I’ve enjoyed following Everest Queen, from their initial self-titled EP in 2016 to their debut album Dead Eden in 2019, so to have a new album appear in the wild is a fine thing. Murmurations boasts 44 minutes of new music, so let’s get stuck in.
Everest Queen play a mix of post-metal, progressive doom, and crushing sludge, which is then augmented by the tasteful use of drone, post-rock, and ambient elements. Since Dead Eden the band have clearly been refining their art, and Murmurations has arrived fully-formed and with a greater depth and breadth of sound overall
Murmurations showcases the Everest Queen of 2022 to strong effect. There are a variety of different ideas and songwriting structures employed in these six tracks, and the band work their material through the above styles and subgenres with skilled hands. The music is textured and well-written, and the album strikes a good balance between instant-appeal heaviness and slow-burning atmospheric mood.
Parts of the music have a progressive feel that wouldn’t be out of place on a record by The Ocean. We also get some monstrously heavy riffs that Bongripper or Sea Bastard would be more than happy with. Some of the more upbeat and energetic sections remind me of Keelhaul in their angular heaviness, and this morphs to Orange Goblin or High on Fire when the more stoner-esque influences appear. Some of the much more metallic material here actually reminds me of some of the heavier output of Atreyu mixed with a band like Dead to Fall, which may sound strange, but just go with me here. The music has an introspective side that can be reminiscent of 40 Watt Sun or even Anathema in places. Mood-building is a well-developed aspect of the band’s sound too, and I can hear echoes of acts like Pelican and Red Sparowes in places, or even Om in their more droney moments. Isis-friendly build/release dynamics are well-realised, while a Cult of Luna-esque wall-of-guitars lurks around certain corners.
The above are just little snapshots of impressions taken at various moments throughout the record – the album actually mixes and merges, blends and combines these all together into an Everest-Queen-shaped collection of tracks that are fiendishly enjoyable and satisfying. I’ve made these references to different bands for illustrative purposes, but of course the reality is that Everest Queen have a distinct and charismatic personality all of their own. You can be reminded of other bands for sure, but never in an overwhelming way or in any manner that would give rise to thoughts of plagiarism. Everest Queen use their influences to build their own path through the post-metal landscape, and the journey they are on is well-worth following.
Murmurations is a worthy new chapter in the Everest Queen saga. Offering a compelling tapestry of heaviness, atmosphere, and metallic hooks, Murmurations is the band’s best and most well-rounded work yet.
Very highly recommended.