THE APPLESEED CAST – Sagarmatha (2009)

The Appleseed Cast - Sagarmatha The Time: 2001 – my junior year of high school. I am enrolled, indifferently, in the honors English 3 class. We have been assigned to read several books over the course of the year. One of them is Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer’s personal account of the 1996 Everest Disaster. I don’t remember much from the book, but one thing that did stick with me was the reverence that the Nepalese people had for Sagarmatha (Sagarmatha is the Nepali word for Mt. Everest – loosely translated, it means “Head of the Sky). To them, it was not a commodity, waiting to be conquered (often by men from the West with cash to burn); it was a goddess – sacred, terrible and everlasting.

The Appleseed Cast occasionally manage to inspire such lofty feelings of awe on Sagarmatha (their sixth album), particularly in the opening trio of songs (As The Little Things Go, The Bright Light and The Road West). Here, the band’s newfound post-rock sound blossoms into something wonderous. Sadly, the rest of the album is comparatively tame and ordinary, although there are a few exceptions – the brief pop-reverie of The Summer Before, as well as Like A Locus (Shake Hands With The Dead), which would fit in wonderfully on an Air album.

At this point, I can safely say that Sagarmatha is not as consistent as the band’s last album, Peregrine was. But I can’t yet say for sure which album is better. Suffice it to say, if you dug Peregrine (or are a fan of guitar-centric post-rock like Russian Circles or Explosions In The Sky), you’ll probably enjoy Sagarmatha.

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