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Pelican Australasia album cover
3.66 | 69 ratings | 13 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Nightendday (11:14)
2. Drought (8:23)
3. Angel Tears (10:59)
4. GW (3:34)
5. Untitled (5:20)
6. Australasia (10:48)

Total Time 50:18

Line-up / Musicians

- Trevor de Brauw / guitar
- Laurent Lebec / guitar
- Larry Herweg / bass
- Bryan Herweg / drums

- Andrew Furse / singing saw

Releases information

Artwork: Aaron Turner

CD Hydra Head Records ‎- HH666-75 (2003, US)

2LP Hydra Head Records ‎- HH666-75 (2004, US)

Digital album

Thanks to TheProgtologist for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy PELICAN Australasia Music

PELICAN Australasia ratings distribution

(69 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

PELICAN Australasia reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TheProgtologist
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Real aficionados of heavy music know that it's not just about the volume. No,the real stuff is about density, weight, and movement - it's about feel, and Pelican know all about that. The band - guitarists Laurent Lebec and Trevor de Brauw along with fraternal rhythm machine bassist Larry and drummer Bryan Herweg - pursue a vocal- less obsession with heaviness. Their eponymous EP - initially self-released, then picked up by the excellent Hydrahead label - was a dense compendium of bottom- heavy riffage and taut structure. Those strengths are still here on the band's debut full-length, but they've been recontextualized in a wider range of moody atmospherics, acoustic rumination (most obvious here on the sweeping untitled fifth track, whose whistling slide almost generates a high lonesome vibe), and an almost cinematic sense of album-length pacing.

After the slight electro-acoustic opening to "Nightendday," the four dive deep into a lumbering leviathan of a groove. One thing that struck me right away is how they have expanded their harmonic range and, in so doing, have given their powerful music a real emotional jolt. I find this music to be fantastically rocking but also unexpectedly moving (particularly the anthemic "Angel Tears"). But studying this album reveals another key to Pelican music: the organic nature of their playing. There are all kinds of subtle fluctuations and oscillations of tempo, attack, and feel in this music. Whereas some bands specialize in almost mechanical precision, Pelican's changes and structures are warm, human, and really affecting.

While the overall heaviness, in many ways similar to the superb Isis, generates somewhat dark moods and imagery, Pelican aren't afraid of a sunny major-chord fantasy like the brief "GW." It all comes together on the chugging "Drought," where the moving slabs of sound have something of the nearly geologic heft conjured up by the album's title, and the wide-open landscape of the closing title track.It seems like they're just beginning to tap a rich musical vein,and I look forward to hearing much more of this band in the future.4 stars and highly recommended to fans of progressive metal music.

Review by Philo
4 stars While Black Sabbath lost the plot sometime in the mid seventies, Sleep looked like an act who could carry the mantle in the early nineties while the possible heirs, Kyuss, simply imploded Sabbath style. Sleep seemed to be caught in a mesh of a too deep mush and self obsessed stoner world and stoner rock itself just a pastiche rock parody, but thankfully Pelican continue a progressive journey that gives super heavy riffing music some dignity. While most metal bands, and to an extent Pelican are to an extent metal or rather spring from the genre somehow, are awash with mindless rantings, Pelican wrap themselves in lush, deep and saturated wall to wall symphonies of well toned and honed distorted vibes. The layerings of riffs create mechanic tonal voicings to blend and move the atmosphere which is at once emotive, melancholic angry but so fresh and worthwhile. A faceless band that rely on their massive structures of music to tell their story. No solos no words, just pure driven energy. Another album should do it to allow Pelican to have a fine legacy and not allow the momentum to stagnate.
Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Metal music at base, but post rock at spirit.

This is not a typical review, but more of a messy collection of my impressions of this superb album.

This band creates varied musical scenes that take me away form my surroundings, into vast landscapes, either forest infested green or white cold ice plains. The journey can be fast and aggressive, depending on the current part of the song, which can be fast and angry in tone. It can be slower, in a contemplative state of mind, at which it can drag a bit and annoy if you are not in the same mood. But if you are in the right temper, it fits. As some other post-rock music, this can be a sort of soundtrack to your state of mind, your doings in the time you're listening to it.

This album has a heavy sound to it, making it a clear part of the metal genre, an attribute not so clear in their next release - The fire in our throats will beckon the thaw. There are some excellent heavy guitar riffs that make my whole body vibrate as I listen to it. The music has a sound of fullness; it is dense, as if it contained a concrete filling. And in the same time it is not crude, uncompromising, senseless music, but tracks filled with what I hear as being filled with emotions, emotions of all kinds - Melancholy, anger, frustration and all other personal associations I get whilst listening to it. You may think that being totally instrumental, they are boring and repetitive, but not at all. They start with a musical idea and continue evolving and developing it. They do not linger too much with it but they do emphasis parts they probably think should be stressed out. Nightendday and Drought are my two favourites here creating amazing images in music, and containing a varied panel of emotions. There is an excellent simple metal riff in Drought, that just makes me feel alive each time I listen to it. For a mesmerizing, moving, thrilling album, made of progressive metal (but not senseless aggressive one) and a post-rock spirit, this album is an excellent choice. 3.5 stars

Review by OpethGuitarist
4 stars Before I review the album, I must say that to see this band live is a real treat. The music they have is appreciated far more at the live scene. On to the album.

This is my favorite Pelican album. It is more raw than their later releases. The music here can be seen as meandering at times, but these guys definitely know what they are doing. Each song shows how tight and close knit the band is with one another and how well they form and work as a unit. There's no wild and crazy solos here, even with their long songs and lack of a vocalist, however the band is so well put that they are able to keep the songs interesting and not lose the listener.

A lot of the songs can be seen as a slow chugging train, and by the end that train is at full speed. All sorts of intricacies are to be found along the way. A lot of the parts you will think to yourself, man I wish band "x" would have done something like this. Well, they didn't. Pelican did. This is a good album and worth the time if you will give it a chance. Best Tracks are Drought and the title track.

Review by GoldenSpiral
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record is absolutely great, but not as good as its follow up. On this album, we are exposed to a more raw, undeveloped side of Pelican. The sound is more riff-based, but the progressiveness is still undeniably present. Pelican posess a distinct talent for writing metal songs that flow without stopping, songs that wax and wane unpredictably, yet evenly. Pelican isn't about being loud or heavy (even though they are), but rather about finding a new kind of structure for a new kind of metal, and expressing complex emotions through expansive instrumental pieces. To witness Pelican live is to truly appreciate their music. You can tell that the each player feels the weight of every note he plays, and that they pour their souls into every performance.

The album is split in two by a pleasant acoustic piece, which accents the band's interest in substance over style. However, the real stand-out tracks on the record are the opening track "Nightendday", and the epic "Angel Tears". I would highly recommend this album to any prog metal or post-rock fan, though I would suggest checking out "The Fire in Our Throats..." first. Still, this is a very strong album on its own merits, and it is worthy of four stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is PELICAN's first full length album, and it was much anticipated after the release of their critically acclaimed EP. Well they didn't disappoint.

"Nightendday" opens with barely audible sounds for a minute until the riffs of doom arrive. The dark and heavy soundscape is like a dark and stormy night with thunder. The song does break off on a tangent 6 minutes in but comes back with more heavy riffs. 8 minutes in we get another change as bass and drums dominate. Nice. Post-Rock style guitars arrive before 11 minutes. "Drought" is probably my favourite along with the title track. It's slow moving with doom laden riffs. The song does accellerate as tempos continue to change. This is a good head banging tune. "Angel Tears" offers up more sludge.The song seems to get better until 6 1/2 minutes in when it really kicks ! The last few minutes could have been removed to make the song better.

"GW" is a tribute to Gary Weber. It features BLACK SABBATH-like riffs, although it's not as dark as earlier songs, in fact it's almost hopeful. "Untitled" opens like the first song very quietly. We then get some strummed guitars and electronics. "Australasia" opens with craggy riffs that slowly pound the listener into submission. The song accellerates before 2 minutes as the tempo continues to change. Out of nowhere we get a one minute calm, an acoustic passage 4 minutes in. This is like the eye of the hurricane, so you know the tail end of the storm is about to hit hard. And it does as we are absolutely crushed.

You can't go wrong with either of their first two studio releases,although I prefer the next one slightly over this one.

Review by Petrovsk Mizinski
4 stars Pelican's debut album comes to us into the 3rd year of existence as a band, and recorded two years after their first EP. At this stage, the band was really beginning to capture the hearts of post metal fans, with their unique and fresh, but perhaps not quite yet fully evolved style. What we have here is a much more evolved style from their debut EP, tighter, more controlled, yet an unrestrained creative spirit is felt throughout.

After the first very quiet minute and 6 seconds of NightEndDay, it became apparent very quickly that I was in for a more interesting record than the debut EP. The sound was raw, just like the first EP, but perhaps not raw in exactly the same way, but rawness was an undeniable factor in Australasia's sound. Where the EP would set about on a crushing heavy onslaught for a lot of the time, Australasia was now more dynamic, more focused and refined (refined as a positive adjective in this case). NightEndDay displays a superior command of overall atmosphere, with great use of dynamics, much more noticeable and more frequent use of the guitar duo Trevor de Brauw and Laurent Schroeder-Lebec doing intricate tightly written separate parts, which adds to a greater sense of individual styles within the two guitarists. Being able to hear contrasting melody over the top of the crushing wall of rhythm guitar made it no less heavy for me, instead driving the listening experience to a more interesting and emotionally charging level.

Drought, while being perhaps a little similar in style to the sheer heaviness of the songs displayed on the EP, is again, like NightEndDay, a better display in controlled post metal dynamics compared to the EP. The riffs are dark, complemented very well by some of the melodies higher up in the range by the other guitar, and images of a dry barren drought stricken land can easily evoke in one's imagination. Despite the hypnotic chug of the guitar, there is enough movement to keep things more than interesting.

This album seems , to some extent anyway, to evoke a feeling of seasonal change, in keeping with heaviness-in-nature theme going on here. Where Drought was bleak and oppressive, Angel Tears has a sense of optimism but later contrasts this with some darker moments, perhaps suggestive of how things cannot remain purely hopeful. Even in the heaviness of it all, the band succeeded in displaying the optimistic emotion which is not always easy when things get as heavy as Pelican can get. Again, a great display of hope and happiness in GW.

Pelican had also expanded on their sound more with prominent use of acoustic guitar, particularly on Untitled, a major key and rather optimistic sounding track, breaking the mold of the sometimes expected always heavy, always bleak sound that post metal had become known for by some people.

While the album displays great post metal musicianship, perhaps Bryan Herweg on drums could have filled up space a little bit more. Another flaw, is due to the rather raw mix and possibly also because the Australasia sessions had to be rushed to get on the deadline, Larry Herweg's bass isn't always sitting very good in the mix, which has the unfortunate effect of detracting from the overall heaviness of the sound and also not making the record as interesting to listen to as it could have been. Nonetheless, an excellent effort by the band and a record that shows great progression in their sound song writing and musical maturity.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Australasia is the debut album from instrumental post metal band Pelican. I was not very impressed with the debut EP from the band, but Australasia is a clear improvement even though the musical style hasnīt changed much since the self titled debut EP.

The album consist of four long tracks ( about 10 minutes) and two shorter ones. The music is intrumental post metal which means that there are mid paced and slow heavy riffing and more atmospheric parts. The songs are actually very memorable which is something I complained about was lacking on the EP. Sometimes Australasia reminds me of an instrumental version of Isis debut album Celestial but Pelican are a bit more melodic. Even though the music is very heavy itīs not really dark as for example Neurosis. At times itīs even a bit uplifting for the spirit.

The musicianship is good on the album. Everything is played in a mid to slow pace so donīt expect dazzling instrumental runs. This music emphasises atmosphere before technicality. The band seems very tight though.

The production is a bit murky but I think it suits the music well.

The cover artwork is actually very special and I really like it. The mix cartoon and real picture works really well.

This album has ignited my interest in Pelican even though I do miss vocals at times. Itīs not that the music gets boring even though it is repetitive at times but I just prefer music with vocals. I still think this is a very good album and Iīll rate it 3 stars.

Review by Dim
4 stars Pelican, the instro-metal band, who are now known to be one of the more groundbreaking bands in this music scene release their full length debut Australasia to the underground music scene, and with this album garnered much critical acclaim, and a whole new look at the the term post rock. The four are much more ambitious this time around, instead of just creating sonic moods, and and emphasis on texture, the group dives deeper, and become a much more real band all around. No longer are they going with the status quo of slow tempo's, mammoth slow beats, and simplistic chord progression and riffing, no the group becomes more cohesive all around, bringing in a more defined sound, from every single instrument, all four now know their positions, now they completely exploit them, and make it their own niche in which they become a band to be remembered for.

This album is known for being mostly in the vein of doom metal, rather than their more popular tags of sludge, and post rock. Pelican starts concentrating on making towering riffs, thundering bass lines, and brutal drumming, in which they let it all go in a wrecking ball fashion, where they play the lowest possible notes to make the heaviest music you may ever hear, and once again they do it through a formula of smart songwriting, and repetition.

When I listened to this album for the first time, I didn't draw a single thing out of it other than boredom, and confusion as to how this band could seem to be so popular. It wasn't until six months later when I drilled their alleged masterpiece album the fire in our throats... until I finally got their music, yet it was still a while before I mustered up the courage to try and handle this album. I'm glad I finally did, because every riff, every thundering boom of the bass, and hit of the crash is another step deeper into the lush, earthy music of this group.

Every song is to be listened to completely individually, and appreciated separately from the rest of the album before being able to try and grasp the album as a whole all at one time, or at least that's my take on the music, because trying to take on the beast myself all at once was an extremely hard thing for me to do, and was more of a chore, rather than some to do for leisure. The songs range from all over the spectrum, from the extremely dark and doomy Nightendday, to the emotionally charged angel tears, to the triumphant, and incredibly heavy mood of the title track. Every songs pulls it's own weight towards making this a truly wonderful album, there's a song for every kind of mood. There's the extreme brutality of drought, the uplifting, and thriving feel of GW, and the untitled track which brings a whole new depth to the band through acoustics and experimentation. Like I said though it all works remarkably well, none of the six songs feel out of place, or in the wrong order.

The musicianship and ambition are almost at there peak at this point in the groups career. Almost all the songs are longer than five minutes, three of them being longer than ten. Pelican's guitar players really define their tone in this album as well, I can easily distinguish their guitars from that of Cult of Luna's, or Isis'. Also the playing of the the huge rhythm section of the brothers Larry and Bryan Herweg have also become more in depth. I can easily pick out Larry's incredibly toned, and deep bass lines amidst the distortion, and overwhelming amount of crash cymbals, and while there is much furious debate over whether or not Bryan is a good, original, and composed drummer, or a sloppy, off tempo, pretentious idiot. I personally think his drumming fits the band perfectly, I love his use of switching the cymbals, his very different approach to the double bass pedals, and obnoxious, but non self indulgent amount of fills.

The only flaw the group has in this album, is their lack of versatility as far as the music goes. Yeah, they do know how to switch up the mood, and even give us a whole new sound scape through the untitled song, but the group still hasn't tapped into their post rock dynamics. They know how to make the epic's, and they have the ambition, but the next thing they utilize will be the use of clean electrics, and a much more full feel to the album other than heavy brutality. This will show up in their most beloved album, and what I consider a masterpiece; The fire in our throats will beckon the thaw.

4 stars.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Post Metal?

As some of you know, my knowledge about this kind of music (metal, post metal, etc) is very limited; however I have listened to some albums and enjoyed some of them. My first experience with this American band was at least 4 years ago when Assaf introduced me to them, I even remember I played this CD in my fatherīs car when we were travelling in some holiday, he was really bored, while I was enjoying it.

Anyway, until now, I had not played this album for one or two years so I actually did not remember the sound of all the songs. Australasia is the name of this first Pelican's album and contains 6 songs, two of them are very short while the rest are 10 minute average songs, the total time is about 50 minutes

It kicks off with "Nightendday", after a slight beginning, that Pelican sounds appear with heavy guitars but not the same kind of heavy guitars as some heavy metal bands, there are no solos every two minutes, but instead, a post-rock feeling lies here, progressing every single minute making some short stops and changes, but finishing in the same Pelican line; so that post metal label really describes the sound here. The two guitar players distribute perfectly their work so despite both guitars may sound jammed in moments, you can clearly appreciate the different things they are doing at the moment. This is a very good opener song, an excellent introduction to their sound.

"Drought" continues with that heavy sound but now shown since the very first second, the song structure is the same almost all the time, but the fact is that they put different figures every four quarters, so it is a rich song full of little but no less important elements, at minute 6 the song stops for one second and later reincorporates with that heavy sound full of power, but without being power metal.

"Angel tears" now here is what I would call the problem,(not in this particular song), I mean, that after almost 20 minutes of the first two tracks, now I could get a bit bored since the style is practically the same, I know it is the band's own style and those Pelican die-hard fans would say that is the goal, but to me, who am not a metal follower, the music begins to sound bored, so better to put stop, rest a couple of minutes and then return to the album.

"GW" is a short 3-minute song, not bad at all, but I would say is more of the same, I personally, would have cut this song off the album since it doesn't add anything new to the music.

Next song is "Untitled", and at last something different, now they play with acoustic guitars making a totally different sound, so that heaviness has become softness; there is a sound like wind chiming which was perfectly put within the song, provoking melancholy while listening to it, both acoustic guitars complement each other in the best possible way. So in my opinion this decision of making a different kind of song was perfectly elaborated and well-placed, pretty good

And the album finishes with the title track, 10 minutes of true Pelican sound which can be well appreciated by the listener (by me) after that 5 minute "Untitled" break. So here they return to their heavy and post metal sound, let me tell you something you may know, but if you have good headphones, you can really appreciate what they are offering, in particular the use of a pair of electric guitars; as I recall in the second song, they use different elements and put different figures to the sound, so the progression can be better understood. A very good song, because it also has its little changes that help building every new passage.

Plenty of time passed since I last played it, now I enjoyed it but as I wrote, there was a moment when I felt bored, but as you know, this is not my favorite style of music. 3 final stars.

Enjoy it!

Review by Negoba
3 stars Prototypical Post-Metal

Post-metal is a combination of sludge metal and post-rock, using low tuned distorted guitars to create atmospheric moods that are often dark and depressing. As in all metal, one of the keys to a good song is the quality of the riffs, and Pelican succeed in executing some great sludge riffs on their debut AUSTRALASIA. The sound of the guitars and the drag of the drums are great. Pelican's music is purely instrumental, which is a good thing. Post-metal vocals, when they appear, are usually barked and harsh and most importantly, distract (at least me) from the moodscape the music creates.

Similarly, creating mood without putting the listener to sleep is one of the keys to good post- rock, and here again Pelican succeeds. AUSTRALASIA does a good job of setting its mood and then balancing between holding and varying the theme. There is movement, but I'm still allowed to drift. There are enough ideas to hold my interest without assaulting my attention. Pelican doesn't create a completely cold and depressing mood either. In fact, the yellow and orange cover matches the moods quite well. A hot summer evening out alone in an arid wilderness.

Pelican achieves its purpose quite well with Australasia, but like most post-rock and post- metal, the scope of that goal is pretty narrow. Pelican will improve on this sound a bit on later albums, with richer layers of sound, more melody, and a bit more variation in their approach. But to a large extent, the core of this genre is background music. And Pelican stands directly at the core of post-metal. So while well done, don't expect many challenges or surprises. 3/5

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Pelican is a Post Metal band in every sense of the word. Their music has that post rock feeling, but it is also very heavy and dense. Black metal lovers that want to check out Post Metal and/or Post Rock should listen to this band. I know many people that love black metal and that are very impressed with Pelican. The band is made up simply of two lead guitars, a bass and drums. This lineup gives a certain prehistoric feel to the music.

This album is their debut full album. When recording was going on for the album, there were some issues with the studio being under construction, so there were some problems with equipment and so on. There were also huge budget restraints, so the band felt the sessions were rushed. However, many critics have given praise to the album nevertheless. The album is completely instrumental.

The album starts out with an 11 minute monstrosity of a track called Nightendday, one that establishes the bands sound after a short, quiet introduction. When the band kicks in, you instantly get the thickness and denseness of the sound. Welcome to the sound of Pelican. There is a bit of melodic sense to the bands music even considering the heaviness. But other than a few short moments of reprieve, the music stays heavy. There are varying meter changes and thematic variety through the track to keep things interesting. The center of the track does break down for a while in order to build up through an extended crescendo, thus utilizing the typical post rock formula. But just as it reaches it's peak, it ends.

'Drought' comes next and starts out where the last track left off with hardly a space to tell where one end and the other starts. There is an obvious repeating riff that forms the basis of the track and metallic guitars play over the churning riff. Tempo increases and slows on an alternating basis. Finally after the 6 minute mark, there is some variation in the riff and things are a little more interesting here, but the track only goes for a few more minutes, so it's a little too late. Not much changes here like it did in the first track. There is a complete lack of dynamics in this song.

'Angel Tears' is another 11 minute track. It is a slower and plodding rhythm. The themes are too repetitive for the first 4 minutes and really not that interesting. There is more of a variation after this, but the tempo remains the same, so it's hard to catch that variation. At 6 minutes, tempo speeds up a bit, but you still get that churning repetitiveness. There just isn't anything to hold my interest in this long track.

'GW' is a short 3 minute track that you expect to lighten up a bit, but it's not, it's just more of the same in a short dose.

'Untitled' is also a shorter track at over 5 minutes, and it is actually the reprieve you expect since it is much softer, but still has that dark sound. It's more of an acoustic sound. Soon a high warbling sound is added, almost sounds like a saw or something. There are plenty of layers here, but they are softer, and this is a nice change of pace.

'Australasia' returns us to the hard and heavy epics approaching 11 minutes. This one is more like the first track, thank goodness. It's not so repetitive and it uses dynamics and tempo changes quite effectively, to keep things from getting too stale.

It's the first and last track, with help from 'Untitled' that save the album from falling into the 'same-ness' trap that so many bands of the genre tend to fall into. Is it enough to make me want to listen to more of their material? Well, yes it is, but it isn't high on my priorities however. There is good solid material here, but there is a lot of material that doesn't hold my interest too. So I would have to go with a 3 star rating on this, but they do generate enough interest to make you want to explore their music some more. If you like your Post Rock hard, heavy and dense, then this one could interest you. But I will remind you that it is quite repetitive in some places and some tracks, even though they are long, don't seem to develop very much.

Latest members reviews

5 stars after having bits of this album from various downloads i bought it yesterday at a record store in the city and have to say i'm pretty pleased with it. perfect blend of post rock and metal should appeal to most prog fans and any post rock fan unless youre closed minded about metal ... (read more)

Report this review (#161948) | Posted by shentile | Saturday, February 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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