On their 2 full-length albums to date, modern cinematic rock band Starset have constantly pushed the boundaries of what rock music should sound like. On 2017’s Vessels, most bands can only hope to sound as huge as Starset do here, fearlessly incorporating elements of EDM, metal, and even groove metal with more skill than most.
Starset are far, far more than just a singles band that might only have 3 great songs on a record + filler. While platinum-selling producer Rob Graves certainly helps the band’s electronic and production side flourish, Starset simply wouldn’t be this exceptional if they didn’t write great songs. Granted, Vessels is a 71 minute musical journey, which can be intimidating for all but the most passionate and patient music fans. There are plenty of big and obvious singles here, like the crossover hit “Monster” and the underrated “Ricochet”, which aims for bold pop hooks and engaging electronic soundscapes in ways that few other bands are able to do.
However, there’s also plenty of other highlights on Vessels. For instance, “Into The Unknown”, a mid-album centerpiece that ranks as one of the band’s best written tracks to date, manages to erupt in a ferocious metallic section midway through the song that is clearly an underrated hit, too. In fact, it’s a surprise this song isn’t all over Octane or every heavy rock station in the country. The band really is at their best when embracing both their heavier and lighter sides, as evidenced on other album cornerstones like the anthemically brilliant “Satellite” and the emotive “Die For You”.
What will Starset do for an encore? Nobody is quite sure at the moment, but few bands rival them in scope and ambition. Look beyond the surface and you’ll see that Starset is a rock band that has plenty of depth, and the accessibility to match. That’s a rare thing.