OBE – Partners

Reviewed by: TenaciousListening

OBE’s debut album, Partners, is an exhausting piece of work. The ideas flow thick and fast, the dual guitar attack is full of imaginative melodies and counter melodies whilst the rhythm section thankfully, lest they completely run away from each other, holds them together with generally simpler arrangements. Or that is the feeling I sometimes got while listening to this album. In actual fact the often-separate guitar parts are expertly crafted to compliment each other while they could easily stand up on their own.

This is instrumental math rock, with leanings towards the heavier side of things and a smattering of tremolo picked parts that hint at some post-rock inspiration. There are no obvious crescendos, but the tracks build and build their sections between the bigger riffs and even the often-changing ideas fit well together without feeling forced.

Like any post-whatever album a fade in intro to the first riff is almost essential, but the riff that enters literally drags you towards a riff where the track, Antifragile, really starts. It’s big and before you know it things have dropped down into quieter waters and begin to build. The rest of the album follows this schizophrenic pattern; you never know quite what is coming next, but when it does it is exactly what you expected, but you are surprised as you didn’t expect your expectations to be met!

The way these guys progress the music is brilliant and Partners is definitely one of those albums that you have to listen to a number of times before the tracks take on their own identity. Not because everything sounds the same, but because the whole thing works together so well. If I had to give you a few highlights then they have to be Standard Fog, Backcracker, and Bay of Pigs Memorial Dance; but that’s only as you asked, the hooks come thick and fast and by the time one’s gone another is on its way.

Even though the tracks are brilliantly formed, the melodies intriguing and the riffs driving, you get the feeling that this band is one to catch live. I’ve been assured that they are and I’ll be sharing a stage with them at the end of April so I’ll get to see. If you like your music heavy and technical with a whole lot of fun thrown in then you cannot fail to love Obe.

 

tags: alternative cinematic instrumental post-rock progressive riff rock United Kingdom

Wess Meets West – When The Structures Fail Us

Reviewed by: Foofer

Wess Meets West is one of the most annoying band names to say aloud. It needs to be said… figuratively, not literally.

Wess Meets West hasn’t really made any splashes in any ponds other than their local ones, but with two full albums and an EP under their belt, they’ve started to gain a following in the more obscure post-rock circles.

That being said, this is not post-rock, strictly speaking. They don’t depend on the bass for their melodies, the guitar isn’t used for textures nearly enough, and they still hav a very rock-like structure to them, even if it is a bit more linear. Still, it can’t accurately be labeled as post-rock.

Even if this is technically instrumental rock, it’s still got a ton of talent backing it up, and I still enjoy it immensely. The musicians have got to be psychic, they’re all so tight as a group. It may as well have been done on a computer, it’s all so perfectly synchronized. I’m a huge sound geek, so the quality of the recording is always something I notice. With the limited funds that small bands have, it’s extremely difficult to get a good sound from the drums to the mics with these budget/equipment restrictions. Needless to say, the audiophile in me goes absolutely nuts over this album.

As a listener, it’s an entirely different story. The debut EP/single/whatever is usually something they put together quickly to get something out there as soon as possible. So they’ve released something, and they’ve got a sliver of experience under their belt, so they make their first full album their first true effort and these first albums typically have a very similar sound if not identical to their first release.

Sophomore albums are like the pubescent stage for bands. They’ve discovered what they’re good at, and start experimenting. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. This one is a bit of both; I love this album but some of my friends are less than thrilled about it, to say the least.


Yes, they sound airtight, but they’ve got a lot to learn when it comes to their song structure. Yes, they have excellent recording qualities, but your average listener doesn’t even have the right listening equipment to truly appreciate it, so it’s kind of a null point to make when arguing for this album. You could go back and forth about this album for a while, but I don’t think it’s worth the time. Just agree to disagree, and enjoy it. Or not. It’s up to you.

 

tags: electronic post rock rock New Haven

Before The Eyewall – Before the Eyewall

This record has been out for a while, and we’ve promoted it on the site before. I just feel like it needs a proper review to do it justice.

Before The Eyewall’s full length debut is a raging monolith. This Ohio three piece not only know how to build up a track, they know how to deliver the sludgy heavy goods like god’s own fist thrust into the sun. I find it kind of amazing that a band capable of such nuanced introductions and intermissions can slam down the doom so hard. I had to turn my subwoofer down! The psych influences here are just evident enough to balance out all the brash ball-stomping gnarl. Quieter moments fit right in, fleshing out the Gollum of rock.

These guys aren’t new to music, and BTE itself has been going on since 2010. They are road tested and seasoned. Post metal is always a crapshoot, but this is quality to the extreme. Songs flow well into one another, and the riffs are there, but there’s no overindulgence, just raw, intuitive song.

Production is more then decent. There’s a lot going on once in a while, but it sounds like everything can be translated (with the help of a looper at least) to a live environment. The guitar has just the right heft to keep it on the right side of overly chunky, while the bass is limber when clean, and a gorilla when fuzzed. The drums get a little buried once in a while, tonally, but the percussiveness and punch are still like kicks from inside a fog.

I am of the mind that this is well worth listening to for anyone into heavier post rock/post metal, or doom, sludge, and all those other bullshit names. The bottom line is that this is a straight up great debut. Do not sleep on Before The Eyewall.

 

Terraformer – Creatures

Terraformer wants you to believe their latest release ‘Creatures’ is one of the hardest hitting, pulse raising, clad in darkness albums you’ll hear all year. But when you pull back the post-metal veil you’ll quickly discover this album has just as many post-rock intricacies as it has post-metal appeal. This three piece belgian brute has been on my radar since their 2012 effort ‘The Sea Shaper’ which solidified the band as an upcoming powerhouse that suits my post-metal fancy. I have to be in pretty rare form to truly enjoy brutal vocals, so Terraformer’s heavy instrumental doom and gloom  passages  really connected with heavier preference.

Don’t let the opening moments of “Beast” fool you. Like a lap dog showing it’s teeth the first time it meets you, this track is quick to mellow down from it’s brutal opening and quickly simmers to a post-rock meets prog-metal boil. High pitched guitars occupy the upper channels while a ground army of distortion marches in the lower levels. Add a dash of spiraling crescendo and a gratuitous helping of cymbal riding, add a menacing and low key middle and you have all the ingredients for a spicy opener.  “Wolves Beyond The Border” is the track where the realization kicks in that this is going to be a special album. The slow burn in this song is the real treat, as the build is almost always better than the peak. The aura and atmosphere that’s been created in the first two tracks is both eerie and intense.

“Wyverne” has a slightly friendlier appeal to it with it’s catchy beat and melodically warm distorted guitar tones. The technical drumming truly shines here prior to the uprising of the guitar for one grand finale of layered grandeur.  “Louve” serves as a short transition number to help set the table for “Kelpie” which is probably the go-to track I would use if I was introducing someone to Terraformer for the first time. This song is a beat driven track chalked full of technical prowess, overpowering distortion, layered clean guitar work and a badass build up leading into a payoff of high pitched crescendo that streaks across the upper channels like shooting stars. All of this is capped by a signature heavy ending we’ve grown to love out of Terraformer.

“Géants” follows and while I enjoy the song I definitely feel as though it is clearly upstaged by “Kelpie” in almost every possible way. It’s almost as if one of the two short interlude tracks should have been slotted between the two tracks. “Aegir” comes in and lightens the mood for “Alecta”, the album’s closer.  “Alecta” brings  a much different approach to songwriting and really sets the mood with a much slower, more reserved pacing. There are vocals here, but they are minimal and add a new dynamic and depth to the band’s sound. An elongated finale that lasts about three minutes slowly draws this eight track, 43 minute album to a close.

‘Creatures’ is the realization of a full potential for Terraformer. With a tremendously focused effort, this album has all the tell tale signs of an album that will withstand the test of time. I can’t finish this review without mentioning I’m in love with the production of the album either. As a snobby audiophile I applaud the mixing and mastering throughout the album. Guitar layers are deep and bassy, the heavy cymbal riding is placed in the mix in such a way that it doesn’t detract from the bigger picture. All of this is done while the band maintains an overall tight sound, keeping the atmosphere of ‘Creatures’ in tact.

The kid gloves are off and amateur hour is over. This album signifies the rise of the next major player in the post-rock scene. Albums of this caliber that seemingly come out of nowhere are the reason why I love this music and why I tirelessly plunge hour after hour into Postrockstar. Let’s be completely honest, with the exception of music in the nordic countries, the music industry as a whole isn’t in great shape. Those on top are more in it for the fame than the art. It genuinely bothers me that ‘Creatures’ will potentially only be heard by a few thousand people while big label backed Top 40 entertainers (because let’s face it, few at that level are actually “artists”) can put their name on any badly overproduced track and it will be heard and lauded by millions. Fuck that. People need more albums like ‘Creatures’ in their life. This album is A+ and is easily a must listen to album.

 

tags: experimental liège epic instrumental instrumental rock math rock post-metal post-rock progressive progressive metal Belgium

Postrockstar March Recap

It’s the start of spring! Flowers are blooming, snow is melting and Cloudkicker is…touring? What the hell! That’s right, Ben Sharp aka Cloudkicker is taking his brand of djent-infused post-rock on the road for the first time ever as he will be accompanied on stage by Intronaut. While we can’t make any promises, if all goes well we may or may not have some exclusive photos and videos from one or more of Mr. Sharp’s performances.

March was a fun month for us here at Postrockstar, capped off with a round table review of Moonlit Sailor’s ‘We Come From Exploding Stars’. In case you didn’t religiously follow our site daily, here’s a recap of our month here at Postrockstar.

March Roundtable Review

Moonlit Sailor – We Come From Exploding Stars

Reviewed Albums

Plainfire – But When Words Fail (reviewed by James)

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra – Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything (reviewed by TenaciousListening)

Audrey Fall – Mitau **MUST LISTEN** (reviewed by James)

Rocket Miner – Elegy (reviewed by Foofer)

Garden Party – EP II (reviewed by Erich)

Martyn Jackson – Home (reviewed by James)

Featured Albums

Twilight in Versailles – Capsule

Silencio – The Politics of Lonely

Cian – Sesión en vivo (DEMO)

One Star Closer – Another Shape of Purity

M83 – You And The Night (OST)

Larkahl – Journal

Fthia – emporiatrics v. 1​-​4