So Hideous- Laurestine
FFO: Cinematic/Film Score, Atmospheric Black Metal, Post Rock
It doesn't take too much for me to enjoy a band. Just be solid at what you do and make music that will keep my interest. But it takes A LOT for me to be blown away with an album. Creating a new genre or expanding on a genre idea usually works, lots of dynamics, peaks and valleys is a huge plus. Moments that grab your attention and never let you go no matter how hard you try. And finally making a REAL album the artist(s) wanted to make. That is exactly what So Hideous has achieved here with their concept album Laurestine.
(The album is one 40 minute long epic split into 7 tracks)
Laurestine is a concept album about a man and his postmortem experience in his mind within the first 7 minutes after death, where the brain is still active. Easily one of the coolest concepts for an album I've ever heard. I won't spoil the story for those that wanna experience it for themselves, but it is a killer story! The journey begins with Yesteryear. It starts with electronic drums and piano before bursting into an eruption of Black Metal, Post Metal and arguably the coolest thing about the entire album an orchestra and choir! The song serves as almost an overture to the entire album while still having it's own, unique sound. Hereafter is an instrumental that starts with clean guitar and the orchestra gradually building up and up with the drums slowly but surely kicking in with the bass for a climax ending on a softer, piano driven end. Relinquish starts orchestral and builds up to the Atmospheric Black Metal and Post Rock sides of the album again. It's not until over half way through the track when vocals kick in, but when they do, they absolutely blow you away. The second half of the song is one of the most epic sounding pieces on the album and you can envision the battle that the story tells going on in your mind. The Keepsake starts off more in the Post Rock style again with some tribal drumming mixed with the orchestra. About a quarter of the way in, it kicks into a Godspeed You! Black Emperor climax before going back into the Orchestral Black Metal. The second half of the song returns back to the GY!BE vibe. It's almost romantic towards the very end. The True Pierce is the climax of the entire album. Just like in any action or Sci-Fi movie with the final fight taking place, this is the soundtrack to that battle. The dynamics hit you extremely hard and can almost bring a tear to your eye. The end of the song everything gets soft and piano driven once again. The final movement of the album, A Faint Whisper is the grand finale and gives you the sense of glory and a happy ending that you wanted to see happen, much like the triumphant music at the end of Star Wars Episode IV. The music continues to ascend and ascend till the final notes fade away.
Essentially, the whole album is as if Deafheaven, Ihsahn and John Williams made an album together. It's as awesome as that idea sounds. It takes you on an epic journey in an amazing concept and gives you a 40 minute short film in your mind and your ears which will takes you through all of the feelings of fear, anger, brutality, reasoning, and acceptance. Once again as a reminder, this is a 40 minute song that is split into 8 tracks, as long as you keep that in mind about any overuse or repetition of sound; this is one of the crowning achievements in Atmospheric Black Metal and an absolute game changer of all the genres involved.
So Hideous- Laurestine available October 16th via Prosthetic Records
Intronaut- The Direction Of Last Things
FFO: Progressive Metal, Sludge Metal, Atmospheric
Intronaut is back with their 5th album and it is their most ambitious album to date. Going back, somewhat, to their roots, the band is starting to venture back into it's jazzier roots and instrumental sections and adding quite a bit of clean vocals to boot. Having Devin Townsend come in at the end for mixing was an absolute great touch!
The album starts with the single, Fast Worms, which is a pretty accurate portrayal of the direction of the album. Heavy and aggressive in the right spots, jazzy in the right sections, clean and growled vocals as needed and the right amount of adventurous genre bending. Digital Gerrymandering starts off completely heavy and sludgy with a mix of Devin Townsend style guitar riffing then builds up and up till it kicks in with almost CKY-ish style vocal melodies which continues throughout the song. The Pleasant Surprise starts off with a Brann Dailor style drum intro, not to be outdone with the Mastodon style riffing and arrangement to match. The song stays consistently fast and is arguably the heaviest song on the album. The Unlikely Event Of A Water Landing is the centerpiece of the album. It starts with a errie soundclip then begins. There is a big Cynic vibe on this song. Mellow pacing with lots of intricate sections on every instrument. The middle of the song picks up a little bit with heaviness ala Devin Townsend. The ending of the song (5:26 till the end) is the real highlight of the album. While staying mellow. The bass starts to really shine before the guitar leads kick in ala Cloudkicker's mellow side. A great Post Rock-ish way to end the song. Sul Ponticello, the other heaviest song on the album starts off ferociously almost Death Metal, then glides back into the Intronaut style we all know and love. The song stays more mid tempo with the right moments of heaviness thrown in and sludgy all the way through. The song ends with some soundclips and chanting. The title track, The Direction of Last Things, starts off nice and heavy with lots of double bass throughout almost the entire song. Lots of Sludgey style Progressive riffs that the band is best known for as well. 3/4ths of the way into the song, it switches into a Cynic style Jazz section once again with lots of ethereal vibes behind it before unleashing a crushing riff to close out the track. The album ends with City Hymnal which almost sounds like a tribute to Cloudkicker, but with vocals. Crazy off time drums and staccato guitar and bass riffing with an atmospheric, Post Rock leads behind everything. Much like Cloudkicker, the song builds up then back down then builds up until the end but then ends on an abrupt note, much like a hymnal being closed shut angerily.
Overall, Intronaut has knocked it out of the park once again. The band is on record saying the album only took 4 days to complete recording, which is a shocker in today's age. But it also proves that all you really need is to be able to get your songs down as tight as possible before going into the studio. This is going to be held very high as one of the best albums of the year and arguably the band's best album. It is very much worthy of that notion. This is an album that Intronaut fans have wanted all along and any real fan of the band will not be disappointed!
Intronaut- The Direction Of Last Things available November 13th via Century Media