Hello folks! Usually the title above connotes that you’re about to be treated to the writings (or ramblings) of on Matt MacLennan. He usually handles these posts about Holy Roar Records and all their wonderful bands, usually containing some sort of relationship with hardcore. However, we’re doing things differently this time around because we’re handling a slightly different sound and now I am here! The band in question is Pijn and their album Floodlit, which saw release a few days ago, on the 27th of January. Floodlit is an interesting blend between happy-go-lucky post/math rock in the style of VASA or And So I Watch You From Afar and heavy, grandiose post metal. Right? I can’t think of many other labels besides Holy Roar that would be a fitting home for something like that. Let’s send you on down for your first listen and congregate after for some choice words.
The opening lines of “Dumbstruck & Floodlit” resonate pretty accurately with the influences I cited above. Bouncy riffs are interlaced with echo-y chords while the drums and bass beat along to a steady, fulfilling groove. Perhaps a hit of heaviness is already present in the air in a form which might remind one of Mouth of the Architect and as the opening passages wind down they begin to slow. It’s certainly obvious that a crescendo is coming but its exact nature still alludes. Fans of post metal might first be tipped off by the standalone guitars that take over after the buildup, their ominous tones hinting at things to come. By the time the vocal choirs take over behind them though, a sense of lull falls on the track and not even the shrewdest or most prescient of listeners would prepare themselves for the onslaught that is to come.
Around the four and a half minute mark, the drums usher in violin and the return of bass coupled with weird feedback effects in the background which lead into another chilling guitar line. But instead of more ambience, at five minutes and fifteen seconds everything explodes. After a moment of silence, the instruments crash back in as if released from a dam, their gushing weight breaking all over us. Vocals are (re)introduced but this time, they are growled. The guitars are frenetic and the drums suddenly cavernous. The bass hits hard and continues hitting, riffs blasting again and again. Acclimatized now to the sound, we are able to appreciate the exquisite drums and the triumphant return of the violin before the track begins to wind down in its own chaotic, aggressive way.
The next two tracks are a time for contemplation. “Hazel” is a stop in the woods, a fairyland respite, sweet and playful. “Cassandra” is all jagged eyes, owing more to drone than to anything else. These two mirror-like tracks offer us time to reflect on the opening track before “Lacquer” ushers in the death of the album. This one plays no games nor bides its time like the opening track did; it starts hard and continues hard, breakneck riff after breakneck riff assaulting us. Once again, Mouth of the Architect might be summoned to give a likeness to its post metal strength or perhaps A Swarm of the Sun and Telepathy. The middle hosts a guitar line which might remind one of Baroness in its country twang, sitting atop of resounding guitar effects. Whichever comparison strikes your fancy, it’s bloody excellent (I swore Matt, be proud please), just like the rest of the album. Floodlit is agonizingly short but incredibly powerful for it; hopefully, Holy Roar can team up with these guys again to produce more of this brilliant and intelligent type of post metal.