04. Calm Wisdom
08. Don’t Stay Here
09. End Of A Decade
Instrumental music has always been somewhat of a ‘living oxymoron’. It seems that by taking away the one element of direct communication between the band and the listener, you unwittingly open up a packed toy box of ways to make the listener feel a whole palette of emotion, whether it’s through fanatic delay pedal abuse or even the oft-neglected use of dynamics. That ‘wordless expression’ is what defines post-metal/post-rock and the application is what separates the amateurs from seasoned veterans — Frames, for whatever the reason may be, have this down to a tee.
In Via is an extensive journey that leads you by the hand through introspective piano pieces, subdued and measured build-ups and the much needed payoff in the form of monstrous riffs that rely purely savage simplicity to get their point across. There’s absolutely zero gimmicks and all the extra instrumentation such as percussion, piano and cello feel like necessary additions made to enhance the music, rather than leaving it muddy and confusing.
After some solid releases from Pelican and If These Trees Could Talk earlier in the year and taking into account the relatively ‘quiet’ period the genre has undergone in the last few years, the idea of a newer band showing up and staking their claim to the throne in a world that is post-post-metal seems ludicrous. However, the ebbing tension and flow of ‘Stir‘ and it’s more sparse companion ‘Encounter‘ weave delicate melodies around a rhythm section that put to shame a lot of their peers, making for convincing examples of a band who clearly understand the nuances of the sound and are quite aware of where it all fell down for a lot of others. ‘Eris‘ paints a bleak and desolate landscape in the air, marking a stark contrast between itself and the rest of the material, but the real gem here lies in the most distinctly metal track on the album – ‘End Of A Decade‘. Influences such as Isis, East Of The Wall and Red Sparowes all jostle for audible space, surrounded by rhythmically pulsing riffs that sound heavy not only in comparison to the quiet sections, but as standalone pieces as well.
Frames have made one of those albums that just ticks all the right boxes; it’s layered without being cluttered and messy, it’s heavy without relying on blastbeats and breakdowns and it’s grand and majestic without being drawn out and boring. In Via is not a perfect, but it’s flaws are subjective — listening through, you can’t help but wish they would cross that border between post-rock to post-metal more often. It’s often as though the band is too timid to really stomp hard on those distortion pedals and really let loose, but when they do, it makes a huge impact. This virtually unknown German quartet won’t usher in the New Wave Of Post-Metal, but for fans of the genre they’ll easily bewilder and astonish those willing to give them the attention they deserve.
Frames’ In Via gets…