Pelican "March Into the Sea" CD
Despite having been a big fan of their EP, I've yet to get around to picking up Pelican's "Australasia" full-length, so this new "single" (of sorts) is a big kick in the ass to remind me to stop fuckin' around and get to it, as their brand of sludgy yet melodic instrumental rock/metal is in fine form here. They've definitely come more into their own it seems, what with this 20-minute track offering a great variety of dynamics through surprising clean passages, pounding rhythmic swells, droning guitar textures and winding arpeggiated quirkiness, melodic indie rock sensibilities, flirtations with quick changes and shifts in time signatures, etc. It's cool because on some level it feels lightly repetitious, but they really don't sit still for long, often opting to build around a theme for a few minutes with slight variations constantly changing the face of a riff here and there to keep things interesting. There's definitely a hell of a lot of movement, that's for sure. Shit, 12 minutes in things drop back to an ethereal ring before raw acoustic guitars take hold and build back in with piano and foreboding ambient background lulls. Awesome. The recording sounds good to me. The guitar tone's surprisingly not that over the top, so some of the faster picking patterns can get a little choppy sounding, but the distortion is very open and gritty, which I like. As for the rhythm section, the drums sound fuckin' great, completely resonant and full - the way it should be; while the bass tends to thicken things up without leaking to the forefront so much at all, but the layers of guitars and the hugeness of the drumming more than suffice. It wouldn't hurt to hear the bass parts given a little more prominence since they do wander on their own at times, but I'm not bothered at all. The 12-minute "Angel Tears" follows, which is a remix of the title track taken on by the one and only Justin Broadrick (Godflesh/Jesu/general fucking creative genius), and I don't know how much he added to it versus how much was created from "March Into the Sea", but damn if it doesn't sound almost identical in style to one of his own compositions! Expect plentiful amounts of bashing percussion, surging rhythms with lots of eerie layers and melodic background drones, some chopped up arrangements and effects that have a little more of an electronic/industrial flare, rising and falling volume levels as the flow ebbs to and fro, etc. Impressive, as always. The disc comes in a slim jewel case with a nice, minimal layout using some photographs of clouds and decorative designs of waves and such - all befitting of the title, of course. All in all this is a killer EP, granted the running time is closer to a full-length, but that just means it's got enough content on it to warrant a good deal of repeating listening. Very much recommended. (8/10)
Running time - 32:50, Tracks: 2
[Notable tracks: both are awesome]
Hydra Head Records - http://www.hydrahead.com
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