Review Round Up #4

té – Oto no Naka no ‘Keiren Teki’ na Bi wa, Kannen wo Koe Nikutai ni Otozureru Yasei no Senritsu EP80%

té_2012
Japanese post/math-rockers are explosive and aggressive in this EP which features 3 new tracks and a live show recorded earlier this year. Bold, heavy and rhythmic would best describe the three new tracks, which are the only tracks on the EP I am reviewing. Furiously breakneck sets a ridiculous tempo that textured guitars of all varieties struggle to keep up with in the first track. In the second track we have a much slower smoother tempo indie-rock like feel with dark tones bursting at the seams in complex layering, creating an enormous wall of sound. The main riff is cutting edge and catchy as the band manages to sneak in some scaling spiral guitar layers embedded deep within the mix as well.  The final new track begins space-age esque electronica before evolving into a groovy blend of muddy bass and textured guitar crescendos while a single high-pitched clean guitar swirls around the tornado of sound. always manage to impress me and these new tracks are no different.  9-27-12

Available for a staggering $19 at http://zankyorecord.bandcamp.com/album/te-official-merch

SinobolaSinobola81%

Relatively new onto the scene, the Ukrainian 4-piece Sinobola’s self titled album is their first full length and the follow-up to their 3-track “Ideas EP”, reviewed just last month by Bothra, a postrockstar guest reviewer. The 6-track 28 minute album is a highly impressive effort that steps upon new territories by being a very bass centric album. Superb lush guitar tones in “Walls of Horizons” and “We Were Confused Because the Universe is Silent” really help the two tracks shine as the best of the bunch. “Speak in Whispers”, the closing track on the album, showcases a refined and mature sound that tells me this band is nowhere near reaching their potential. Even though the album manages to make a lot of noise and ratchets up the intensity here and there, it never reaches levels loud or intense enough that it interferes with the laid back vibe. There are a few technical qualms I have with the album in terms of mixing and a few areas that sounded a bit muddy, but those can be overlooked and are minor nuances that don’t really hinder the album much. In many ways the album has all the markings of a young band throwing themselves into the fray while still developing their sound. 9-27-12

Available for free at their Last.fm page: http://www.last.fm/music/Sinobola/Sinobola

A Place of OwlsThe Oceanic Tomes –  78%

The Oceanic Tomes (ft. Blake Tanberk) cover art

A solo project based on Minneapolis, A Place of Owls has had a firm grasp on both my ears and my heart from the moment I heard “Inviere”, their 2010 EP. When I saw this release on bandcamp, I instantly noticed the track lengths and hoped for the best, realizing I had to prepare for the fact that “The Oceanic Tomes” most likely wouldn’t be a return to the edgy, aggressive, short and to the point songs that I had grown fond of. Even though the release is a collaboration with music theory instructor Blake Tanberk, I was still caught off guard  by the minimalist ambient stylings found throughout the record, a stark departure from the band’s previous work. Those looking for wailing post-rock guitars of despair will be met with long drawn out moody passages of deep ambiance painting a picture of a journey through the pitch black depths of the blue unknown. A soundtrack for deep soul-searching best enjoyed in a dimly lit room or under the relaxed sedation of heavy eyelids. Those expecting post-rock may need to wait for a future release. Those willing to dive into the 45 minute journey will be rewarded with enough space to let their mind roam at will. 9-27-12

Pay what you want on bandcamp: http://aplaceofowls.bandcamp.com/album/the-oceanic-tomes-ft-blake-tanberk

North – The Great Silence – 87%

The Great Silence cover art

(IamHop note: Please welcome longtime friend Erich B. Heider to the Postrockstar family! Erich will be lending his ears and offering his insight for the foreseeable future in an effort to help bring fresh opinions, critiques and writing to the site. Erich will be handling most of the post-metal, sludge and shoegaze content that comes our way.)

North is one of those bands that, upon continued listening, rewards the subject with the realization that although made up of a few completely disparate elements, comes together amazingly into a beautiful monster.

This Tuscan, Arizona band mixes super thick heavy riffs and one of the best death/sludge vocal sounds I’ve heard in years with gossamer post rock/gaze instrumental passages and undercurrents in a way that sounds quite unique in the current overcrowded post rock/post metal oeuvre.

The intro track, “nihil novi sub sole,” which, incidentally translates from the Latin as “There is nothing new under the sun,” lulls one in with stereophonic warmth bursts. This trend continues into the beginning of “Sentience” which starts out with an Explosions in the Sky vibe that is dissipated as soon as the deep, gravel throated vocals kick in. This doesn’t cross the railroad tracks into heavy until the sluggish, almost lazy riff drops, so the vocals against the grain of the music here make for a special sweet and sour treat. I was  pleasantly surprised not only at how well the vocals work with the lighter moments of the music, but with the well written lyrics and melodic hooks (although I hate to call them that, as they aren’t contrived at all).

We entirely submerge ourselves into the dark on Track 3, “Inanimate Fathers.”  Though the tempo doesn’t pick up, the whole vibe is heavier, and if it weren’t for the underlying edges of post rock stylings you’d figure you were listening to the next great “stoner” sludge band.

“Origins” is up next, and at first bringing us back to the gaze. An interesting guitar figure played over swelling peaks of volume resonates warmth…with only the bass suggesting at first that something is very wrong. There’s just enough dissonance mixed in to unsettle you, keeping you off-balance until what turns out to be a perfectly executed semi-duet, complete with female vocals, kicks in. The track breathes menace even as its fractured beauty invites you in.

The next track, “Pulse,” picks the pace up slightly again, but pours on the anger. The vibe is relentless. It’s like the promise of getting a beating when you’re a masochist. With the force receding briefly for an interlude that’s like the relief after an ice cream headache subsides, you get smashed in the ear with tremolo picking and more plodding beast riffage.

Ironically enough, “Patience,” is one of the shortest tracks on this album, clocking in at a little under 6 minutes. It’s comparative brevity doesn’t mean it lacks in the power sludge that permeates this great album. It’s a nice treat to hear the vocals lighten up ever so slightly, before going over the crest into a thousand sand grains shredding through the desert in a windstorm. Very hooky, despite the slow brutality exhibited. Darth Vader would waltz with you to the bridge of this song.

“Paradox” returns to a familiar post rock cadence at the beginning. Of course the slight turn in the road takes us down the dim streets of rain slicked sludge, passing only glimpses of its former self in the puddles. At this point it will occur to anyone even fairly into music how amazingly solid, though understated, the rhythm section of this band is. One realizes how far one has come, but only now do they see that the path they follow is so in synch as to absorb, like the shocks of a dune buggy, all the peaks and twists, without letting one know it were ever happening. This is Lincoln Continental style air glide.

Chaos is permitted only long enough to deliver us to “Ou Est Tout Le Monde.” This is the best ending possible for “The Great Silence.” It reprises all the flavors that have come before it, but in an ultimate form. Epic, mean, and with a sharp octave guitar line, cutting all the way till sweetness is found. Duel riffs lead to sweet shoegaze interludes that lead to the belly of a leviathan, thanks to the once again stunning vocals and their melody. Oh yeah, and since I set a translation precedent, the title translates to “Everyone (in the world) is there.”

In summation, if you the least bit interested at post metal/gaze music, even out of curiosity, this album is a fucking smash. There’s almost literally no going wrong here, which is comparatively astounding, given the hit or miss nature of the post metal genre as a whole. North know how it’s done, and they are innovative and skilled enough to even invent some new ways to do it.

Available for $8 on bandcamp: http://galacticdads.bandcamp.com/