Night Wilds are a new band, led by Seattle native Seth Micarelli, but their upcoming album, All That Should Have Been has the composition and production values of a much more mature project. Produced and mastered at some of the most famous rock studios on earth, the album has thus far been single-by-single, until the ultimate drop date of April 2024, All That Should Have Been is designed as an epic rock opera, set in a circus and following a young boy forced to perform.
I wrote the album to get out the story that had been trapped inside for years. It’s a story for all those who have struggled to make sense of their inner world and need the help of stories. It told the story of a child made to perform, unsure of who he is or was, and the journey through that madness and to the other side. It walks through all the phases a human has to go through to emerge from these dark places. It begins with the setting of the helplessness and total reliance of a baby and moves to what sense a child makes of a world where its needs are not met, the burdens taken on and the weight of those mind made manacles.
With a unique style that folds in progressive rock, post punk, Phantom of the Opera and just a cheeky soupçon of Tenacious D, the journey in All that Should Have Been is as relatable as it is fantastical. The band have released seemingly random breadcrumb singles like “New Jerusalem,” “The Show,” “Confusion” and “Mother” to give allusions to fans as to what this musical journey will be like, but the whole show won’t be released until all 17 tracks are out.
Each track that’s already been released comes with a corresponding video (either lyric or otherwise) which drives home the eerie circus theme and intros the sections of the album. Chapters one and two are the spooky carnival setup where singer/songwriter Seth Micarelli takes on the persona of a demented ringleader and introduces the rest of the saga. It’s a musical circus of trauma and a rollercoaster of emotional relatability, so fans are advised to buckle up.
“All That Should Have Been” follows the development of a child: helpless with it’s needs not met. It tackles universal themes of fear and its deep roots, confusion and the search for the self, the need to dominate, control and keep all things in ones power, the slow realization that such a life is impossible and empty, the journey to be known in others and therefore discover oneself. Eventually the child grows up, comes to terms with his life and has children of his own. The album covers this epoch of the journey as well. Finally, the album ends with the final journey to accept and welcome the most hated parts of ourselves and the peace that ensues.
Deconstructing faith and building it again – leaving a fundamentalist religion and finding courage to set out on your own path is a core running theme. Surviving difficulty in childhood and how that emerged into addiction and then the path not only to recover but to love and embrace the dark parts, not to act with them but to listen to the core at the center, anger, shame, rage, pain and to love the abandoned places again. The album is a concept album in the tradition of The Wall, Lateralus or Kid A, meant to be listened to from beginning to end – and although there are singles on the album they sit inside of the story arc.
The teaser tracks have all done very well on Spotify, with the album’s evocative, Springsteen-meets-Van Morrison-meets-Leonard Cohen-style ballad “City of Strangers” reaching almost a quarter of a million streams on Spotify. It stands to reason that when the full All That Should Have Been releases, Night Wilds will debut as a major new player on the prog rock scene. That’s inconsequential for Micarelli, however, who says the album was simply about catharsis.
In writing this record, I wasn’t thinking how the album would be received, and no matter what happens. I am proud to have created a record that is truly authentic.
The album’s newest single release is “Control”, out October 27th on digital platforms.
Stream the rest of the currently released singles on Spotify.
Musician Names/Instruments: Seth Micarelli – singer, songwriter, guitar on some tracks
Producer Name(s): Tom Hall
01 The Curtain
02 The Show
05 New Jerusalem
09 Where Do We Go From Here
10 City Of Strangers
11 A Long Way From Graceland
13 No Way Home
15 Just A Moment More
16 Lost Light
17 Where Do We Go From Here
Official Website: nightwilds.com
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbpr8zS2Kto-ZwdLrXwCTcA
The debut album from progressive alt-rock band Night Wilds, All That Should Have Been, is both theatrically entertaining and darkly cathartic. It’s an immersive concept album that cloaks autobiography in fantastical fiction. The 17-song rock opera chronicles the story of a boy trapped in a cruel circus desperately performing for a madman ringleader.
“For my whole life, I have been searching for that magic pill to make everything feel better,” shares Night Wilds’s primary singer-songwriter Seth Micarelli. “This album is about making sense of that void.”
All That Should Have Been is an album of healing. Much like Pink Floyd’s The Wall, along with modern epics by Tool, Radiohead, and even Rage Against The Machine, it blurs the line between entertainment and enlightenment. The record’s thrilling narrative is viscerally enhanced by the project’s strictly analog ethos. No corners were cut on All That Should Have Been—even the string arrangements are real—and the songs feature world-class musicians recorded on vintage recording gear at storied studios in the band’s Seattle hometown. All That Should Have Been unfolds with cinematic scenery, dramatic turns of events, and literate lyrics teeming with metaphors, and painful realizations. Tucked inside this saga is Seth’s own story of working to emerge from darkness and addiction into light.
In his actual life, Seth found recovery, and became serious about the spiritual and personal growth work a healthy sober program necessitates. This album is a tribute to that journey and to authenticity in the place of emulation or performance. Seth is a lifelong musician, and for many years was fixated on trying to sound like his heroes, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and Roger Waters. “Music originally started for me as a way to connect with people, but I didn’t have the self-belief that I alone would be good enough, so I imitated my favorite musicians,” he says. “A few years ago, I realized I would rather be authentic and unliked then performative and loved, and every creative decision I made on this album was based on that realization.”
All That Should Have Been commences dramatically with a haunting monologue by a character lashing out at various performers in his show and then focusing on one child for whom this is all overwhelming. As he speaks and yells, a creepy mosaic of musical motifs and sound effects conjure a sick, circus-like atmosphere that sets the album’s ominous tone.
The album’s core emotionality and messaging comes to the foreground on “New Jerusalem,” a wistful and ethereal folk song that swells into a dynamic prog-rock epic, replete with a chorus of heavenly female backup singers and stately strings. Seth wearily sings: Well, there is a wall falling down on me/I don’t remember who I am supposed to be/Cold comfort comes, but I still can’t sleep. The song then builds and builds until the chilling refrain: Stop crying, or I’ll give you a reason to cry/Stop crying, or I’ll give you a reason to cry/Stop crying, or I’ll give you a reason to cry/Stop dying, It’s just so hard on my eyes/Stop. The mournful track comes alive through a powerfully poignant and metaphorical video featuring a young boy lost in a war-torn land where all the players seem to believe there is no war at all.
The symphonic rock-ballad, “City Of Strangers,” represents the cold sweat realization that the album’s central character has been imprisoning his mind based on the experiences of his younger self. The soulful pop-rock tune,” Long Way From Graceland,” represents a turning point of surrender—it’s a prayer asking God to meet him where he is, far from grace. From these transformative moments comes acceptance in the form of the Springsteen-esque folk-rock song, “Just A Moment More.” Seth’s opening lines on this song are raw and emotive, he sings: Right in front of me/There’s a boy I’ll never be/He is wide open and free/And he can cry.
The album was tracked at Robert Lang Studios (Alice In Chains, Nirvana, Foo Fighters), London Bridge Studios (Pearl Jam, Temple of The Dog, Mother Love Bone), and Electrokitty Studios (U2, Dave Matthews, Kendrick Lamar). The sessions boasted an audiophile’s dream of vintage gear, and exceptional contributions from mastering and mixing engineer Tom Hall (Blondie, Depeche Mode, Placebo), and longtime Heart drummer Ben Smith.
All That Should Have Been is a deeply personal album with a message of hope and a belief that we first must venture into the darkest caves to emerge who we really are. Seth says: “In writing this record, I wasn’t thinking how the album would be received, and no matter what happens, I am proud to have created a record that is truly authentic.”