Remember a few years ago when every major outlet was running articles about how post-metal stagnation was the final signal that the genre was denying? Most of them were gleeful, fueled by a complete misunderstanding of how widely varied and versatile the genre really was. The reality was that, often at the outskirts of what was then defined as post-metal, truly great and interesting things were happening and a host of bands was very much keeping the sub-genre alive. All that was required was for perspectives to widen and include some of the better (and more underground) names that were working at post-metal’s core and bringing forth some truly excellent music.
Cranial was one of those names. Their 2017 release, Dark Towers / Bright Lights, was one of the finest post-metal albums of the decade, channeling the kind of dark, somber, and faintly haunting melodies that the genre had become famous for. Now, these German based monsters of the riff are back with Alternate Endings, an album which takes those ideas and sounds and drives them to their absolute limit and which we’re proud to premiere here in full.
Festivities kick off as soon as the play button is pressed, as Alternate Endings is not an album which messes around. Opening track “Faint Voice” is enough of an example of that, barging right out of the gate with massive, groove filled riffs and quiet, ambient passages that lay the ground-work for the contrast that makes post-metal so good.
Running over twelve minutes long and exploring several builds-ups, break-downs, and reprises, “Faint Voice” is somehow only the beginning of this album. Second track “Unceasing Lack” wastes no time, opening with a groove-filled riff of its own. As if on a spiral, this track pushes even deeper and farther into the dynamics such a riff creates, blending it extremely well with the drums and vocals to create an ongoing barrage of heaviness. By the time it’s done, and the true ripper of the album in the form of “Burning Bridges” is revealed, you’re already hooked way into what Cranial are peddling, namely grandiose, melodramatic, melancholic, powerful post-metal.
Alternate Endings releases on September 27th via Moment of Collapse Records. You can pre-order it right here.