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Pelican - Australasia CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.66 | 69 ratings

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Petrovsk Mizinski
Prog Reviewer
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.

Petrovsk Mizinski | 4/5 |


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