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PELICAN

Experimental/Post Metal • United States


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Pelican biography
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


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PELICAN shows & tickets


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PELICAN discography


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

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

3.72 | 50 ratings
Australasia
2003
3.95 | 82 ratings
The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw
2005
3.49 | 48 ratings
City Of Echoes
2007
3.51 | 26 ratings
What We All Come To Need
2009
3.86 | 15 ratings
Forever Becoming
2013

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

3.00 | 1 ratings
Arktika (Live From Russia)
2014

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Live in Chicago 06/11/03
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
After the Ceiling Cracked
2007

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Wooden Box
2010

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

2.96 | 17 ratings
Pelican
2003
4.21 | 25 ratings
March Into The Sea
2005
3.33 | 3 ratings
Pelican / Mono
2005
3.00 | 5 ratings
Pink Mammoth
2007
2.00 | 1 ratings
PLCN/TAAS (Pelican / These Arms are Snakes split)
2008
2.00 | 1 ratings
Young Widows Split Series, Vol. 3
2009
3.64 | 8 ratings
Ephemeral
2009
3.13 | 5 ratings
Ataraxia/Taraxis
2012
2.00 | 1 ratings
Deny the Absolute / The Truce
2013

PELICAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 City Of Echoes by PELICAN album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.49 | 48 ratings

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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 an aesthetic choice, or it might simply mark 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, lacking only 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 freshly 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 homogeny 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. And, not unlike a dose of actual brownfield sludge, it can be hard to clean off your skin afterward.

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 Forever Becoming by PELICAN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.86 | 15 ratings

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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.

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 Forever Becoming by PELICAN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.86 | 15 ratings

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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

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

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Ataraxia/Taraxis
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 Isis...us 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.

THREE STARS

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 The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw by PELICAN album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.95 | 82 ratings

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

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 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 just as haunting and fragile as Mogwai's excellent Ten Rapid, 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 it comes pretty close to it.

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 What We All Come To Need by PELICAN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.51 | 26 ratings

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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

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 City Of Echoes by PELICAN album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.49 | 48 ratings

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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.

Masterpiece

Five Stars

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 City Of Echoes by PELICAN album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.49 | 48 ratings

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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

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 March Into The Sea by PELICAN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2005
4.21 | 25 ratings

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March Into The Sea
Pelican Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

4 stars The wonderful world of post metal

Pelican is a group that has a select group of massive fans, and a larger group of listeners that holds no particular love for the band but just an apathetic hold on their music in order to have some post metal in their collection. The band's music is sludgey, noisy, and a whole host of other skin-grating qualities that at times are appropriate and at others just a mass of noise and speaker-blowing mess. However, at points the music transitions into striking beauty, defying the baritone guitar mess with accents of acoustic grace and even sections of strings and piano. This EP, released shortly before their sophomore studio album, contains just two tracks, and lengthier, more improvised and at points more majestic and melodic version of the title track (on the full length it is titled "March to the Sea" rather than "into the Sea") and a remix of Angel Tears off their debut. Overall the EP is a grandiose post metal gem, and an obvious high point in their discography.

I'm a self-proclaimed lover of long songs, so the presence of two lengthier songs was an obvious bonus as I spelunked along Pelican's discography. Now I'm not a huge fan of post rock, and the combination of metal and the former genre is not high on my list of favored genres, but this band surely does a good job with it. Although, as I said before, much of the music is a mess of baritone guitar riffing and loud, overbearing drumming, this EP has a surprising amount of structure and melody to compliment it. The remix has a nice ambient almost electronic effect to it, which really accentuates the post rock feel behind the music. Overall, the two tracks are real treats for any post metal or even any post rock fan, and I recommend them to anyone who doesn't mind enduring a few grueling minutes of growling baritone guitar riffs. 4- stars.

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 Ephemeral by PELICAN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2009
3.64 | 8 ratings

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Ephemeral
Pelican Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Any Colour You Like
Prog Reviewer

4 stars There's something very alluring about this release. Sure, as an EP it's never going to completely blow you away in the same sense that a well planned, musically fresh and thematically interesting full length will, but Pelican's Ephemeral EP is surely one of the most impressive releases the band has produced to date.

Traversing 20 minutes of dynamic, dense, melodic and powerful metal, the compositions here are typically Pelican, but they also have that wonderful aura of intrigue and mystery. They aren't psychedelic in the Eloy sense, nor weird in the Kayo Dot sense, but groovy and dense nonetheless. There's simply more depth and texturing to each movement than just chugs of metal and flailing percussion fills. Yes, the Earth cover 'Geometry of Murder' may not be as languid and textural as the original, but what this cover lacks in 'photocopy', it makes up for in a truly dynamic 'expression'. Indeed, this one of Pelican's more expressive releases. As I have said in previous reviews, Pelican should be treated as a triumphant, joyous artist, there's nothing sinister or dark about any of their compositions. Just take one listen of Ephemeral and you'll know what I mean. It's mature, powerful and strangely poised. A near-perfect way to spend 20 minutes.

Now the release isn't without faults, but by and large these are mostly subjective stylistic flaws that I shouldn't need to espouse here. Objectively, there simply isn't anything bad to say.

4.5/5

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