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Ronin (Cross the Sea)

Master Splinter – Ronin (Cross the Sea): An Alt-Rock Allegory for Resilience and Hope

We have always expected the unexpected with Master Splinter, and still, they managed to catch us off-guard with their evocatively expansive, melodically compelling latest alt-rock single, Ronin (Cross the Sea).

Even though they’ve stayed consistent in their tendency to use fantasy tales as conduits for emotional expression, beyond the histrionics in the vocal performance, the tale of the story unravels as a heart-wrenching allegory for emotional upheaval and hard-fought battles which leave you depleted and raw.

The instrumental builds and breaks decorate the grungy hit with a sense of furore that serves to amplify the lyrical messages of resilience in the face of almost certain destruction. Tune into the release and lock into an experimentally sludgy rock opera that delivers a message of hope.

In an era when optimism can all too easily feel like the outlook of the naïve, there are profound lessons to take from Ronin (Cross the Sea). But the biggest takeaway is that Master Splinter, with this newfound vulnerability, is one of the best alt-rock outfits to follow in 2024.

In Master Splinter’s own words:

“The story is about a samurai who is in a losing battle and his master is killed. When a samurai is without a master, he becomes “ronin”, which in Japanese vaguely translates to something like “lost warrior”. The land he called home is overtaken by enemies and forced to flee, he takes to the sea. He lands on an unfamiliar shore and sees that this land is also stricken with war. He does the only thing he knows how and joins in the fight against the invaders. The warrior is gravely injured and falls to the ground, accepting his fate and loses consciousness. But, when he awakens, he discovers that he’s been nursed back to health by a mysterious man who becomes his new master and grants him a magical katana that the warrior wields with newfound strength. The story ends ambiguously but is meant to express triumph.”

Ronin (Cross the Sea) will hit the airwaves and exhibit a softer side to the Portland-hailing psychedelic Senseis on March 1st. Stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast