for Spoken with Vocalist Matt Baird joined by a lineup of Bassist Dylan Levernoch, Drummer Jared Wisner, and Guitarist J.R. Bareis of Love and Death. Joining together for 14 new songs, it all starts with heavy guitars and drums that do not hold back on “Echoes.” A song that sets up a storyline, lyrics such as “when you feel like all your hope is gone” tells you that this album is a journey of hope. 

With this, the two songs to follow – “Reflection” and “Hourglass” – take on a heavier guitar based sound layered with Baird’s intriguing screams. However, other titles such as “In The Dark,” “Awaken Me,” and “Moments” consist more of the melodic sounds and softer verses throughout. Looking at “In The Dark,” it speaks of surrender and encompasses a deeper connection for the listener. Diving into the spiritual realm, softer verses compliment the chorus as Baird screams, “Do You believe surrender changes everything?,” leaving you in a state of curiosity. Overall, the song embarks on a segue of darkness into light by surrendering. This is while “Awaken Me” touches on the renewal process of surrender and what one can find after being awakened spiritually. Playing on the vocals throughout, especially in the opening where you get a bit of a synth sound, it will leave you with a feeling of longing for something more.

Moving forward, Reflection also is an album which features some exciting collaborations. This includes Brian ‘Head’ Welch of Korn on the track “Anyone,” but also Demon Hunter’s Ryan Clark on “Sleeper.” First, “Anymore” is just as heavy as the album opening and fits well with Head. Next, “Sleeper” is a more scream-based piece with lots of fun drumming and fills. Which leads us to the album’s finale which features a unique soft slow start. Then, four minutes in, Baid blows you away with intensified vocals. Easily the deepest track on the album, you can definitely relate to the feeling of giving up and being torn down by others. However, this song is a cry out for help or rather rescue from oneself. Something that could be considered a cry for one’s higher power to hear them in the beginning, it hits hard on the heart and puts you in a renewed state of thinking by the time it concludes. 

All in all,  Reflection is a heavy album figuratively and literally. Spoken is sure to make a statement with their return, not only to those who follow the band, but also those who have seemed to have lost their way in these hard times. A symbol of having your faith restored, Reflection is a beginning to a new age of hope, and that is why Cryptic Rock gives it 5 out of 5 stars.

Spoken - Reflection
Spoken – Reflection / XOVR Records (2024) 

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