Tag Archives: Post Rock

The Moth Gatherer – The Earth is the Sky

The Moth Gatherer - The Earth is the Sky

The Moth Gatherer [Sweden]
The Earth is the Sky
Full Length
Agonia Records
Atmospheric Doom/Sludge Metal

The first time I heard of The Moth Gatherer was 2 years ago with their last album, A Braight Celestial Light. Not knowing better then, the Swedes were a novelty in terms of the epic soundscape that they managed to create and the fusing of post rock elements into their style of metal. 2 years later, the band returns with their brand new effort The Earth is the Sky, which led me to revisit A Braight Celestial Light resulting in new insights, and better appreciation of these Swedes.

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Album Review: Distorted Harmony – Chain Reaction

Distorted Harmony - Chain Reaction

Distorted Harmony [Israel]
Chain Reaction
Full Length
Progressive Rock/Metal

Progressive metal was never really my kind of thing, apart from that occasional Dream Theater, so receiving Distorted Harmony sophomore full length Chain Reaction, I didn’t really know what to expect with that geeky cover art, and the fact that they are probably one of the first Isreali band that I encounter so far. Yet with the 50-minute experience on the album, the band manages to impress, with that whole range of emotions (and musical influences) that the band has put into their songwriting.

Every Time She Smiles introduces the listener to an almost post-rockish soundscape, one that is extremely calm and soothing, before breaking into a slightly heavier segment and immediately the first band that comes to mind are the progressive rock bands that I listened to earlier into my exploration of the genre such as Porcupine Tree or Riverside. Yet the technicality that the band displays is more akin to the likes of Cynic instead, especially in the playing of guitarist Guy. Children of Red then hits the listener hard, catching one off-guard after that rather serene introduction to the band with a more aggressive vibe, that is not unlike the heavier material of bands like Dream Theater. The usage of the mellotron on songs like Misguided even brings in some comparisons to the progressive rock of Opeth.

The thing though about Distorted Harmony is in how they manage to keep the listener enchanted throughout the album, with the fusion of a whole range of sounds and influences coming together so coherently, putting the listener through an emotional roller-coaster. The songwriting ingenuity is displayed in how the band often manages to switch styles when least expected, yet not losing any of the energy or momentum that was built up prior.

Overall, what a great fucking album this is, with nice balance of all the elements that make an album great – songwriting, musicianship, emotions and technicality, complete with stellar production.

[xrr rating=5/5]

Distorted Harmony on the internet:

Album Review: Harakiri from the Sky – Aokigahara

Harakiri for the Sky - Aokigahara

Harakiri for the Sky [Austria]
Full Length
Art of Propaganda
Atmospheric Black Metal/Post Rock

In keeping with the recent interest in the black metal and post rock genres, it’s nice to chance upon Austrian band Harakiri for the Sky. While the band is relatively young, being formed only in 2011, the duo behind Harakiri for the Sky are certainly not amateurs, having already been involved in a number of other bands. Aokigahara is the band’s sophomore album, 2 years after the release of their eponymous debut.

The thing that always interests me is in how bands of the genre manage to fuse elements of calmness with their more chaotic and destructive side, yet remain constantly emotional throughout, and Harakiri for the Sky, on Aokigahara manages to do so equally capably. Kicking off the album with soothing clean guitar lines on My Bones to the Sea, the band quickly goes into full on black metal mode with little warning, and the heavy atmosphere that the band drenches their music in is rather reminiscent of bands such as Fen or Wolves in the Throne Room, though the resemblance to the former is heavier with the post rock elements that have been infused in Harakiri for the Sky‘s musical style. Acoustic moments on Jhator even brings in some moments of American black metal, in the style of bands like Shroud of Despondency.

The usage of techniques such as trem-picking on the high notes, that melancholic lead guitar lines that constantly haunts the listener throughout the album and the desperate shrieks of JJ ensures that the tension and emotions are constantly kept high. The presence and combination of aggression in the playing style of Harakiri for the Sky and the soothing soundscape at the background provides a nice contrast, and this perfect balance between the two emotional extremities ensures that one is instantly hooked on the style of Harakiri for the Sky and comes back for more.

Fans of bands such as DeafheavenAmesoeurs and the aforementioned bands will surely fall in love with Aokigahara.

[xrr rating=4/5]

Harakiri for the Sky on the internet:
Art of Propaganda

Album Review: Dies Irae – Secret Veils of Passion

Dies Irae [Mexico]
Secret Veils of Passion
Full Length
Chaos Records
Atmospheric Metal/Post-Rock

Prior to encountering Dies Irae from Mexico, the only other Dies Irae that I knew was the Polish band, with their furious brand of death metal. Mexico’s Dies Irae, however, presents a totally different style of music, with the band beginning with melodic death metal in their early days, before splitting up then reforming and subsequently mellowing down their sound into what we have today, in the form of Secret Veils of Passion.

Not knowing what to expect (not being exactly a fan of such atmospheric/post-rock genres), the album certainly surprised me a little. Album opener Want introduces listeners to what will be the style of the band, with a calming and soothing soundscape, with clean and reverb-y guitars that greet the listener, before the almost-jazzy programmed drums enter, giving the music a somewhat psychedelic effect, and a trem-picked lead guitar line lingers at the background, throwing a whole myriad of sounds towards the listener. Then without warning, a distorted guitar enters the picture, giving some sense of heaviness to the music. Vocalist Dahern often drawls out the lyrics, dragging out the vowels and giving the songs a lazy sound (in a good way, though) and unique touch.

Throughout the album, the band presents a nice mix of various genres in their songwriting, that at times threatens to mess with the listener’s head, yet managing to retain some sense of sanity throughout, and the soothing backdrop is especially important in helping to do so. On top of those already mentioned above, vocalist Dahern at times breaks out into a desolate scream/shout, and gives the music an almost depressive feel. Songs like To even emanates a haunting and doomish mood, with the atmosphere sending chills down one’s spine, and the more calming and softer moments on the album like Fight brings to mind such psychedelic bands as Pink Floyd, and For brings in some of the band’s older influences with the melodic death metal-sounding riffing patterns. Each of the members in the band are certainly capable at what they do, and this can be seen for example through the guitar solos of Fernz, often emotional and melodic, even on the faster ones, where he displays some excellent finger-acrobatics like on For. There are even some jazz-fusion moments on Sex, and the listener is instantly reminded of those instrumental rock records in the playing style and sense of melody that is clearly present.

Despite the strong moments being those softer moments, on the heavier moments on the album the impact doesn’t really hit the listener hard enough, with the programmed drums being the one that pulled down such  moments, and could have been better if the band had utilised a real drummer. The programmed double-bass drums are weak-sounding, and lack the force to really bring out the emotions of aggressive moments, such as those on For. Also, while the band’s efforts to mix and match various genres is certainly commendable, there are times when the band tends to end up having the opposite effect instead, sounding almost as if they were unsure what they really want to do. The single-syllable song titles also could come across as overly pretentious as well. Overall though, Secret Veils of Passion is a nice mix-bag of surprises, whether one is looking out for post-rock, atmospheric metal material or more aggressive melodic death metal material.

Dies Irae on the internet:
Chaos Records

©2012 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui

Album Review: naisian – Mammalian

naisian [UK]
Full Length

U.K post metal band naisian, hails from Sheffield, the same city as another one of this reviewer’s favourite post rock band, 65daysofstatic. Maybe it’s something in the waters there that makes Sheffield produce great, catchy post rock sounds. naisian comes across as being many things at once: bluesy, sludgy, catchy and with heavy metal sensibilities. If one listens carefully, one might identify influences from many great post metal/sludge bands like Isis and Eyehategod. But far from ripping off any of them, naisian has infused very catchy beats and riffs, most evident in Take Me to the Mountain Dew Mountain. I would not mind taking a trip too after rocking out to this song.

naisian’s songs are heavily instrumental-dominated with the occasional vocals. They are not afraid to experiment with the varied sounds that their guitar pedal boards had to offer, thus having quite a large palette of sounds across all their songs. An example is the title track Mammalian, where all kinds of reverb-y delays and choruses were employed. The songs also varied in its focus: at times atmospheric, straight forward at others, even occasionally experimental. This makes the album quite a journey.

With 5 songs clocking in a total of just under 40 minutes, naisian brings a breath of fresh air into the genre that might sometimes get bogged down by the significant influences of a few of the post/sludge-genre. This album turned out to be pretty easy listening musically, and the production is sludgy and yet retains most of the details.

naisian on the internet:

©2011 Heavy Metal Tribune | JJ Yeo

Album Review: Fen/De Arma – Towards the Shores of the End

Fen [UK]/De Arma [Sweden]
Towards the Shore of the End
Nordvis Produktion
Atmospheric Black Metal

I first discovered Fen when I was looking for bands that sounded similar to those such as Amosoeurs and Alcest, bands that manage to fuse elements of black metal, atmospheric music and post rock together to form beautiful music. While I personally found bands like Alcest too “mellow”, Fen does it for me by not having the music too soft, incorporating black metal vocals on top of the atmospheric music.

They return this year 2 years after their debut full length album, The Malediction Fields, a split with De Arma, a relatively young Swedish band.

The album starts off with Fen‘s side and wasting no time, they present to the listener what they do best. The introduction riffs to the opening song, Soilbound, is nothing “br00tal” or “gr1m” as one would expect from the black metal connotation, they are a preview of what the band does best – their brand of a mixture of black metal and post-rock. The Watcher displays his versatility in both clean and rough vocals; his growls are deep and gruff, while his clean vocals are sufficiently dreamy to instantly transfer a listener from a headbanging madness into a floating state of mind.

The band also makes full use of various guitar effects (such as clean guitars with a heavy chorus effect), on top of the standard keyboard/synthesizers to further emphasise on the atmospheric aspect of the music. It’s nice to hear the impossibly large improvement over 2009’s The Malediction Fields. While that had certain awkward moments present at times, there isn’t even a slight tinge of that present on their contribution to this split, as all the notes of the music link seamlessly with each other. Fen ends their side with an acoustic (and instrumental) reprise of Bereft, off their previous full length, complete with beautiful melodies by acoustic guitars and a piano, a beautiful and fitting end. Fen‘s side is definitely a good companion for those who love taking long walks on a cold, quiet night, and is easily one of the albums that can put you to sleep on a sleepless night (in a good way, of course!).

With Fen having set such a high standard on their portion of the split, it is certainly interesting to see how De Arma would be able to match up.

De Arma picks up where Fen left off with their brand of atmospheric metal and does not disappoint. The first thing that one notices that distinguishes their music from Fen‘s is the vocal styling. Vocalist A‘s (of Armagedda fame) voice has a unique quality, dreamy, yet soulful and full of emotions. His growls, unlike The Watcher‘s and unsurprisingly, border more on black metal shrieks, reminiscent of bands such as Summoning instead of the growls presented on Fen. De Arma‘s closing track, From Horizon to Oblivion is closer to straightforward black metal fare, with the desolate riffs and the song structure.

While the music is similar to Fen‘s brand, it certainly stands apart mainly due to the vocalist’s approach. Overall, De Arma‘s music is also faster paced, giving much life to the music.

This split is a good starting point for someone who is new to Fen, and at the same time, a display of the potential of De Arma, and is recommended to fans of atmospheric black metal, or the newer fusion styles of black metal and post rock.

Fen on the internet:

De Arma on the internet:

©2011 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui