How does a band keep their sound consistent yet fresh after 20+ years of active releases? Especially when the sound is something relatively limited and simple. In Flames clearly don’t have the right answer. Their fellow townmates, Dark Tranquillity, just might. Over the years, the Gothenburg outlet has remained relatively consistent in tone and even though they’ve gone through three distinct eras, they maintained a common thread through them all. While not every Dark Tranquillity album was an instant hit, especially a couple of their more recent ones, somehow with their 11th release Atoma they have rediscovered their spark. Both a return to form and a push forward, this album shows that this particular brand of Swedish melodeath still has more to offer.
The self-dubbed “Massachusetts Regressive Metal” foursome are back at it again after their release of the debut EP First Batch earlier in the year, which we had the pleasure of premiering as well. If you’ve been enjoying the EP so far (and if not, why not? It’s four bucks on…
To fully play noise rock, a certain aesthetic lyricism is required, even grimier than the music that surrounds and drives it. Initially, this lyricism was pioneered by the slacker-by-way-of-burn-out California hardcore “legends” Flipper, as well as the often perverse and sadistic Big Black. The two acts, stylistically different in many ways, drew a certain kind of glee in exploring the smut that truly made up the average human being, and consistently reflected that lyrically. These lyrics, in addition to the music, supplied a certain attitude to noise rock that became as essential to the genre as the music itself. Unfortunately, this attitude is not always easy to emulate, and has led to an aggressive number of hopeful noise rock bands who simply cannot pull off the swagger. Luckily for us, however, Whores. is not one of those bands, but instead pulls off the grime of noise rock with flying colors.
I’ve made this point before and I’ll make it many times again before my pen is finally silent: taking something known and preforming it well is often much more impressive than experimentation and innovation. There’s just something beautiful about tropes played straight, about familiar twists and ideas being executed in a professional manner. Certainly, it is a different thrill than the rush which grabs one by the throat when something truly new is heard. Instead, it’s the warm feeling we get when a blanket covers us, when comfort spreads through our limbs and sets us at ease. With such predilections should we approach Mountain’s Evolve, an album which puts to shame the countless iterations that exist in post rock on the Explosions In the Sky formula. Mountain approach these ideas with open arms, adding their own melancholic yet expansive flare.