I love bands like Changing The Design, they seem so unburdened with the idea of sound demarcations or sub-genre regimentation. Sure, CTD is proudly hard rock but that is a broad label and within the music, you can hear everything from classic rock conformity to alt-rock adventurousness, foot on the monitor groove and plenty of touches of more ornate sounds from slight proggy variance to technical metal complexities. But hard-rock is a good enough label and it works as the perfect catch-all description of what the album contains.

Take a song like Devil in The Details, for example, a blend of sky-searing riffs and nu-metal electronica, it wanders dynamic peaks and troughs, ebbs and flows to create poignancy and power, employs heavenly harmonies and wanders easily between the metal community and more mainstream pastures. All of that in one song, eh? Impressive.

Invoke The Awakening is dark and delicious, The Attraction blends the same elements of heavy rock and progressive ornateness that Rush used to do so well and Heart String Symphony is a wonderful blend of space and staccato deliveries, rock weight and some masterful atmospherics and anticipation which are allowed to pool and percolate in the spaces between the words and notes. And then there are songs such as Hellface which takes classic rock and drag it screaming and kicking into the modern age, a poised rock package built of everything that made the sub-genre great in the first place and a taste of what it could be should it be allowed to evolve.

And evolution is something that is close to Alan D Griffith’s heart, the multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer who is behind the album. As he so eloquently puts it “We are never truly who we were yesterday and not quite who we will be tomorrow. Always evolving, we are Changing The Design.” Which does explain why his music is the perfect combination of familiar and fresh. It is not about reinventing rock music, after all, most of the heavy lifting has already been done. It is about evolving it, allowing it to move forward, to cross-pollinate it with both its own sub-genres and other, outside influences. It is about hopping generic fences rather than kicking them down, evolution not revolution.

Rock music isn’t dead, it just needs to take stock of itself, work out where it goes next and find a way to stay relevant in the modern age. And if you want to know what that might sound like, just give Soul Dissection Experiment a few dozen spins. And then a few dozen more for good measure.

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