Grass Valley, California-based alt-rock/alt-metal outfit Follow Me Dark introduces their 11-track self-titled album, which merges elements of rock opera, indie-rock, psych-rock, metal, and alt-rock into music at once innovative and captivating.

The semiotics of dropping an album on the winter solstice takes on a synergistic effect, including the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year and marking the figurative death and rebirth of the Sun, as well as myriad holidays: Alban Arthan, Dongzhi Festival, Korochun, Yaldā, and Midwinter Day.

Talking about the album, guitarist/vocalist Stephen Kozak shares, “Too much music nowadays is predictable, it’s unexciting. It’s not surprising.  That’s something we pride ourselves on; we try to make music that pushes you into ‘I didn’t see this coming. I’m off my rocker. I can’t categorize this.’”

Made up of Stephen Kozak (vocals/guitar), Sean Batinic (guitar), Elliot Grove (bass), and Jim Boots (drums), with the release of Follow Me Dark, the band provides listeners with a cathartic channel for COVID-induced feelings of fear, confusion, frustration, and fatigue.

According to drummer Jim Boots, “There’s a dark, shadowy feeling to the music that’s kind of what the world is going through right now.”

The album starts off with “Stars Collide,” opening on platinum guitars infused by an incandescent tendril, the tune flows into a surging melody reflecting hints of prog-rock, grunge, and alt-metal. Outstanding tracks include “As She Feeds,” reminiscent of Soundgarden merged with Rush, only edgier, darker, and more spectral. Kozak’s ragged, rasping vocals infuse the lyrics with stabbing intensity.

The intro to “Flight Risk” grabs immediate attention as the bassline and thumping kick drum roll out into a foreboding-flavored tune thrumming with proximate black sensual energy. “Ancient Ones” conjures up suggestions of Alice In Chains, raw and flexing on grimy colors of thick muscle.

“Solace” heaves with alt-metal momentum stained with psychedelic filaments, as well as vague traces of searing doom metal. Boots’ drumming injects this track with reckless, Jovian dynamism. “Divination” hits hard, riding an amalgamation of scorching alt-metal dowsed in punk ferocity.

The final track, “Alone,” embarks on stark, grungy, Thin Lizzy-like guitar tones, and then shifts seamlessly into potent waves of munching guitars, while Kozak’s dreamy yet simultaneously brutal vocals imbue the lyrics with blistering passion. A full-stop breakdown leads to the culmination of the song, rife with soft, luminous guitars.

Follow Me Dark has it going on! Chock-full of deliciously corrosive textures, Follow Me Dark’s sound is irresistibly singular and unlike anything else.

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