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Brontide - Sans Souci CD (album) cover



Post Rock/Math rock

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4 stars Brontide is one of those bands that that neatly balances several genres so well, that to classify them is nearly a herculean task. On here, the band is placed in the Post-Rock/Math-Rock category, and to be fair their sound is a blend of both.

"Matador", the opening salvo off their debut "Sans Souci", starts off atmospheric, then slowly creeps in with repetitive guitar licks and some funky drumming for a bit. Some distorted chords dart in and out, but for the most part it's fairly stable. It's not hectic and unpredictable like Don Caballero, but it's not as minimalistic at times like, say, Battles or Explosions in the Sky. Tension begins to build with some atonal chord teases and progressions towards the end, building up to some beefy distorted power chords before segueing into "Limehosue Ink". Here's where it gets busy, and properly heavy. The first 40 seconds is crushingly foreboding, before the drums lurch into a quick flurry of blastbeats to get your attention. It's properly heavy, but then it cuts out to a hi hat keeping beat, while the guitar gradually fades into a lick, adding a new note each bar before the guitar begins a minimalistic and repetitive motion (a la Steve Reich) before the drums begin a nice groovy syncopated pattern. This takes up most of the middle section before the heavy metal returns and closes with a proper, actual breakdown (you know, the thing that was all the rage with post-hardcore and pop-punk bands between like '07-'12? Classic).

The breakdown fades away as the drum keeps going to start off "Jura" which begins with a really funky guitar lick and maintains a lighter mood overall than "Limehouse Ink". Roughly two and a half minutes in, the distortion kicks in and kicks up a notch for a good minute before it fades away to a solo guitar once again closing out with a nice haunting melody. "Arioso" is all over the board, with math-y time changes, somber atmospheric passages, some unique guitar filters and a sort of punk/surf rock homage in the middle? This track is a bit rough with some long atmospheric passages and some atonal distortion near the end, it's a buffet for fans of post/math rock.

"Bob Mundon" kicks off with a soaring, ascending lick like you'd hear starting off a Between The Buried And Me song. This song features the drums as the star, as the song is constantly moving, chugging riffs and drums like a train out of control before the song fades in a flash with chugging punk, almost Mastodon-esque riffs. "Bespoke" begins where "Mundon" left off. After a slow intro, the song barrels forward with syncopated riffs and beats before it fades to atmospheric nothingness for the second half of the song.

"Tenbytwobyfour" screams math rock, in more ways than one. The distortion is completely absent for the first half of the song, as the guitars and drums noodle along frenetically. The distorted chords midway seem to give an anchor or sense of stability, but this song is about as edgy and dissonant as they come. Some mechanical passages towards the end add a unique spin on the typical sound (almost a bit 90's King Crimson esque) before a brief spastic charge towards the end before the band gets tuckered out and finished with an atmospheric fadeaway into nothing.

The self-titled final song is the longest clocking in at just over ten minutes and as such is slow to build up. After a minute and a half of noise, the band creeps in at a rhythmically minimalist pace. Halfway in the distorted guitars return and chug along at a leisurely pace before fading away once again in a minimalist atmosphere of sound. This song is post-rock in a nutshell, ordered, structured and not at all unpredictable.

Overall, this band is an amalgram of post rock and math rock vibes. Each song for the most part as a main identity, but contains influences from multiple genres rolled together in a fairly cohesive package. For the post rock fan that wants a bit more excitement, but more order than typical math rock, this album is worth a listen.

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Posted Sunday, December 1, 2019 | Review Permalink

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