Washington stoner rockers Dryland released their Dances With Waves EP earlier this year on a bittersweet date: April 20th, a sacred day, but one significantly dampened by the dawning of a global pandemic. That was a tough time to be releasing music -- as festivals were being cancelled left and right, it was just around that period that the reality of the "new normal" started to set in.

Dances With Waves, however, was the kind of music we needed then and the stuff that still does it now: vivacious heavy metal with epic sensibilities and full-throttle swagger, perfect for both motivation and escapism. Dryland executes their imaginative ideas through a pummeling mix of doom metal and hardcore that feels personal, but yet huge in scale -- this is a band that has a bigger vision than most. The ferocious energy on display sears riffs and fragments of lyrics into your mind so brightly that you can almost see them.

Vocalist Brad Lockhart, who also handles artwork duties for the band, plays a large part in creating that imagery: his emphatic proclamations and throaty roars indelibly frame each song's voyage. During the pandemic, he's been hard at work creating a visualization of his own: an animated music video for "The Sound a Sword Adores." It draws together medieval imagery with lore of his own creation and it's not like any other music video you've seen recently -- behold:

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This saga of bizarre creatures, illustrated in a tapestry-like fashion that's whimsical (if often creepy), neatly aligns with the bombastic song in rhythm and trajectory. Bright colors and heavy metal don't always mix, but for Dryland's vivid tales of riff-borne adventure, not much else would do it. Also -- make sure you stick around until the end, when the strangeness peaks.

Regarding the video, Brad comments:

I made this music video using a similar creative process for how I write Dryland lyrics. I like to start with a little piece of someone else's writing that inspires me and use that as a jumping off point to craft an entirely new story. I often describe this as "intentionally misinterpreting mythology." In the case of this video, l stole the demons from religious parables and wrote them a tale of their own. I was inspired by collections of medieval artwork that have started to make their way online in recent years. I looked through thousands of these and selected a few dozen of my favorite weirdos. Some characters I traced so they would be true to their 500-year-old form, while others were pieced together or just made up completely.

I made this video using a combination of frame by frame animation mixed with 2D digital animation. The complex movements, like wings flapping, horses running and blood exploding, were drawn at 12 frames per second on the iPad. I then exported the clips and dropped them into layered 2D environments on my computer. In total there were about 90 art boards that made up the 4.5 minutes of animation. Making this video was a labor of love that helped keep my sane during this turbulent year.

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The Dances With Waves EP released April 20th, 2020 and is available via Bandcamp.


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