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Experimental/Post Metal • United States

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Pelican biography
Founded in Chicago, USA in 1999

PELICAN were formed in Chicago by guitarists Trevor de Brauw and Laurent Lebec.Brothers Larry and Bryan Herweg round out the line-up on bass and drums,respectively.Pelican are a purely instrumental outfit and were signed to Aaron Turner's(ISIS)Hydra Head Records.In 2003 they made their debut with a four song,eponymous EP.

PELICAN released their first full length effort in 2004,the critically acclaimed "Australasia" album.In 2005 PELICAN released their second full length effort,"The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw".In 2007 PELICAN released the album "City of Echoes",an album that saw the band take their music in a more accessible direction.

With sounds that alternate between dreamy sounscapes and crushing riffs,PELICAN is leading the pack in a new era of instrumental post metal.Highly recommended for fans of progressive and post metal,with a sound highly evocative of the inspirational NEUROSIS and other post metal bands like ISIS,CULT OF LUNA,CALLISTO & MOUTH OF THE ARCHITECT

PELICAN Videos (YouTube and more)

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The CliffThe Cliff
Southern Lord 2015
$30.67 (used)
The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The ThawThe Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw
Hydrahead Records 2005
$2.20 (used)
Forever BecomingForever Becoming
Southern Lord 2013
$6.87 (used)
Pelican : ArktikaPelican : Arktika
Oblique Records 2014
$29.27 (used)
What We All Come To NeedWhat We All Come To Need
Southern Lord 2009
$4.98 (used)
Southern Lord 2012
$33.72 (used)
DIW Records (JAPAN)
$10.01 (used)
Hydrahead Records 2003
$3.41 (used)
Hydrahead Records 2003
$3.82 (used)
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PELICAN discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

PELICAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.66 | 64 ratings
3.89 | 97 ratings
The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw
3.44 | 54 ratings
City Of Echoes
3.55 | 34 ratings
What We All Come To Need
3.88 | 22 ratings
Forever Becoming

PELICAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 4 ratings
Arktika (Live From Russia)

PELICAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Live in Chicago 06/11/03
5.00 | 2 ratings
After the Ceiling Cracked

PELICAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Wooden Box

PELICAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.96 | 19 ratings
4.21 | 28 ratings
March Into The Sea
3.50 | 4 ratings
Pelican / Mono
3.00 | 5 ratings
Pink Mammoth
2.00 | 1 ratings
PLCN/TAAS (Pelican / These Arms are Snakes split)
2.00 | 1 ratings
Young Widows Split Series, Vol. 3
3.17 | 9 ratings
3.13 | 5 ratings
2.00 | 1 ratings
Deny the Absolute / The Truce
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Cliff


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Australasia by PELICAN album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.66 | 64 ratings

Pelican Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

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.

 The Cliff by PELICAN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
3.00 | 1 ratings

The Cliff
Pelican Experimental/Post Metal

Review by JJLehto
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars Another Pelican EP, just enough to keep us satisfied, but leave us hungry enough to want more!

This EP consists of three remakes of their song, "The Cliff" released on their last album, as well as one original song, "The Wait".

The first remake, "The Cliff (Vocal Version" is just that, the original song but with vocals. This is of course shocking for the instrumental band, and unlike their only previous song with vocals which featured the singing in an airy, light style, this song features distinct, clear singing with lyrics such as "I'm gunna wait. I'm gunna wait here for you. You're running late. I'm gunna stay here for you. You're gunna love me someday." Honestly, I was a bit shocked...but it works. The vocals fit superbly and the lyrics, well they work! Also note the lyrics about waiting and the final song, "The Wait". Refreshing song.

"The Cliff (Justin Broadrick Remix)" is just that. Broadrick of Godflesh amd Jesu fame adds a noisy, industrial touch to the lengthened song, leaving it recognizable but clearly unique. The Palms Remix is done by Aaron Harris and Bryant Clifford Meyer from Palms, as well as the legendary Isis, and features the first song, (complete with vocals) but with some extra touches to it, such as Harris' classic drumming, some electronic touches, and a recognizable though clearly redone section of "The Cliff" with a nice ending.

"The Wait" is a Pelican song with all that we've come to love and expect. Beauty, power, subtle textured songwriting building to a powerful climax and of course the clean/heavy dynamic and powerful drumming.

So what to make of this little EP? Any Pelican fan will like it, and while it doesn't add much at all to their discography, take it for what it is: a fun, simple snack. The star power on this small EP is an intriguing touch, and while small there is a bit of a story to all of it: the first song, simply vocals added to an older song, is redone itself later. The lyrics in that first song, add a bit to the last, knowing what exactly "The Wait" is referring to, and perhaps adds to it's power and movement.

If you like Pelican, give it a listen. If you've never heard the band, give it a listen. The former should find it a simple, nice and fun EP, the latter will hopefully be encouraged to try the band's other material!

Good but non essential


 City Of Echoes by PELICAN album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.44 | 54 ratings

City Of Echoes
Pelican Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars No one knows more than a Proghead about the compulsion to organize music into hermetic sub-styles, arranged in a complicated taxonomy of species, genus, family and phylum. But, honestly...Sludge Rock? Sludge Metal? Fair enough, I suppose we all need a pet genre to call our own. And whatever this is, I'm willing to wade through it up to my aging eyebrows, at least once.

Like its namesake seaside bird this Chicago band is an ungainly critter showing unexpected grace in its natural habitat. The plodding Post Rock tempos, the over-amped twin electric guitars, and the constant ride-cymbal abuse may have all been aesthetic choices, or they might have simply marked the limit of the quartet's technical abilities. The rudimentary boom-thud drumming is an acquired taste: a little more rhythmic imagination might have lifted the music above the high-tide sludge mark. But that was never the band's game plan.

For lack of a cheaper comparison imagine the Post Rockers of EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY, minus the same transcendental glow. But is that really an acoustic guitar I hear, gracing the song "Win With Hands"? In the context of the album's typically doom-laden moodscapes it's an almost shocking breath of fresh air, no doubt sounding to any self-respecting metal-head like manicured fingernails on a dirty chalkboard. But don't fret: soon enough the music will revert back to its usual Visigoth-invasion soundtrack, in the aptly titled "Dead Between the Walls".

Supposedly there's a concept of sorts behind it all, about the increasing uniformity of global culture, but don't quote me on that. Without any lyrical help the music alone is hardly programmatic...thankfully, I might add. Nobody needs a Sludge Rock "Lamb Lies Down On Broadway", or a Sludge Metal adaptation of 'The Wall" (although the latter would be an improvement over the moribund original).

I probably wouldn't have made any effort to hear this album if the group wasn't featured on this web site, and if the album itself wasn't available at my local library. And it may not be entirely representative of the band-at-large, having a lower toxicity level than other Pelican droppings, so to speak. For contrast, bend your gray matter around the title track of the band's '05 EP "March to the Sea": an epic four-star slab of heavy instrumental ambience.

But this album provides an easy point of access to curious newcomers willing to don a hazmat suit with matching headphones. And, not unlike a dose of actual brownfield sludge, it can be hard to clean off your skin afterward.

 Forever Becoming by PELICAN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.88 | 22 ratings

Forever Becoming
Pelican Experimental/Post Metal

Review by ergaster

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.

 Forever Becoming by PELICAN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.88 | 22 ratings

Forever Becoming
Pelican Experimental/Post Metal

Review by 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

 Ataraxia/Taraxis by PELICAN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
3.13 | 5 ratings

Pelican Experimental/Post Metal

Review by JJLehto
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is a difficult rating for me, because while the music is perfectly fine, it's not much of a departure for Pelican and it's a short EP. Clocking in at just under 18 minutes, this is a short but fine EP.

Musically there's not much to say if you're familiar Pelican. Their classic riffy and warm sound hasn't changed. Still heavy and atmospheric. Only thing that really stands out is how short the songs are. On their last 2 albums Pelican has gone for shorter songs opposed to their earlier epic ramblers, but these are even shorter...the longest just cracking 5 minutes. I did see one review comment they detected a bit of a stoner rock sound at times, and I'd say I notice it as well but it's just for a brief time.

"Ataraxia" is a very mellow, droning song. Minimalist and airy, very chill.

"Lathe Biosas" throws you right into it, almost sounds like mid riff, and is a classic Pelican song. Heavy, but not suffocating, valleys then peaks.

"Parasite Colony" is another straightforward Pelican song, though maybe a bit less riffy and more drifty. Both are cool songs.

"Taraxis" concludes the EP with acoustic guitar and light drumming, while electric guitar noises flutter around the background. It goes out with a bang though, with the heaviest stuff heard on the album.

So I'm not really sure what to make of this one. Is this just a snack to tide us over for a bit? Is it a sample of something we should expect to see in the future? (Shorter, lighter songs). Only time will tell, but as for "Ataraxia/Taraxis" there's really not much new here. Which is fine, a standard Pelican release is always a good thing! Any fan of Pelican, or lighter/progressive metal should enjoy and I think those that can tolerate some heaviness should also get a kick from this.

Note: a light snack always leaves you hungry, and with the break up of post metal fans are still left starved. Hopefully the upcoming Cult of Luna album will finally fill the void.

A good, though unspectacular, and short EP...worth some listens but not essential.


 The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw by PELICAN album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.89 | 97 ratings

The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw
Pelican Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Pelican's brand of post-metal reminds me a lot of Mogwai - there's the same mixture of sparse sterility and threadbare raggedness, like an abandoned hospital. With The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw, they've greated an album that aspires to be just as haunting and fragile as Mogwai's excellent Ten Rapid (and in its best moments manages it), with just enough metallic roar to it to keep it on the metal side of the post-rock/post-metal divide (which as the 2000s went on got thinner and thinner). It got a lot of comparisons to Isis's Panopticon when it came out, and I don't think it's quite as good as that album, but in its better moments it comes pretty close to it. The main deficiency is that Pelican don't quite assert enough personality to distinguish them from the crowd, particularly in the context of the mid-2000s post-metal boom.
 What We All Come To Need by PELICAN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.55 | 34 ratings

What We All Come To Need
Pelican Experimental/Post Metal

Review by JJLehto
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This album is a bit of a departure for Pelican, which is why I think (despite critical reviews) fans of the band don't seem to care for this album, at least not as much as their other work. At first I was on board with that though I couldn't put my finger on why. With time though "What We All Came to Need" grew on me, and while it may not be the strongest album the band has put out, it is still very good.

Before this album, Pelican switched from one slower, progressive metal focused label (Hydra Head) to another (Southern Lord) and while both specialize in the same general types of band, Pelican changed things up with this release. The emphasis on riffing, (one of their defining features amongst post metal bands) is subdued, as is the heaviness. Now, it is still undeniably heavy, but less "sludgey" less bottom heavy and outright pulverizing. So at first listen this album can be a bit underwhelming.

Though it's just a different style, instead of riffing and pummeling this album is about texture, and atmosphere. I should say they are more the focus, as these qualities were always essential to Pelican. So it takes some getting used to certainly, but it has what you want from Pelican: guitar driven, upbeat post metal complete with amazing melodies, perfect guitar interplay, some awesome riffs, and while not as up tempo as "City of Echoes" still generally more so than most post metal. Progressive song writing still abounds, though it's not as epic or energetic as previous work, and feels less structured overall and more drifty. There is also increased use of melodic passages on this album. This is a more cerebral and reflective Pelican.

Some notable songs are "The Creeper" which is the slowest, heaviest, most brutal song on the album, "Specks of Light" the riffiest, most up tempo song (and with some killer parts) and the finale, "Finale Breath" which features vocals! A first for Pelican. Instead of the harsh shouts or emotional singing customary to post metal, they opt for shoegazing like dream like vocals, fitting for the nowhere drifting nature of the song. The vocals are courtesy of Allen Epley (who I've not heard of personally) and some other guest musicians make an appearance, including Greg Anderson of Sunn O))) fame, and Aaron Turner of Isis.

A little less traditional Pelican and more traditional post rock/metal this is not the band's best album, but it's still a damn good one. With some time and listens it should strike you as a solid and well executed, if unspectacular, post metal album.

Three and a Half Stars

Bump: 4 Stars

 City Of Echoes by PELICAN album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.44 | 54 ratings

City Of Echoes
Pelican Experimental/Post Metal

Review by JJLehto
Prog Reviewer

5 stars It generally seems to be that this album is not too well liked by Pelican fans, or that "It's OK but just not that great". Well to each their own but I love "City of Echoes" and it is actually my favorite Pelican album so far.

It has every staple of Pelican's sound: very heavy, dense and intricate guitar work, progressive song writing with awesome riffs and melodies. In fact it was the band's higher emphasis on riffing that always made them stand out to me from most other post metal bands. As well as their less reflective, (even brooding) more upbeat nature.

While all that is still present, "City of Echoes" is more streamlined than past work. The longest song is 7 minutes, with four of the eight clocking in the 5 minute range. While some die hards may automatically dislike this, I always love to see a band and change it up and see nothing wrong with more to the point, (dare I say....accessible) songs.

Don't worry, this is no pop album, the songs still move...but instead of drifting to the end of the river, it flows with more force. Maybe the climaxes and finales are not as mind blowing, but the songs may be more powerful, more energetic. Basically, it's all the good of Pelican but a little easier, a little more rockin. I'm OK with that.

This is all backed up by the drumming, which is a bit more up tempo and diverse than before. It gives a different touch to the music, some feeling, (always nice to sound human and not like a machine right?) and intensity. There's even some pretty quick double bass at times! It's still pretty straightforward, but better and as the band themselves have said, they are not trying to be Don Caballero here.

Of course the album is still guitar driven, and the riffs and melodies are the best yet. As always the dual guitar work is just awesome. Working in unison, as lead/rhythm, or diving in and out of each other. It's so well done. De Brauw and Schroeder-Lebec are guitar wizards.

There's also an increased emphasis on bass, taking a prominent role as another instrument instead of just bottom filler. I think it always gives the music a more textured sound.

The songwriting is great, perfect flow and progression. It's not always heavy either, dipping in the clean pool a good bit. Most importantly: great variation. Not just in song, but every song has a bit of a different feel to it. It's difficult to pick standout songs since they are all great, but the acoustic "Winds with Hands" is a good change of pace and "Lost in the Headlights" is my favorite. The most energetic on the album it also best does a little of everything said in the review above.

Amazing album, maybe some Pelican or post-metal fans will not care for it's less epic nature, but cmon a little different won't kill ya! An awesome listen, and should be enjoyable for any fan of progressive metal. It's even gotten enjoyment from non metal heads! If you can take some heavy guitar, I recommend "City of Echoes" regardless of what you like. It's also instrumental so don't worry about unpleasant vocals.


Five Stars

 City Of Echoes by PELICAN album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.44 | 54 ratings

City Of Echoes
Pelican Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars Pelican are a well-established name in the Post-Metal field and a mandatory listen if you want to get acquainted with the genre. For skeptics of harsh vocals, the fact that this is instrumental music, might be an attractive prospect.

Pelican's main business is sludgy doom riffs, but it's the kind of riffs that evolve through the songs, varying in context and mood, growing louder, wilder and then back to quiet. When they quicken the pace the music gets a slight math-y feel for me, as on 'City of Echoes'. Also post-punk influences can be heard, as on the 8th note chorused bass riff in the same song. The songs are shorter then on your average post-metal album and they also sound more composed, going through distinct movements and themes. Halfway through the album I find my attention wane, the songs keep re-iterating the same ideas too much, and there's little in sound or hooks to distinguish them from one-another. Maybe the lack of vocals is somewhat problematic after all.

I have come to understand that this album isn't in the same vein as those that preceded. I'm not entirely satisfied but still my interest to hear more from this band is peaked. A good instrumental post-metal album but nothing exceptional. 3.5 stars

Thanks to TheProgtologist for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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