Genre: Post Rock
Year of Release: 2011
Record Label: Mystic Production
Recommended for fans of: Mogwai, This Will Destroy You, God is an Astronaut
01. These Days, Glory Days
02. The Fall Of Leviathan
03. Waiting For The World To Turn Back
05. White Gardens
08. Cemetary of Frozen Ships
It’s not that often an album comes along and truly blows me away, sure I’m fond of many albums, but it takes something special to make me think ‘WOW PAY ATTENTION’!
It’s no secret I’ve fallen in love with instrumental post-rock and metal within the last year, bands like God is an Astronaut and Mogwai leading the charge, this is thinking man’s music; lyrics completely discarded as the music leads the narration and paints the pictures. Love, loss, emptiness, elation, bliss, wonderment, excitement – it’s all here in aural delight.
There’s no denying that lyrics are something we can all relate to, Post-Rock is characterised by the total or near absence of them, some might think this a detriment, I’d say give it a chance because once you understand the reason for the lack of lyrics you may just get hooked like I have!
You know that old saying ‘I just can’t put my feelings into words?’
That is the epitome of Post-Rock, let the music tell the story and atmospherics and texture convey the feelings and emotions.
It works very well.
I got into Tides From Nebula after I saw them support Riverside at the Picturedrome in Holmfirth a few months ago, funny how I’m now listening to the support band from that gig more than the headliners! It was the first time they had played in England and it was fantastic! (Both Riverside and Tides From Nebula come from Poland)
I knew I had to get their albums upon my return. This is their 2nd album after they released the debut in 2009 entitled ‘Aura’ which is a fantastic debut album, to be reviewed later!So here we have ‘Earthshine’:
The album opens with the brilliantly titled ‘These Days, Glory Days’ straight into sad distant piano and shimmering synths with tribal style drumming entering the fray soon after. It’s like a prologue, as it builds up tremolo picking (a post-rock staple) guitars sound off in a massive crescendo. What a build up! It certainly pays off as well as the full band move flawlessly together in all manner of directions.
‘The Fall of Leviathan’ is one of the albums strongest offerings, opening up with a gorgeous tremolo picked guitar as the build-up commences, soon joined by the rest of the band in what I can only describe as pure elation. When the lead guitar kicks in, it sounds so sad it’s unreal! Things soon go all quiet and ambient, and it’s apparent that Tides From Nebula are really strong songwriters when it comes to loud/quiet contrasts and connecting them. As in this case when the song enters its penultimate phase, sweeping guitar lines turn into distorted melodies that literally rip you from one emotion to the next. Beautiful, beautiful song.
We go all ambient for the ‘Waiting for the World to Turn Back’ which is a short pleasant segue track that brings the listener back down to earth with distant piano and ethereal atmospheric textures.
‘Caravans’ starts off dark and dreamy, like as if you were flying above storm clouds but oblivious to the noise they were making, that is until the drums kick in and your heart rate begins to increase. There is something primitively sexy about this track, almost carnal, I daresay it’d be a great soundtrack to make love to as when the guitars kick in, it’s euphoric! The outro being one of the most memorable parts of the album with a fantastic arpeggiated guitar line holding everything today, almost sounds contemplative.
After taking that in, you’d probably think the album couldn’t get any better, but it does! ‘White Gardens’ is a fantastic 6 minute piece that is lovely and mellow for the first 4 minutes, a much needed respite after the previous track. The last two minutes are loud and pure excitement, the guitar line that kicks in at 5:05 for example makes my soul want to weep with pure passion.
‘Hypothermia’ acts as a short ambient introduction piece for the next track and serves its purpose well as ‘Siberia’ starts. This is my favourite track on the album, it is one of the best pieces of post-rock I have ever had the pleasure to listen to. Everything about this song is perfect from the mood it conjures and the story it seems to tell. When I listen to it, it makes me feel as if I was trekking across a vast arctic wasteland and then only thing that was keeping me going was ‘hope’ that I’d see that special somebody again. In the absence of lyrics you can tell your own stories!
The highlight of this song for me, and therefore the album is at 5:55, the fast paced tremolo picking guitars practically scream raw emotion before the track comes to a close with a medium paced mellow outro that wraps up the song very aptly indeed.
The album closes with ‘Cemetry of Frozen Ships’ and by association with the previous song if you allow my creativity to continue, it’s almost as if after endless wanderings through the aforementioned arctic wasteland I appear to have stumbled upon a graveyard of ships, and I’m taking this epic sight in with melancholic wonderment! This song is the perfect end to the tour de force of the album, in complete contrast to everything else before it, it is slow and plodding, the perfect comedown. The track ends with some beautiful acoustic guitar and keyboard that seems to be crying…
…and thus the album closes!
Earthshine is an excellent example of the genre, and a clear contender for album of the year for me (although with new Steven Wilson, Opeth & Anathema all coming out this autumn it’s going to be tough). I would go as far as saying it’s certainly my favourite Post-Rock album at the moment, the production is top notch and sounds great when having an immersive headphone session.
I expect big things from this band in the future, one to watch!
Adam Waleszyński – guitars
Maciej Karbowski – guitars, keys, piano
Przemek Węgłowski – bass
Tomasz Stołowski – drums