Straya’s latest album, Sobereyed (2018), is a 57-minute work that represents two years of writing and growth. One might be inclined to label it progressive rock, “experimental,” or even post-metal—but it’s more apt to describe the contents: There are bursts of black metal and abrupt cornet solos; abrasive synthesizers and a 28-guitar choir; extended ambient and death metal sections; expressionistic aphorisms at a near whisper and confessional, blistering screams.
Careful arrangements and meditative pace permeate the compositions, reflecting the Minneapolis group’s tendency to pull from disparate influences. The track “Tongue Is Nothing,” for example, is an emulation of Gaelic psalm singing, while “Made Lighter” was conceived as a nod to Brian Eno. Sobereyed is the second full-length from Straya. It marks a major stylistic shift from 2015’s Healthy Steps, which spawned multiple tours and was a Star Tribune critics’ choice for the year. After two years of crafting Sobereyed, Straya is back with its best work to date and first release with Los Angeles-based label Chain Letter Collective.