Independent rock band Mason Hill is keeping itself quite busy this year. The band recently announced that it is scheduled to launch a new series of live dates this fall. The band is also scheduled to release its cover of Foo Fighters’ ‘The Best of You’ Friday. This is all following the release of the band’s debut album Against the Wall just last month. Released March 5 through 7Hz Productions, the 12-song record could be a breakout for the band, given the right support. That is due in part to the record’s musical arrangements. They will be discussed shortly. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements build on the foundation formed by that content. The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will be discussed later, too. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. All things considered, they make Against the Wall unquestionably among the best of 2021’s new rock and independent albums.
Mason Hill’s debut album Against the Wall is a very strong start for the up-and-coming UK-based outfit. That is due in part to the record’s featured musical arrangements. From start to end, the 46-minute record’s musical arrangements hold their own against anything that America’s mainstream/active rock radio stations are playing. The driving guitar lines and their melodies, the solid time keeping, and rich bass and drums create sounds and stylistic approaches from one song to the next that immediately lend themselves to comparisons to works from bands, such as Alter Bridge, Shinedown, and Theory of a Deadman. Every arrangement here holds its own against any of those bands’ songs. Whether it be the album’s powerful yet contemplative title track, the more fiery single, ‘D.N.A.,’ or even the brooding, contemplative ‘Where I Belong,’ the range of styles and sounds lines up easily with those of the works from the noted more well-known bands. To that end, the arrangements featured throughout this record form a solid foundation for its presentation. Building on that foundation is the lyrical content that accompanies the musical content.
The lyrical content that is featured throughout Against the Wall is just as accessible as the record’s musical arrangements. Case in point for instance is the lyrical theme featured in ‘Find My Way.’ The song’s title makes the theme clear, while the lyrics just as easily explain the song’s message. In this case, the message is that of breaking out on one’s own and making one’s life for one’s self. The subject sings about being done with another person and his/her negative influence, and…well…finding his own way. This is made clear as front man Scott Taylor sings in the song’s chorus, “I wait for you/To let me go/So I can find my way/This time I’m sure/You’ve got nowhere else to go/I wait for..” He gets even firmer in the refrain, singing, “You always criticized me/You never see what I see/I won’t always wait for you/Your life’s so hypnotizing/My mind’s so indecisive/I won’t always wait for you.” This brief amount of content speaks volumes here. It is, again, a statement of someone taking control of his/her life, and no longer letting someone else impact what happens. This is a statement that will resonate with any listener, especially when it is considered along with the infectious energy and sound of the song’s musical arrangement.
‘Broken Son’ is another example of what makes the album’s lyrical content stand out just as much as its musical accompaniment. This clearly contemplative rumination seems to deliver its own unique message of empowerment. In this case, the message in question seems to center on someone who is refusing to let the impact of his familial past ruin the rest of his life. This is inferred in the song’s lead verse and chorus, which state, “There’s nothing wrong with me/I just cannot see the way you used to be/And now this scene in my head/Is better off dead/With all my memories/So I say/This time I’m fixing what I’ve done/They say it’s always my own fault/That’s all I hear/When you say my mind’s been drifting all the time/I think that you’re telling me another lie/That’s all I hear/I’m chasing all the things I’ve done/I’m learning how to be the one/This time I know/I’m letting go/I’m not your broken son.” As noted, this lead statement comes across as being spoken from someone who is looking back at his life but empowering himself through personal realizations in his retrospection. The seeming message continues in the song’s second verse, stating, “So worry me this way/Don’t make me be the man who lost it all today/And no w I’m broken and scared/Now watch me pretend/I got it figured out/Well here I am/This time I’m fixing what I’ve done/they always say it’s always my own fault/That’s all I hear/When you say/My mind’s been drifting all the time/I think you’re telling me another lie.” Again, here is that self re-assurance from the song’s subject. Regardless of the commonality of a situation, such as that presented here, there are those audiences to whom this song will resonate. When the song’s infectious musical arrangement pairs with that accessible in its own right lyrical theme, the whole shows even more why the record’s musical and lyrical content together is so powerful for the album’s presentation. It is just one more case in which this is proven. ‘Where I Belong’ is yet another way in which the record’s lyrical content proves to be just as important as its featured musical arrangements.
‘Where I Belong’ is another key example of the importance of Against the Wall’s lyrical content because of the vulnerability that it exhibits in comparison to the confidence exhibited in the other examined songs. It shows the band’s ability to reach listeners’ in a variety of emotional levels. While the song’s title comes across as being somewhat existential, the reality here is anything but. Rather this song is a familiar rock ballad style work that is (and many audiences might not like this) very much in the overly saccharine sweet vein of certain songs from Nickelback and Creed. This is inferred in the song’s lead verse and chorus, which states, “I sail through life/My eyes are closed/The memories are forgotten/The past has gone/The wind cries out your name/It’s calling me home/Yet I follow/Which has no name/Carry me home/Through fire and rain/Lay before your feet/My struggle/Is in vain/Yet I know/There is somewhere I belong/And it’s where I’m meant to be/Carry me home/To somewhere I belong.” The super sweet ballad continues in its second verse, “The smile on your face/The stars in the sky/Let me know I’m closer/Can you see/The hope in my eyes?/Carry my home/Through fire and rain/Laid before your feet/My struggle is in vain/’Cause I know/There is somewhere I belong/And it’s where I’m meant to be/Carry me home/To somewhere I belong.” Yes, this is one of those over-the-top arena rock style ballads in regards to its musical and lyrical content. That aside, the fact that it is such a departure for the band in comparison to the rest of the album’s content, it is one more example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content just as much as its musical content. It is another accessible lyrical theme and it is different from the other themes featured throughout the album. To that end, it is just one more way in which the album’s lyrical content proves so important. When this song’s lyrical content and that featured in the other songs examined here is considered along with that of the rest of the album’s entries, the whole leaves no doubt as to the role of the album’s lyrical themes in its overall presentation. Even with all of this in mind, the lyrical content is just one more part of what makes Against the Wall work. The album’s production rounds out its most important elements.
The production that went into Against the Wall is important to examine because of its role in the album’s general effect. Whether in the album’s high-energy moments or its more contemplative moments, the production plays a key part in making sure each song has the fullest effect. That work succeeds, too. The instruments are balanced expertly with one another. At the same time, the vocals are just as well-balanced with the instrumentation, making sure that no one part overpowers another at any point in the record’s presentation. The dynamics in each song do well to help evoke the intended thoughts and emotions from listeners, which is itself a tribute to the impact of the production. All things considered, the production puts the finishing touch to the album’s overall presentation. When it is considered along with the impact of the album’s musical and lyrical content, that whole makes the album overall a work that holds its own well against any work from Mason Hill’s more well-known mainstream rock counterparts.
Mason Hill’s debut album Against the Wall is a strong start for the up-and-coming rock/hard rock band. That is proven through its musical and lyrical content, which separately and collectively prove quite accessible. The infectious musical arrangements appeal to fans of works from the likes of Alter Bridge, Shinedown, and even Theory of a Deadman while the record’s lyrical themes are even more widely appealing. The album’s production brings everything together, putting the final touch to the album’s presentation. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. All things considered, they make Against the Wall a surprise hit that is among the best of this year’s new rock and independent albums. Against the Wall is available now.
European audiences will get to hear lots of music from the band’s new album this fall when the band hits the road. The band’s tentative tour schedule is noted below. Ticket information is available here.
09/02 @ Tunnels – Aberdeen, Scotland
09/03 @ Garage – Glasgow, Scotland
09/04 @ Macarts – Galashiels, Scotland
09/09 @ Grand Social – Dublin, Ireland
09/10 @ Voodoo – Belfast, Ireland
09/14 @ Junction 2 – Cambridge, England
09/15 @ Corporation – Sheffield, England
09/16 @ Fleece – Bristol, England
09/17 @ Patterns – Brighton, England
09/18 @ Leos – Gravesend, England (Sold Out)
09/20 @ Globe – Cardiff, Wales
09/21 @ Joiners – Southampton, England
09/22 @ Nightrain – Bradford, England
09/23 @ Waterloo Music Bar – Blackpool
09/24 @ Underworld – London, England
09/25 @ Rebellion – Manchester, England
09/26 @ KK’s Steel Mill – Wolverhampton, England
More information on Mason Hill’s new album, tour, and single is available along with all of the band’s latest news is available online at:
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