City of Ships "Look What God Did to Us" CDPosted on Monday, July 27th, 2009 @ 7:00am » permalink
The latest from Translation Loss Records is "Look What God Did to Us", the debut full-length from City of Ships, whose curiously unique and impossible to pigeonhole approach remains firmly intact. And that aspect of this band's music is so interesting to me, because even though "metal" is such a broad term these days, this doesn't really sound like "metal". And there's sort of a "prog rock" kinda thing going on in there as well, but then again there are almost no stereotypical elements of that style present either! And sure, of course it's "experimental" in many respects, but it doesn't sound completely off the wall, it's really quite tangible. Genres are unimportant, I know, but everyone is guilty of classifying bands, so I find it really curious when groups like this manage to create something that's so familiar yet so elusive. I'm still amazed by how well these guys utilize all those swirling textures/effects and "post-rock" types of influences. I could tolerate that whole niche for about six months before too many bands started throwing such tidbits into the mix and I got sick of it, but with City of Ships everything's not so damn "shimmery", and appears sandwiched amongst dense surges of chunky power chord rhythms that are surprisingly heavy while still tending to carry a constant thread of melody. Then they'll also weave in sleek clean/acoustic passages, strange bends/harmonics, and some really weird hammer-on/pull-off riffs (most notably during "Praise Feeder"). The recording's very organic, though, boasting a great bass tone/presence throughout, with a number of wildly roaming runs and loads of crisp pulses through a smidge of fuzzy distortion. I wouldn't particularly refer to the songwriting as "catchy" at all, and the structures certainly aren't all that linear, but the excellent vocals really help to maintain the overall emotion and atmosphere of the material – fluidly transitioning from lightly gruff singing to more of a yell that tends to retain just a touch of melody. I don't know, it's really hard to effectively describe what they're doing. There's a lot going on, but it's all very cool and certainly worth investigating. I've been intrigued by everything I've heard from City of Ships thus far, so I'll always be looking forward to seeing what they come up with next…
For some reason the label's store is still only offering the CD/t-shirt pre-order combo, but the disc officially hit the streets last week, so… if you're not satisfied with the purchasing options currently available, it should be filtering out to a wider range of sources soon.