Australasia – Vertebra (Review)

AustralasiaAustralasia are from Italy and play Post-Black Metal Shoegaze.

Well, I love the album cover, so that’s a good start.

These are largely short compositions although they have all of the time they need to make themselves felt.

These are songs that are as emotive and translucent as any in the style. They take the listener through the usual gamut of emotions typical of Shoegaze releases of this nature.

Post-Black Metal comes about when Black Metal and Post-Metal meet, as can be expected from the name. The addition of the Shoegaze tag usually specifies something similar, only in my experience tends to mean that the band have a fragile, brittle sense about them; not in any negative way but rather in the sense of everything being pushed and focused into making the songs as expressive and emotive as possible.

In Australasia’s case the emphasis is on the Post-Metal side of the equation rather than the Black Metal side, (although this aspect of their sound is still present). In addition to this the band also employ some Electronica influences and use this as a further aspect to their sound.

All of this describes Australasia perfectly as they have the hauntingly fragile delivery and highly evocative emotional appeal that typifies this kind of music. And they do all of it very, very well.

There are largely no vocals, so the instruments take centre stage. The only exception to this is some female vocals which are strong and assured; they appear very briefly as a small but important enhancement to a few tracks.

A recommended listen for seekers of sensation everywhere.

Apnea – Silent Cities (Review)

ApneaApnea are from New Zealand and this is their début EP. They play Post-Black Metal.

This combines Black Metal with Post-Metal and Shoegaze to create an evocative EP of fragile beauty and delicate power.

The songs build, crest and blast their way to moments of melancholy and bitter negativity. Apnea’s sound is the sound of a mellow summer’s day being clobbered to death by an unruly dusk. It’s this mix of beauty and harshness that gives this kind of Shoegaze Post-Black Metal such a haunting sound and such a lasting appeal.

Apnea have a good production that bucks the trend that these kinds of bands usually follow of having a paper-thin sound. The drum presence in particular is immense and it is refreshing to hear a band like this with a rather crushing sound in many respects.

Apnea also stand out from the crowd in having some real moments of Black Metal fury in their sound. This ferocious attack combined with the softer moments and Post-Metal explorations make for a highly enjoyable listening experience.

Overall this is a hugely impressive EP, especially for a first release.

As this EP is a couple of year old now, let’s hope that they will have a début album ready soon. If they can replicate what they’ve achieved with Silent Cities then it’ll be something I’m quite excited to hear.