Westward just released “The Last Stand.” The single is from the band’s forthcoming album The Empire of Deception, slated to drop October 14. Hailing from Salt Lake City, Utah, Westward is made up of Andrew Marshall on guitar and vocals; Karl Grimm on bass and backup vocals; and Matt Morrison sits in the pocket.
Westward describes their sound as “cowboy space rock.” Their melodies exude a sober effluvium, while their lyrics discuss problems prevalent in modern society. Musical comparisons include Queen and Muse.
“The Last Stand” starts out with elegant, flowing guitars and a sidestick beat. There’s a baroque quality to the melody, reminiscent of Queen. When the melody ramps up, it exudes a progressive rock flavor, along with the space rock quality Westward is known for. Marshall’s vocals remind me of a hybrid of Sting and Robert Smith of The Cure. It’s a strong voice, with beau coup range and precise phrasing and tonal control. The stuttering guitar adds tension, contrasting with Marshall’s soaring voice and the emergent pulse of the synth. And on the solo, the guitar really kicks it up, adding a dark yet luminous turbulence to the tune.
The lyrics to “The Last Stand” evoke visions of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, where a bipartite society exists: the affluent epicenes and the struggling workers who live at subsistence levels. The grim disparity between the two societal tiers demands change and rebellion. Conflict is inevitable.
“Everything has come down to, this one moment / A single motion to destroy, all that we know / We were given the choices, so many times / The choice to embrace their world, or we would die / You have planned for this / Our future is set in stone / Preserved all that we are / Rebuild and fortify / Did we try hard as we could, to change their minds? / The lights are fading all around, the world slows down / Your power, your power will fall / Your tower, will crumble and fall / The sky is falling to the ground but you will all be safe and sound / Hiding in your ivory tower, holding down the key of power / Oh... / We will rise, we will rise, we will rise, we will rise.”
Westward definitely has it going on! “The Last Stand” is an example of a gorgeously tight blending of cowboy space rock and progressive rock. The layering of the guitars and synth shimmers with power, and Marshall’s high tenor provides the icing on the sonic cake. You should positively check out the Westward. I will be waiting for The Empire of Deception with anticipatory glee.