A while ago on the blog, we were acquainted with a label/printer/collective called A Thousand Arms. We heard of them via a compilation they released, containing post rock tracks from all over the world. That was then; this is now. Since that time, they’ve released another compilation, much heavier and more oriented towards post and black metal, collaborated with us to create our first run of blog t-shirts (more on that, hopefully, very soon) and geared up work with this year’s Dunk! Festival. Now, never seeming to rest for too long, A Thousand Arms have released Open Language Vol.II. The first part focuses on post-rock bands exclusively from the US, while the second brings you tracks and bands from all over the world. We thought we’d give you a little primer for this insane amount of free music. Oh yeah, didn’t we mention? It’s all completely free!
The second I clicked on this compilation, I knew I would be happy. Heron are one of my favorite post rock bands and seeing them open this fantastic release is a true joy. “Shores” is a perfect choice as a taste from their fantastic You Are Here Now and all the pleasures its cinematic post rock package entails. Following that up with the more math-y, yet all together similarly excellent, Vasudeva is a brilliant move; the compilation thus opens extremely strongly, with two established bands leading the charge. However, it’s a little further down the line that I had my first shock; where in god’s name has Seeress been all my life? Following an prolonged, subtly electronic opening composed mostly of static, “Attractor” explodes into a riff fest flirtation with the borders of post metal. The stoner fringes are especially pleasing and those damn cymbals! I think it’s safe to say you can expect a post from me about their 2017 release very soon.
Working our way further down the compilation, we find more tracks by bands we’ve covered before on the blog. Legendary Skies, Sioum, Outrun the Sunlight and This Patch of Sky (featuring a track from their upcoming, and much anticipated, release) are all represented here and do their work brilliantly as usual. However, I’d like to highlight two bands housed smack in the middle of the volume, Ravena and Deadhorse. The first are represented by an epic thirteen minute plus track, a ponderous work of cinematic and expansive post rock. From the elongated and atmospheric intro to its eventual flowering into the crescendo, “Teraphim” is one of the most accomplished entries on the compilation. On the other hand, Deadhorse is a much rarer beast; a track intensely focused on piano, they manage to create a chilling atmosphere which most post rock bands would kill to have. Bonus: if you’re looking for somewhat of a palette cleanser after the intense Deadhorse track, check out HarborLights just two tracks below them. Their desert vibes should sort you out.
Theirs so much good music on this compilation that we’re going to split the post into two parts! Check in next week when we dive into the second volume of the compilation, which continues just as much great music. In the meantime, head on over to A Thousand Arms’s Bandcamp and check out Open Language. There are a lot more gems hidden in there that we haven’t covered here.