Album Review: Parliament Owls – A Span Is All That We Can Boast

Parliament Owls, a quintet from Canada, have quite a challenge as with any new band playing this stylistically demanding music. They either need to add something exciting and original to the genre, or be so bloody good at delivering captivating rock (that visits quite a few genres) in its conventional form that they stand head and shoulders above the oceans of ordinariness that surround them. While they will not win any awards for innovation, the debut full-length release “A Span Is All That We Can Boast” does in fact rise most convincingly from the latter category, and has enough variation in its six tracks to keep interest levels high.

A Span Is All That We Can Boast

Beginning with “Cocobolo,” Parliament Owls expertly marry the math rock histrionics of The Dillinger Escape Plan to the noise rock sensibilities of Melvins. The band doesn’t joke about with long intros, and like to get on with the business at hand, with only one track clocking at almost seven minutes. This makes for a more urgent and also provides a much more organic feel to the band’s playing.

In addition to The Dillinger Escape Plan and Melvins you can undoubtedly hear the massive influence of Cult of Luna, Mono, Mastodon, Between the Buried and Me, all the major names, but Parliament Owls somehow manage to put a unique stamp on this rather derivative framework.

Parliament Owls have risen far above the sum of their influences, and delivered a very fine rock album. Check it out!

Follow Parliament Owls on Facebook.

Review: Deus Omega – In Absentia of Light

Deus Omega - In Absentia of Light

The Sydney-based Progressive Death/Black Metal project Deus Omega — managed by singer, multi-instrumentalist and producer Alex Moore — released its new album titled “In Absentia of Light” on March 20th. It includes, wait for it, whooping 23 songs in total, and remains true to the project’s genre description which borders on experimental in every kind of meaning. Sudden rhythm changes, crushing guitar riffs, combination of growl, scream and clean vocals, and blast beats are some of the parts that make up this release. 

Whole album has a cinematic, dark vibe what is easily derived from the title. That also adds a bit of avantgarde to the mix. Moore’s vocals are outstanding, and they certainly deepen the atmosphere making everything more meaningful. The only remark here is the album’s length; not that I’m complaining but there is enough material here for three separate releases what just speaks about the talent of this Australian musician.

It is a good thing to see that Deus Omega is keen on exploring different elements in their music. “In Absentia of Light” is a success, and is truly one of the 2018 albums that surprised me the most so far. Hear it on Spotify.

Review: Glaston – Inhale / Exhale

Glaston

Calling Swiss band Glaston post-rock does this Zurich / Basel four-piece a bit of injustice. They do include plethora of post-rock elements on “Inhale / Exhale,” the group’s first full-length album, but it’s definitely much more than that. Welcome to the soundtrack of emotions, free form and complexity.

Jumping on a bandwagon in 2014 with the release of the “Setting Out” single, the quartet spent next three years in honing and redefining their sound, reaching its climax with the 2017 release. Ten songs of “Inhale / Exhale” show that there is much to the of post-rock than delay-engaged tremolo riffs, what’s ultimately proven with the album opener and one of the strongholds “Game of Tones.” This polarising piece flows manually from very minimal to complex, never exuding any feelings of fatigue. And that is the biggest hallmark of Glaston and this release. Where many bands from the post-rock branch get stuck in proverbial mud of repetitiveness, Glaston manage to beautifully arrange different structures that form their songs. Be it the almost 10-minute epic contender of “Sunnar” or the shortest interlude “This Isn’t Happening.”

Even at their most repetitive, “Ihale / Exhale” doesn’t feel like that at all, as the music here is carefully put together and measured with microscopic precision. It is not to say that Glaston get mathematical, but rather it is the free-form factor of their composition skills and senses that allow them to be methodical and random at the same time.

“Ihale / Exhale” is available on Bandcamp.

 

Review: Choral Hearse – Mire Exhumed

ChoralHearse bandphoto72

Here comes an album that really surprised me. Choral Hearse is a Berlin-based all-female four-piece who are having their debut full-length album “Mire Exhumed” released on April 16th. The group creates what they call Progressive Doom Metal, which is then impeccably mashed with Experimental Rock and Folk elements.

The album flows seamlessly from track to track, carrying the listener through dark and disturbing soundscapes. The opener, “Chronic Departure,” acts as the perfect overture to the album, opening with a very simple, ominous melody, then carrying that melody through a consistent, driving beat with singer Liaam Iman’s haunting vocals adding the third layer. In many ways, this track takes the primal beats, presents them to the listener, and then shows the ways in which they have been altered and developed to produce this record.

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Review: PuzzleWood – Gates of Loki

Gates of Loki

The “Gates of Loki” album and its music is a desolate, introverted place of darkness that summons broodingly melancholic images of angst and tension, and it’s all been dreamt up by Russia’s PuzzleWood.

The music on this debut album, I have to say, doesn’t immediately reward you as a listener. However, the lush melodies that are imbedded deep within the ten songs found on this recording grow, swell and expand the more you explore them, and soon the shadowy lyrical themes of alienation that exist between the individual and society as a whole draw you in to the all encompassing world that PuzzleWood have fashioned.

The album kicks off cleverly with “Intro (Gates of Loki)”. Its light but sinister musicality builds over time and you find that your attention never wanders, however laid back the music feels to you; the song sweeps over your senses, taking them hostage, and its (almost) hypnotic, trance-like melody keeps you chained to the song like a prisoner, but a prisoner who doesn’t want to escape. “Remember My Name” has an almost Riverside-like feel to it. “Tyrant Who Fall in Love” is again trance-like in the extreme, but the way the song is nurtured and allowed to grow is an amazing thing to hear, and it is for me the album’s standout composition.

“To the Void” feels intricate, incorporating varied instrumentation by the three members, as well as a bouzouki performed by guest Dmitry Ignatov. There is a number of ethnic instruments that can be heard throughout “Gates of Loki,” what gives this record its specific flavour. Basem Al-Ashkar’s arabic oud on the closing “Road Will Lead” is beautifully dissonant, making for a perfect ending.

It’s not an easy album to like initially, but given the right amount of time that this weird style of Prog needs to work its magic on you, “Gates of Loki” soon becomes an impressive, thoughtful release that has all the tools needed for it to become a minor classic amongst those who frequent the shaded borderlands of the Progressive Rock World.

Stream / buy “Gates of Loki” from Bandcamp.