When you do a comparison of different countries’ ratio of total land mass to number of good-quality heavy bands, there are probably only a couple places on the globe that manage to win out over Australia. This country is absolutely fucking packed with great heavy bands, from the larger and more obvious ones like Karnivool and Thy Art Is Murder, to the smaller artists still working to make names for themselves overseas. Sydney-based label Art As Catharsis has always done a great job of collecting and promoting bands from the latter group, and here for your enjoyment today is one such band: CASCADES, who are releasing their debut self-titled LP next week.
What CASCADES plays is a mellifluous, rich brand of post-metal that weaves in a solid helping of post-hardcore elements to get the most mileage possible out of their sound and tempers any direct comparisons with a knowledge that there’s something perceptibly unique about the sonic mannerisms of this particular group. In their quieter moments, the most apt comparison is ISIS: the two share a love of background synthesizers that bolster atmosphere and snaking, meandering bass melodies that lead the way through ambient territory. When CASCADES begins to gain momentum, though, they become their own beast. Guitar feedback warbles into riffs without a moment’s notice and synthesizers push themselves to the breaking point, clipping through the mix and adding textures of static to the building instrumental crescendos. When the going gets heavy, the charismatic, rhythmic energy of the drum pulses more at the tempo of post-hardcore, even as the band plays their sludgy post-metal, and this brings with it a sense of barely-contained chaos and aggression that’s rarely found in the climactic push-pull sway of such a slow, lumbering genre.
Anybody who’s heard post-metal before knows what to expect from CASCADES, yes, but this take on the genre brings with it more than enough to separate this band from their peers. The typical alternation between lumbering, behemoth sludge riffs and ambient accouterments owes a solid helping of its melodic sensibility to the right combination of influences outside their home genre; the diversity is clearly present but not overpowering or detracting from the core of what makes post-metal such a great genre in its own right. This is a debut record done properly, a manifesto on what this band has to offer – and what they’ve got is pretty damn impressive. Fans of post-metal and post-hardcore alike owe it to themselves to check this record out.