Post-metal often comes across as being rather comfortable in the niche it’s carved out – not particularly screaming for attention or breaking its back trying to be innovative, but rather expanding outwards at its own gradual pace. Similarly, Russian outfit Eastwood know exactly what they’re going for with Language of Stars, with a sense of almost leisurely comfort holding together the album’s five tracks. It’s not at all revolutionary, or something you likely haven’t ever heard before, but it’s not at all bad at what it does either, making for a pleasantly enjoyable listen.
At best, Eastwood’s sound is not too unlike that of Rosetta, albeit with the latter’s sludge-inspired and hardcore elements left out in favor of a more spaced out, subtle (and dare I say relaxed?) take. Despite the relatively lo-fi approach, Eastwood maintain a sense of energy throughout; even as songs appear to slow down or to take a turn into an awfully different direction, there remains an unmistakable sense of progression, and songs always carry themselves forward impressively rather than meandering into nothing. Vocals are not too emphasized here, as outside of a few large-sounding clean singing passages they only serve to complement the instrumental section underneath, but they’re used fairly well as far as the songs go. The immediate focus, therefore, is inevitably on the band’s twin-guitar approach, as the harmonized riffs on display effortlessly cascade over one another; the guitar lines are tightly plotted and complement each other well, moving songs forward in what are often impressively intricate ways.
Unfortunately, however, this is also where the album’s main problem comes into play. For the most part, the somewhat flat sounding distorted guitar tone, coupled with the occasional slightly off-kilter mixing, results in the guitar tracks sounding far less impactful than they could be in the grand scheme of a particular song, as they are effectively kept from properly attaining the massive sound they seem to be straining towards. While the clean segments are provided ample breathing room by the mix, heavier parts often seem a little watered down where they could have been incredibly climactic, and the songs are unfortunately all the worse off for it.
Heavier parts aside, however, the quieter segments do enough to redeem the album. They never come across as some sort of transitionary crutch, at times even being some of the most memorable parts of certain songs. Despite the occasional hiccups in the mixing of the heavier verses and such, these clean segments sound well-written, well-rounded, and well-executed, highlighting Eastwood’s songwriting ability and versatility. Closing track ‘Flammarion’ is a particularly impressive instrumental piece, with a fantastic buildup leading to an enormous mid-song climax, and providing a fantastic conclusion to a promising album. The fact remains, however, that Eastwood definitely have the potential to do far greater things than what they’ve accomplished here, and whether they take their sound forward after Language of Stars remains to be seen.
Eastwood’s Language of Stars gets…