Anyone who’s hung out with Neal Bledsoe for more than a minute can immediately tell that he’s up to no good, but between being the lead vocalist in an occult hardcore band and trying to cure cancer he an his boys continue to be quagmires of questionable flexibility.
“Chaos Order was, and still is, a part of Neal’s, Jared Filsinger’s, Austin Russell’s, and Samual Davidson’s lives.”
Chaos Order was, and still is, a part of Neal’s, Jared Filsinger’s, Austin Russell’s, and Samual Davidson’s lives. The group started the event Stage Dive to Save Lives in 2013 raising over $3,000 for St. Jude.
Life takes us each in different directions, and it feels like Cruelty of the Heavens’ debut album Grow up and See is creatively divergent from what they are known for.
Neal is still singing, but has also now added a guitar to his list of playable instruments. Jared is still on bass with and Sam is on still drums, but their sound is now much different than their occult hardcore project Chaos Order.
For the full experience, I sincerely suggest you immerse yourself completely into this album. Take a deep dive. It has been on stuck on repeat since I downloaded it and I still find hidden gems every time it spins back around.
“‘Entopic Phenomenon’ literally is the visual appearance of tiny bright dots within one’s eye during after the absence of oxygen.”
Grow up and See starts off with a hit. Hands down my favorite track is the first titled “Entoptic Phenomenon.” A smooth melody pours over the listener’s head anointing him or her in what feels like a lukewarm rain shadow during the humid summer heat. “Entopic Phenomenon” literally is the visual appearance of tiny bright dots within one’s eye during after the absence of oxygen.
Try to actually hold your breath from the first note until the opening line, “Hold my breath until everything goes dark….” to physically experience the withdrawn feeling that Cruelty of the Heavens illustrates.
In my mind, this song underscores a temporal feeling that has always been extremely difficult to place into words. The inherent need to separate ourselves from the world and the elite’s clasp. “I wanna be left alone. I wanna feel other than what I’m supposed to feel,” is pulled directly from the reverberations of a millennial echo chamber.
“Mind’s Eye” is a heavy rope descending directly into the darkness of meditation while also cleverly thrusting a finger into the third eyes of all the new age gurus listening through the lyrics, “sun gazing, spiritual awakening, this perception is beyond me.”
Cruelty of the Heavens first debuted with their song “The Magician,” and following suit also made it their first music video directed by Joe Alvey. It features the guys getting super weird with some framily and posing with Donnie Darko’s seemingly pop-infused cousin, the white rabbit.
To ease their transition, the guys took “1995” from Chaos Order’s last split release with St. Louis natives Better Days and softened it up a little. Wearing their hearts on their sleeves Cruelty gently etches these lyrics into the sand along the mainstream, “as empty hearts starve for attention. I hope you can hear me now.” Here it is as shown in their second official music video directed by Joe Alvey.
This entire album radiates pain stemming from the loss of the ones that we continue to love in the wake of their absence. This theme is expertly crafted within the message of “Vessel.” The way that they describe the process of mourning via, “A vessel beneath the stone on a hill will never know I’m alone here in hell,” illuminates how death hurts the living far worse than the ones that are buried.
“A vessel beneath the stone on a hill will never know I’m alone here in hell.”
Think that Cruelty “sold out” since shifting their sound from Chaos Order? Fuck you. In their own words they say its committing commercial suicide, but I think that it’s an adult approach towards maturity on the music scene.
This step is perfectly executed forward with their outro, “Growing Up.” The band makes one hell of an exit stating that, “There’s nothing fucking wrong, I’m just growing up.”
“There’s nothing fucking wrong, I’m just growing up.”
Whether you listen for deep lyrical symbolism that echoes the pain from the youth of a generation wandering through the toxic wilderness that their elders abandoned them in OR you’re just into comically cynical bunnies and like to rock out to Blink 182…you’ll fall in love with this album.