Having really enjoyed 2013’s Tocsin, it has been a long wait for another album from Year of No Light, but the wait has been worth it. Across 55 minutes the band expose the listener to an idiosyncratic creative experience consisting of five thoroughly engaging soundscapes. Continue reading “Year of No Light – Consolamentum (Review)”
Consisting of a single track, Orage is a tentative, experimental first step into the world by this new project. Despite this, Orage is well-formed and shows a lot of promise. Continue reading “Le Menhir – Orage (Review)”
There may only be five songs on this release, but don’t let that deceive you – there’s almost 68 minutes of music on Never Forever. Continue reading “Monarch – Never Forever (Review)”
I’m a big fan of Devil Sold His Soul’s early work, but somehow I never kept up with them and this is my first exposure to them in a while. I was interested to hear this EP for this reason, especially as this is their first release with a new vocalist.
As always their music is impassioned, expansive and very heavy when it needs to be. Their songwriting has become even more developed than their older work, however.
It’s immediately apparent that their new vocalist fits the band like a glove. Scathing screams seem to spike painfully into your mind, but you like it anyway; soaring cleans rise gracefully from the emotive riffs whilst cascading leads swell up around them. Replacing a vocalist can be a very tricky thing to do successfully, but I’m immediately sold.
These tracks, (of which there are five), combine crushing guitars and soothing, sombre tones to create a collection of songs that pluck at the heartstrings as well as trying to pull them out.
The combined fiery melancholic nature of the guitars mix with vocals that veritably drip with emotion; these songs reveal a band that are at the height of their powers.
It’s like the power and passion of Year Of No Light, the dynamic energy of Deftones and the flawless delivery of Cult of Luna all rolled into one exciting package.
I love this. You will too.
Post-Metal is a rich genre and an exceedingly varied one. Also, the line between Post-Metal and its sister genres of Post-Rock and Post-Hardcore is a blurred one and can sometimes be hard to define.
Although I’d probably call this Post-Hardcore, strictly speaking it doesn’t really matter which one Under the Sun fall into; what matters is that they play long, exploratory and expansive music based around the darkness of the human mind and the frequently negative emotions that go alongside this.
This is build/release territory and the band are adept at writing a good atmospheric tune. The length of the tracks gives them ample room to manoeuvre and all of the stylistic space is taken up with creating the mood that the band wants you to feel; usually this is one of heartbreak, tragedy and melancholy.
The melodies are luxurious and drawn out, with the band really drawing the listener into the performance. Lighter Progressive Rock passages rub shoulders with heavier Doom sections. A firm sense of dynamics sees the band well through the longer compositions and they inject enough variety to hold interest.
This is a very unhurried album as the songs unfold exactly as they need to. Vocals don’t even appear until the second song as the band are content to largely let the music do the talking. These vocals are essentially Hardcore in nature and lend a chaotic edge to their sound, although some calmer cleans appear also.
It’s hard not to like music that’s played well and has a firm sense of confidence and intent. Under the Sun know what they are doing and know they do it well.
Give them a listen. Well worth it.
Whether it’s build and release or tense and relax; having light and dark or beauty and brutality; these are some of the staples of Post-Metal, that most varied of beasts, and North provide an exemplar of how to do this while layering the entire thing in raw, Sludgy vocals.
Picture a band playing their favourite parts of Isis and Year Of No Light and condensing these resulting compositions into shorter songs than typically either of those bands; this will give you a good idea of the ground that North tread.
The vocals are rough semi-cleans that provide an interesting counterpoint to the clear music. They are expressive and emotive in all of the right ways. The same can be said of the songs themselves. Taken together these tracks explore the emotional depths and heights of whatever the subject matter is. As someone once said of Radiohead – I don’t know what he’s singing about but I can tell he means it, (or something along those lines).
Each of these four tracks is a mastercrafted example of Post-Metal at its best, especially as it doesn’t aim to simply mimic Neurosis/Cult of Luna as a lot of Post-Metal ends up doing to some extent. Here we have a band travelling their own path to the beat of their heroes but with a singular intent all of their own.
I had never heard North before this EP, and I quickly come to the conclusion that this is a crying shame as the quality and effect of these songs is undeniable.
Expand your horizons, and make sure you travel North.
Eryn Non Dae are a difficult band to pigeon-hole in some ways. I’m going to go with Progressive Metal, (simply because that covers a multitude of sins), but there are also elements of Sludge, Post-Metal, Doom, Ambient, etc. on this artful album.
As a useful reference point think a band like Tool at their most expansive, only make it heavier and add harsher vocals. Prog gone Sludge? Or Post-Metal with the emphasis on the Metal? Tool crossed with Year Of No Light and Rosetta? Maybe.
A sprawling multi-faceted album that requires a guide to fully map out the terrain explored; there is both depth and breadth here, providing the listener with a complete aural experience.
Meliora is darkly atmospheric and bleakly absorbing. The songs have light and shade and never suffer from losing interest. One of the wonderful things about Eryn Non Dae is that they know how to create these various emotions and moods without following the usual Post-Metal template; although there is a good amount of variety on this album it is essentially all centred around aggression and heaviness. This being true, the fact that they have created such landscapes of hardened sound is very telling of their talented nature.
The songs are heavily involving and speak to the listener in private terms, whispering secrets that are hidden in plain sight, wrapped in an enigma of monolithic guitars and towering vocals.
This is an excellent album that I can’t believe has only just come to my attention. Released in 2012 that’s two entire years it has been missing from my life! Definitely a keeper and in it for the long haul. Get this while you can as it will make your life better.
I’ve been following The Lion’s Daughter for a while now and enjoyed their previous outings into the world of Blackened Sludge, so when I found out they were collaborating on an album with Folk group Indian Blanket I was intrigued.
I wasn’t sure what to expect upon pressing play, but it wasn’t this. I though it might be good, but this? This is a jaw-droppingly stunning album. In much the same way that Panopticon successfully incorporated bluegrass into Black Metal on their album Kentucky; The Lion’s Daughter and Indian Blanket, against all odds, have managed to successfully incorporate Folk into Sludge. The results are as astounding as they are fantastic.
If only I had heard and reviewed this at the end of 2013 it would probably have topped my end-of-year list I can tell you that now.
The album combines heaviness and softness in equal measure, using the best tools for the job depending on the needs of the song. Regardless of style it’s always dark, always emotionally charged and always tinged with melancholy.
Sludge Metal and acoustic passages; blast beats and strings; raw-throat shouts and delicate crooning; it’s all here. Taking the very, very best bits of bands like Neurosis, Isis, Year Of No Light, Agalloch and Wolves in the Throne Room then combining them with haunting Folk-inspired orchestration and Dax Riggs-style acoustics and vocals; this is a masterpiece of music awaiting discovery by any Metal fan looking for the best in unconventional heavy music.
To the cynical reader this may all smack of hyperbole, but the simple fact is that I absolutely love this album and it really is just that good. Do yourself a favour and get it immediately.
The band may be instrumental but they never let the interest waver once throughout this 57 minute release.
All band members put in an excellent performance and you can’t fault the musicianship. More than that though the compositions are original and well thought out. Second, (and shortest), track Géhenne is a prime example of this; eerie riffs slip and slide over thundering blastbeats providing a hectic juxtaposition that works wonders to wake you up first thing in the morning.
The heavy riffs are inventive and imaginative; crashing around the listener like waves from an unfathomable ocean. There really are some colossal sounds on these tracks.
Other parts are calmer and more considered, full of crescendos and build/release dynamics that may be a staple of the Post-Metal scene but reach their apotheosis here. Third track Désolation is a 10 minute slow building Doom dirge that captures you and won’t let you go until the song comes to an end and it slowly morphs into the terrible beauty of the next track Stella Rectrix; fully replete with tension and apocalyptic grandeur.
This is a state-of-the-art, sophisticated album that has the potential to appeal to anyone who likes guitar-based music. I fail to see how anyone with an ear for a good melody and an appreciation of atmosphere and mood can not like this.
Over the years Year Of No Light have consistently released top quality albums, and this is no exception. Do your ears a favour and add this to you record collection as soon as you can. Essential listening for the brain.
Favourite Track: The harrowing majesty of Stella Rectrix.