I rang in the new year here at “Hear! Hear!” by recognizing “Empty Frames,” by Indianapolis prog-metal band Gauss, a 12-minute epic of progressive melodic metal which remains my favorite indie track so far this year. Turns out Scott Wilson, who handled guitar and vocal duties on that particular track, has remained hard at work so far through 2012 working up demos for a potential future album. He’s asked me to mention that these are home recordings, with weaknesses and kinks still to be worked out. But I believe these songs are worth examining as examples of the craft of songwriting; even the songs we now call classics started as humble demo recordings.
And though these are demos, the recording quality on “Starts to Rain” in particular showcases a song for which all the elements of a potential hit are there. Sure, the vocals are a little too far back in the mix and muddied, but the melody is there and I can’t keep that hook out of my head. It reminds me of 80s-era Peter Gabriel with a more progressive-metal bent, something I’d feel no qualms in sending to what few rock radio stations remain, once a studio version is complete.
Check the song out below and let me know in the comments what you think. If you’re so inclined, you can hear all the demos, plus the original “Empty Frames,” on Scott’s full SoundCloud page.