Passage is the follow up to 2014’s stellar Descent, which has become one of my favourite releases of the style in a while. A combination of post-metal, sludge and progressive metal, all wrapped up with glorious atmospherics and heavy guitars; the album was a slow-burner that just got better and better the more I listened to it.
Now it’s time for their second album, so how have they done on Passage?
Very well, it seems. They have managed to retain the style that they did so well on their debut album, only they have now expanded on it to reach out to even more atmospheric climes.
Having said that though, they still rage when they need to, and there’s still some kick-ass riffs on this album, especially on the song The Shift. So they can still ramp up the distortion when they need to, of course, much like they did on Descent, but Passage has more of a laid-back feeling about it, born from the band’s greater development of their slowly-building, atmospheric side.
On Descent, the band took the standard post-metal build-release template and played it really, really well. On Passage they’re still starting out from this firm foundation, but exploring the surrounding landscape more, branching out and refining things.
There’s a greater preponderance of clean vocals on this release too, although the rougher shouts haven’t been removed from singer’s toolbox, and these share the delivery, appearing to punctuate the heavy atmospheres when appropriate.
Overall I’m pleased with the direction Moanaa are taking, and Passage is a worthy successor to Descent.
Now, excuse me while I listen to this again…