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Watch the video for Last Chance To Reason’s new song “The Escapist”

Last Chance To Reason - Level 3

Of all the albums that have enjoyed regular and repeated rotation from the past three years or so, Portlanders Last Chance To Reason‘s Level 2 by far took the longest to grab me. Back when I wrote for Heavy Blog Is Heavy, a prog-friendly site if ever there was one, my fellow staffers went pretty wild for the album, but it took a good while. Don’t take this as any indication of poor quality on their part, however; it was more that the music was so dense and challenging that it took its sweet time to wrap its tendrils around my grey matter.

Now I’m as rabid a fanboy as my esteemed former colleagues. It was the record’s penultimate song “The Prototype” that clinched it. A groovy track by all counts, the display of vocalist Michael Lessard is a particular highlight; showcasing well the band’s heavily layered style.

It’s damn exciting, then, that Last Chance To Reason have just announced details for the follow up to Level 2, which will funnily enough be titled Level 3! Amongst the details are the cover art – designed by Joshua Andrew Belanger – which you can see above, and the tracklisting, which is below:

01. Rebirth
02. Adrift I: A Vision Begins
03. Cosmos: The Pattern Forms
04. A Glimpse of Omniscience
05. Adrift II: A Vision Ends
06. The Escapist
07. The Dictator
08. The Artist
09. Awaiting
10. Transcendence

From these, it seems like a logical progression to the themes and story of Level 2. The lyrics to “Apotheosis“, the last album’s closing track, see the protagonist (“the user”) “Reformat, reprogram, rebirth…Erasing this world I am nothing without”, so it looks like Level 3 will definitely be a progression in sound and narrative; starting from fresh, as it were.

To that end, the band have also offered up the following video for the song “The Escapist” by way of introduction to the next level:

The band, who are unsurprisingly all avid gamers, were creating their own Defender/Contra-style video game to accompany and compliment Level 2 and tell its conceptual story –  about the relationship between humans and technology, our move from physical reality to virtual, and what these changes mean to our lives and our art - but unfortunately there’s been nothing on that for a while now, with both money and time being cited as factors. A Kickstarter/Indiegogo might be the way forward, but perhaps after/if the current trend dies down. Acclaimed indie developer Tom Vine and pixel artist Francis Coulombe were working with them on it, but guys have gotta eat, you know? Here’s a playthrough demo of the first level:

The band aren’t touring right now – although a run is allegedly in the works for later in the summer to support the release – but Michael was recently seen filling in the vacant vocalist spot for The Contortionist on their spring touring dates. It’s just this afternoon been announced in an interview that he is now the full-time frontman of the Indianapolis band, and that this, combined with the other members of Last Chance To Reason being busy professionally and personally, means LCTR will be more of a secondary consideration. Fair enough: we can’t complain, and he reportedly killed it on the tour, so congratulations to him!

Level 3 will be out August 6th on Prosthetic Records. Until then, you can satisfy your extracurricular LCTR-style prog needs with Lessard’s Thought Space Apparel clothing line, which he runs separately from the band with the band’s tour manager Aaron Wilmot.

How’s the song sound to you? Excited for Level 3? Up for Michael Lessard in The Contortionist full-time? Would you back a crowdfunder for a game from the band? Let us know!

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