Much like fellow English act Sleep Token, the buzz surrounding Liverpudlian trio Exploring Birdsong has been protracted and fed by the odd single release to whet the appetite of those who like their Prog quirky and melodic. Finally, the wait is over with new EP The Thing With Feathers (Long Branch Records), inspired by iconic poets Emily Dickinson and Seamus Heaney and the first elongated effort from the band. Continue reading
The advent of Sundowning (Spinefarm Records), the debut album from London-based shoegazer Sleep Token, goes back over a year: so its release, ahead of a major US tour, has seen a level of furore largely unknown in Metal circles. Hiding identity under a cloak a la Ghost, there’s an added mystique here from an embracing of spiritual and somnolent values (the album’s title is the term given to the daily crash of dementia, for example), while melody is to the fore of the core sound. Continue reading
Sólveig Matthildur, synth legend for Icelandic Darkwave pioneers Kælan Mikla, is a troubadour of the keys. Winning accolade upon award for her debut solo album Unexplained Miseries & the Acceptance of Sorrow (Self-Released), second full-length Constantly In Love (Artoffact Records) aims to build on that emotional heart with an added sense of frost-bitten drama, an ill-fated love story articulating emotion from both protagonists. Continue reading
I’ve been promising myself I’d check out Coloradoan duo The Flight of Sleipnir for some time and latest album V. (Napalm) points out just how criminal my tardiness has been. Opener ‘Headwinds’ starts out all ‘Planet Caravan’ with gently warbling vocals drifting through dreamy psychedelia. Suddenly, emerging hostile screams escort mellow leads through bristling anger, an anger which is subdued somewhat by a mix favouring the moaning harmony. The ensuing ‘Sidereal Course’, a doom-laden Simon and Garfunkel meets Jefferson Airplane, is graced with a growling riff and brief explosions of fire and brutality, a ferocity that adds violence to the core feel, which has a real air of 70s Americana about it.
It’s a shame the pummeling drums and rhythms are frequently cocooned in a mono-style production; the desolate hostility of ‘The Casting’ dwarfed by a delicious, ephemeral lead sequence. The creativity here, however, is immense with ‘…Casting’s’ riffs lending a frosted black edge to a reflective folk-rock pace which is graced by seriously emotive tones, while ‘Nothing Stands Obscured’ blends a maudlin Haight-Ashbury vibe with London Grammar-style wistfulness before a stratosphere-rending, post-black conclusion. The easy, lilting harmonies of ‘Gullveig’ splinter on the rocks of a crashing riff and icy screams, an acoustic-infused folky Floyd meeting a harrowing mournful edge, in a marriage of beauty and acrid bitterness that sums up the album as a whole. ‘Archaic Rites’ has an indie female vocal ghosting over a gently veering undercurrent, augmented by a tasty hippy flute solo, a snarling riff and hypnotic oscillations closing an affecting track, whilst a lazy yet impassioned blackened groove is speared by truly spectacular lead work on closer ‘Beacon In Black Horizon’, David Csicsely‘s impressive drums quietly dictatorial, the eerie coda a lament to a fallen chieftain.
The differing elements of ‘…Horizon’ epitomise an album with feet in so many pies that it aurally represents the eight-legged beast the band is named after. As legs connect the horse’s hooves with one body so organically, so this duo melds its various strands into a belonging whole; to an inventive tour de force and an essential experience.