Tag Archive: Post-Rock



 

Genre:  Post Rock
Year of Release: 2011
Record Label: Mystic Production
Recommended for fans of: Mogwai, This Will Destroy You, God is an Astronaut

Track Listing:

01. These Days, Glory Days                                                                  
02. The Fall Of Leviathan                                                                       
03. Waiting For The World To Turn Back                                        
04. Caravans                                                                                               
05. White Gardens                                                                                   
06. Hypothermia                                                                                      
07. Siberia                                                                                                                                     
08. Cemetary of Frozen Ships                                                            

Review:

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!

Tides From Nebula: We're from Poland and we play Post-Rock!

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.

Siberia - large arctic wasteland - try not to get lost!

 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!

Lineup:

Adam Waleszyński – guitars
Maciej Karbowski – guitars, keys, piano
Przemek Węgłowski – bass
Tomasz Stołowski – drums

5/5

D.P


Genre: Rock\Metal

Year of Release: 2010

Record Label: Kscope

Recommended for fans of: Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, Mogwai.

Track Listing:

  1. “Thin Air” – 5:59
  2. “Summernight Horizon” – 4:12
  3. “Dreaming Light” – 5:47
  4. “Everything” – 5:05
  5. “Angels Walk Among Us” – 5:17
  6. “Presence” – 2:58
  7. “A Simple Mistake” – 8:14
  8. “Get Off, Get Out” – 5:01
  9. “Universal” – 7:19
  10. “Hindsight” – 8:10

Review

Ask any Anathema fan and they will tell you that this album has been a long time coming, the last time we saw a full studio album from them was 2003’s ‘A Natural Disaster’, admittedly the first ever Anathema album I got into. Sure we had ‘Hindsight’ in 2008 – a collection of acoustic arrangements of classic Anathema pieces, which proved an emotional soothing 50 minute ride, but we wanted something even fresher, we wanted something entirely new.

Well, what we have is a definite evolution of their sound; it’s hard to believe that these guys from Liverpool started off as one of the ‘Peaceville 3’ along with My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost creating the whole death/doom scene in the early 90’s.

It’s no secret I’m not a big fan of the first few Anathema albums entirely because of this reason, I’m glad Anathemas original vocalist Darren White left the band and let the Cavanagh brothers take the reins and steer the direction towards what could be best described as Atmospheric Post-Rock.

This is a good thing in my opinion!

So what’s changed since 2003 then?

‘We’re here because we’re here’ [WHBWH] builds upon the strong song writing seen in the last decade of the band, and I would go as far as saying it’s their strongest ‘cohesive’ effort so far. That and it’s been mixed by Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree. YES. HIM.

WHBWH opens up with ‘Thin Air’, arguably one of the standouts of the album, this song oozes atmosphere with its carefully layers guitars and echoey vocals. Vincent Cavanagh has never sounded so good! The lyrics make it plainly clear that this is a love song, ‘all that I know is that I love you, and all of the world is on fire, you’re just a whisper way’ albeit a carefully crafted and powerful one. The harmony vocals that kick in midway through the song are joined by some powerful drumming and the build up that is created is pure bliss!

Without giving you anytime to breathe ‘Summernight Horizon’ is next, Les Smith leading the way with some very fast keyboard flurries that Danny Cavanagh wastes no time into laying down some wonderfully distorted guitar onto. Lee Douglas has officially joined the band line-up full time as of this album, which is brilliant news; she has a beautifully haunting voice as evidenced on the duel harmonies with Vincent. ‘The world is like a jewel in your eyes…’ fantastic stuff

‘Dreaming Light’ is the ballad of the album, a gorgeous piano led piece. The great thing about music is the way it can make you feel and this song is so bittersweet, yet somewhat hopeful, it’s definitely about that kind of ‘fall in love’ in an instant type feeling we’ve all felt at some point – ‘…and you, shining silent, love steals my mind like the sunrise’. The instrumental section during this song conjures up a mind on fire totally besotted by someone.

‘Everything’ is a fast paced little number that makes you kind of restless just listening to it, with a chorus sounding not unlike ‘Heart of the Sunrise’ by Prog Legends Yes.  Massive emphasis is on the use of Vincent and Lee’s harmonies and duel singing, it is the defining attribute on this album indeed. ‘Everything is energy and energy is you…’ pure vocal genius.

‘Angels Walk Amongst Us’ is a song that is very personal and emotional not at least for the 3 Cavanagh brothers being about the death of a close family member, the song builds up just as I would expect grief would upon losing someone very close. When the distorted guitars hit the forefront of the layers, the anger and frustration can just be heard. A very good mid-album piece perfectly placed.

The next track ‘Presence’ acts as a segue piece; featuring a spoken sample if a man talking about his views of mortality, he says that ‘life isn’t the opposite of death, birth is the opposite of death, therefore life is eternal’. It’s food for thought definitely, and it fits in the piece aptly before Lee Douglas vocals can another chance to shine, before the build up into:

‘A Simple Mistake’, without a doubt the best song Anathema have ever written, this is a fantastic 8 mini-epic. It really does have to be heard. The song can broadly be divided into 2 sections, the first 4 minutes are largely ethereal in nature featuring one of the most beautiful choruses I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing, the vocals and lyrics in particular are very strong. ‘Rise, be the master, cos you don’t have to be a slave’ – yeah stick it to the man and take some control over your life, despite any mistakes you might have made! The 2nd second is instrumental delight to the aural senses, starting with a distorted riff the whole band take off and proper go for it, John Douglas’s drumming in particular stands out here. The song builds up to a massive crescendo and then finishes abruptly leaving you for more. Powerful stuff!

‘Get Off, Get Out’ is the albums least serious piece, still full of energy and many fans have commented that it sounds very PT’ish. Coincidence seeing as SW mixed the record? The harmonies do have a very SW feel to them!

‘Universal’ is up next and is at least initially the most sombre piece on the album, introverted and retrospective, considering the wild ride we’ve had up to now it’s a welcome change to the ears! Danny Cavanagh’s solo is full of rich texture before… STRINGS are added to the mix, I am a sucker for String sections in rock music, and on this occasion they add so much depth! Closes the song off perfectly!

WHBWH closes unusually with a pure instrumental piece called ‘Hindsight’ which as mentioned above is also the name of the acoustic album they released a couple of years ago. Starting very much like Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were with the addition of a radio tuning into randomness, this is then joined by a voice talking about what seems to be the overarching concept of the album ‘Love and Life’. Soon enough though the guitars, drums and bass join in over the dynamic keyboards. The song builds up in intensity and leaves us with the one thought that: ‘Life is Eternal…’.

It may have taken a while to record but WHBWH has been worth the wait, this is Anathema doing what they do best being emotional atmospheric rock music that makes you think. It is a beautiful album and it does pain me slightly that not everyone will hear it.

If I dare say Anathema need to build upon the success of this, be very proud of this release and don’t leave it so long before they get back into the studio again to work on the next album.  I for one will be there to ride the ethereal journey once again.

Lineup:

Vincent Cavanagh – Vocals
Daniel Cavanagh – Guitar
Les Smith – Keyboards
Jamie Cavanagh – Bass Guitar
John Douglas – Drums
Lee Douglas – Vocals

4.5/5

D.P