And So I Watch You From Afar – All Hail Bright Futures
All Hail Bright Futures is an odd proposition for a metal fan. A mix of upbeat post-rock, twisting math-rock ideals and an entirely liberal approach to incorporating instruments such as flutes and steel drums alongside their own personal moments of ‘metal’ heaviness may be a description enough to put more than a few of you off them instantaneously. However, for those of you still able to see the riffs through the trees, as it were, there’s a vast amount of fascinating and varied ideas on offer here that would satiate any fans of forward thinking metal music.
And So I Watch You From Afar waste no time in making a statement of intent early on and the combination of the chirpy, opening build-up of ‘Eunoia‘ and the frankly sublime ‘Big Thinks Do Remarkable‘ do that in a rush of synth-drenched leads, gang vocals and a complete ADD approach to post-rock. The entire concept could be described in rough terms as all the most sugary sweet sections of Torche meeting the sheer uplifting emotional left-hook of If These Trees Could Talk and Pelican, most obvious in tracks such as ‘Like A Mouse‘ and ‘AMBULANCE‘ that manage to sneak in some heavier sections that segue seamlessly in with the rest of the track.
All Hail Bright Futures is a record out on it’s own, few bands could take the energy of heavy music and infuse it with twee, jangly pop sections. And So I Watch You From Afar may have changed, but they’ve changed for the best and produced a record that could even put the most po-faced black metaller in a cheery mood. – DL
Boris – Praparat
Japanese weirdo rock group Boris are well known for their ability to segue seamlessly between styles throughout their frankly massive back catalogue and with their latest output Praparat the band have this time opted for a dreamy psychedelic fuzz, retaining only a minimal resemblance to some of their more well known work like the balls-out rock of Pink. Opening track ‘December‘ croons through 4 minutes of spacious, airy and entirely instrumental shoegaze and represents the major sound that dominates the first third of Praparat — it’s a refreshing change of pace to genre-standard of ‘heaviest tracks first’ and surprisingly infectious considering how sparse and minimalist the band make it. On the other side of the coin, ‘Method Of Error‘ twists that initially sound into a sludge-y staccato exercise in doom that slowly fleshes itself out into a fully fledged jam, complete with a searing fuzzbox solo, bringing to mind some of the bands earliest work in Amplifier Worship.
These two sounds provide the basis of much of Praparat‘s 40 minute tenure and certainly represent a talented band trying to stretch themselves across the album, however by the time the last rumbling drone of the ‘Maeve‘ leaves your ears you’re left wondering how much this album would stand out amongst their other works. It’s doesn’t reach the fuzzed out epic journey of Flood or the distortion-pedal-abuse rock of Smile either — Praparat lies somewhere in the middle, never really viciously grabbing your attention and instead being another solid release within their output. – DL
Pyrithion – The Burden of Sorrow
[Metal Blade Records]
Pyrithion popped up out of nowhere an instantly took the metal realm by storm. With an all-star cast of Tim Lambesis (As I Lay Dying), Ryan Glisan (Allegaeon) and Andy Godwin (Embodiment, The Famine), this trio of dudes graced us with an EP that took many by surprise. This three song EP is simply fantastic. This album embodies death metal in a great way, without being cheesy or derivative. It doesn’t need any tricks to make it sound killer. What makes this record so good, however, is the fact that it came out and surprised nearly everyone. First you heard about the band, and then the single, then the album. It’s mind boggling. But this is nothing that will make you confused. This album is fantastic death metal by some amazing players. Every song on this EP can carry itself, and it has the perfect mix of the brutal blast beats and catchy chorus riffs. Honestly this is one of the better death metal releases to come out in a while, and can stand alongside their veteran contemporaries such as Suffocation and Cannibal Corpse. If this record is an indication of the LP that Tim says they plan to get out by the end of this year, and possibly even tour on, then get ready, because this album is a near flawless record that has a lot to offer in a little amount of time. – SS