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Pelican - Forever Becoming CD (album) cover

FOREVER BECOMING

Pelican

Experimental/Post Metal


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JJLehto
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After a four year gap, with a small, solid yet unspectacular EP thrown in there, Pelican is finally back...sans original member Laurent Schroeder-Lebec. The split seems to have been amiable, with new guitarist Dallas Thomas being described by the band as "meticulous" compared to their more "freewheeling" style, resulting in a good balance.

So what does this all mean for the album? Right off the bat, it's a darker feel than usual Pelican, which took some getting used to as I always appreciated their more upbeat, even warm feeling.

It is a very solid output, which underwhelmed me a bit at first, but grew after a few listens. It lacks Pelican's old style of lengthy, meandering epics but also lacks their newer style of more concise, powerful songwriting. This isn't entirely new, I found the balance of progression and power just right on "City of Echoes" and fell a bit off with "What We All Come to Need". This is not to say it's a bad album, not at all, just not the strongest effort put out by the band.

It still has all the Pelican staples, such as great riffing and melodies, guitar interplay and at times displays greater energy than I've ever heard from them. Especially in the drumming of Larry Herweg. Usually known for his metronome style, he displays his greatest diversity yet, and really hammers away with some major power.

At times it feels a bit lost, but after a few listens it all works together. The balance mentioned by the band really comes into play as passages vary from super drifty to tightly composed.

"Deny the Absolute" starts the album off in grand fasion, filled with energy out of the gate and is perfectly composed, moving steadily from start to finish, never hanging around to long but not moving forward to quickly. Packed with great riffs, melodies, guitar interplay and power. In my opinion the best song off the album.

Other standouts include "Immutable Dusk" with it's lighter section, "Threnody" another superbly written song that does it all, "Vestiges" has one of the best passages in the whole album, and "Perpetual Dawn" moves between loud and powerful, and soft and moving.

Overall, a very good album that does nothing wrong, punctuated with some standouts. While it may not "wow" especially at first, this is a fine album that any fan of Pelican should enjoy, as well as those into post rock/metal. Here's to more great music with the new lineup.

Four Stars

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Send comments to JJLehto (BETA) | Report this review (#1068674)
Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars A little over a year ago I discovered post-rock/post-metal as a genre, and I have spent a lot of time since exploring it. Pelican is one of the foremost bands of the genre, but the first time I tried to get into them, on recommendations from friends, it didn't work--after a few tracks (from various albums) I found them grating, many of the songs over-long and meandering. It wasn't until I heard their EP from 2012 that my ears perked up--I liked Ataraxia/Taraxis a whole lot and it really changed my perspective: I joined the throngs enthusiastically anticipating the new album.

And for me, Forever Becoming was well worth the wait. Opening with the short, funereal "Terminal", the album then buckles down and gets to work. Track after track of epic mightiness, tight, moody pieces that rumble and blast along relentlessly, featuring thick fuzzy bass, powerful dense guitars; I have heard complaints about the drummer, but he suits me just fine on this album. Sometimes what you need is a plain, iron-clad anchor rather than frilly scrollwork, and that is what he delivers. This is just the kind of headbanging post-metal I prefer and Forever Becoming delivers in spades. Almost all the tracks are great, I could pick any one of them to highlight, but my favourite is the thick, sludgy "Threnody".

If there is any real issue, it is the last track, "Perpetual Dawn": the longest at over 9 minutes, and it begins to wander a bit through the middle, though it manages to recover before interest is lost. That said, I like this direction the band has taken, and I hope they stick with it.

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Send comments to ergaster (BETA) | Report this review (#1116526)
Posted Sunday, January 19, 2014 | Review Permalink

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