California based progressive rock standouts Hail The Sun have unveiled ‘The Stranger in Our Pictures.’ It is the third single to be taken from their highly anticipated upcoming full-length ‘Mental Knife’, which sees release via Rude Records on 28/09/18. ‘The Stranger in Our Pictures’ is exemplary of the more mature take on the progressive alternative rock that the band has built their dedicated international following on. For the official video, which can be viewed here, the band turned to director Michael Rex Carbonell, who did an amazing job of providing a visual accompaniment to the story behind the single – which ties into lead singer Donovan Melero’s overcoming addiction and how he looks back at those days now being nine years into sobriety. As Melero recalls: “When we were tracking this song in the studio, Rex was staying with us in Echo Park, Los Angeles. He heard it, and turned to me and said ‘There has to be a video for this song. This is the one’. It meant so much to me that he cared so much about what we were creating, and the story I was telling about my road to recovery and self-reflecting. When it came time for the video, it was a no-brainer that we wanted him to create the vision he saw for it.” Stream it on Spotify here.
Since finding sobriety nine years ago, Donovan Melero, the vocalist, and drummer for Hail The Sun has found himself constantly consumed with the idea of making the most of every day. Melero – along with bandmates Aric Garcia (guitar), John Stirrat (bass) and Shane Gann (guitar) – manage both the creative and business sides of Hail The Sun as they continue to grow into one of the most revered acts in their genre. Melero has also developed into one of the most respected booking agents in rock due to his incomparable work ethic. Somehow he even manages to find time to advance his side project, the progressive rock supergroup Sianvar, which has developed a sizeable cult following of its own.
Sonically, ‘Mental Knife’ is the closest the band has come to realizing the sound they’ve sought since forming in 2009. The band lived largely in the same creative space for this record as they did on its predecessors – Culture Scars (2016, Equal Vision Records) and the Secret Wars EP (2017, Equal Vision Records). However, all four members of the band have elevated their already impressive style of play on the LP; pushing the limit of what is capable when walking the delicate line between intricate song arrangements and massive riffs and thundering rhythms. To realize their vision for the album, the band worked with Beau Burchell, best known for his role as a member of Saosin and producing that project’s iconic Translating The Name full length, which was a major influence on the members of Hail The Sun. On Mental Knife, Melero tackles that constant need for self-improvement and his obsession with making up for lost time, in a way that is both unabashedly honest and artistically innovative. The title of the record stems from the idea of cutting out those aspects of your life that don’t contribute to a more fulfilling existence. The subject matter largely centers on trying to develop a genuine confidence that allows you to acknowledge your own imperfections and provides the strength necessary to work towards correcting them.