“A cello quartet gone mad.” That’s how Break of Reality describes themselves.
And chances are, you’ve never heard of them. Until two months ago, neither had I. In fact, if I wasn’t struggling to churn out my first novel, I may never have stumbled across this band at all.
But there I sat one evening, stooped over my keyboard like a literary Hunchback of Notre Dame, pounding out sentence after strained sentence. Occasionally, I paused, casting my eyes heavenward as I begged for inspiration.
I never thought that inspiration would descend in the form of three hard rock cellists and a percussionist. But it did.
When Spectrum of the Sky first piped through my speakers, I cocked my head like an inquisitive collie, my fingers hovering motionless above the keyboard. The sound was simply unlike anything I’d ever heard before. Cinematic and subdued in one moment, head-bangingly intense in the next. The New York Press said it best: “their songs go from 0 to 60 in a split second, turning on a dime to take you from a quiet chamber recital to a thundering arena rock concert.”
According to percussionist Ivan Trevino, “We can view a Led Zeppelin from the 70s, listen to a Beethoven string quartet, learn about music of other cultures, and watch Radiohead play the Grammys all at the click of a button. ‘Spectrum of the Sky’ is a reflection of our generation’s unique ability to be immersed in all things art, history, and culture.”
Hailed as the group’s most ambitious album to date, “Spectrum of the Sky” manages to take heavy metal and indie-classical undertones and mesh them into a new era of cinematic rock. At the very least, listen to “Che” and “The Accidental Death of Effie.”
Unlikely though it may be, this classically-trained quartet has emerged as the undisputed (in my humble opinion) Musical MacGyver of our generation. Armed with the melodic equivalent of duct tape and a Swiss Army Knife, the group combines influences from all musical genres to invent an entirely new sound that – at least for one budding novelist – saves the day.
Sure, Break of Reality may not be able to disarm a scud missile with a paper clip, craft a land mine from a pine cone, or use a casket as a jet ski, but their creations are still pretty darn impressive.
Break of Reality has released two albums of original music, The Sound Between (2006) and Spectrum of the Sky (2009). Their third album came out in March, a collection of cover songs by the likes of Metallica, System of a Down, Coheed and Cambria, and more.
Covers performed by three cellists and a percussionist, mind you.
Even hard-rock loyalists will have to admit their rendition of System of a Down’s “BYOB” is surprisingly satisfying.
So check out the group lauded for its “take no prisoners approach to cello playing,” if for no other reason than you rarely hear “take no prisoners” and “cello” used in the same sentence.