The second track on Appleseed Cast's sophomore album Mare Vitalis is possibly the best introduction to the Kansas-based band. Titled "Fishing the Sky," the song is a symphonically-composed movie score: sweeping guitars, passionate drumming and about 10 lines of lyrics. And those few vocals sounds as if frontman Christopher Crisci has experienced the most profound heartbreak of his life. Back then, in 2000, the band garnered comparisons to emo heroes Sunny Day Real Estate; now, nearly a decade later, the band has matured some. There's less angsty vocals and more harmonies on Sagarmantha, the Appleseed Cast's brand new full-length. Gone are the aggressive, hardcore-influenced guitars that marked even 2003's Two Conversations. But that doesn't mean Appleseed Cast has sacrificed musicianship for pop sensibility. Tracks like "As the Little Things Go" off Sagarmantha sounds like a slower version of "Fishing the Sky": Sparse but poetic vocals over gentle guitars. After 10 years, the band members no longer need to scream to be heard. Photo courtesy Chris Strong.