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PELICAN

Pelican

Experimental/Post Metal


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Moatilliatta
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars After the blooming of post-rock in the late 90s and early 00s, Pelican rose up to join the experimental movement in 2003 with their self-titled debut EP. Pelican, however, is a [doom] metal band. In essence, this fusion of sludgy, doom metal and experimental/post- rock is unique, but they have not yet developed a sound that sets them apart from the metal bands they identify with. There may not be any vocals, but comparison, and even confusion with Isis is virtually inescapable.

Pelican relies on a thick, massive sound to carry their songs. Most of this material is straight-forward, but it is huge. Rather than focus on creating melodies, Pelican focuses on creating moods and atmospheres. There is not a lot of riffing; it's more of a firm sound, where generally the band is playing one massive riff, or complimenting chord patterns. That makes up the bulk of the songs. Most of this material is heavy, and there are hardly any guitar parts don't use distortion. While it suits the purpose, expanding their range of sound would open up a lot more possibilities for them. Besides expanding their overall tonality, they also need to be more dynamic. The first two songs, "Pulse" and "Mammoth" each hold their share of problems in that aspect. The first track is basically one chord pattern that gradually builds for most of its duration, and starts to vary slightly, but doesn't really go anywhere. It's not a fully developed song. "Mammoth," while appropriately titled for its huge sound, is rather boring. The second half of the EP is much stronger. "Forecast for Today" alone does more than the first two songs combined. The 13-minute closer, "The Woods," is easily the most dynamic, and consequently, the best track on this EP. Of course, to make a song that long, ample dynamic shifts are mandatory, and there is plenty of room for building up and bringing down.

In conclusion, the material presented is good, but it has a few issues that should be easily dealt with. With a little more variety and dynamics, they should be well on their way to producing some high-quality music. The blatant Isis sound will wear off eventually. Pelican has the right idea; they just have to run with it.

Report this review (#63666)
Posted Saturday, January 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
Philo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Post metal? Most metal has an element of parody and over a lengthy time now has become seriously farcical, lazy, irrelevant. but if Pelican take their base catalyst from metal then they do by stripping away the visual bollocks, they remove the embarrassing repetitive one dimensional lyrical themes while banishing the all too trivial guitar solo, and along with that they also rid us of the face ache expressions of the lead guitarist in mid solo. What they do is layer tunes that are saturated with massive riffs and a powerhouse energy and hardened aggressive attitude to build wide open soundscapes that never need guitar wank or pitiful vocals to be read or understood. But while the band continue to thrash out large supercharged riffs, there is enough separation, mood and variation in the music. The tunes are forceful, sometimes melancholic but always massive. As a taster for the band this ep simply, and cleverly, entitled Untitled is certainly a good one, the band deal in a stoner rock vibe but without the bull[&*!#]. Pelican offer nothing new but they do it in a minimalistic method that is so very refreshing and worthwhile. Though the metal purist may never fully grasp it, it's progressive and big and just may harm your speakers while others merely threaten to do the same.
Report this review (#71575)
Posted Friday, March 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars One of my favorite bands today, this debut highlights the greatness to come. This album is not as dynamic, creative, or intriguing as their Studio Albums. Some songs offer some great atmospheres, like "The Woods" while other aspects are basic and the band is just focusing on the atmosphere and the texture of the sound. None of these song's will "hit you" as much with the power that can be found on Australasia. However, this album stands well on it's on merit, and offers us a good glimpse into where the band came from.

As the reviewer before me stated, a powerhouse of energy.

Report this review (#84774)
Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Coldness and massiveness of generating post-metal.

Pelican with this release was to show the world what they were going to do next, and they managed, though overacting a little. I cannot recommend taking this EP as an introduction to the world of Pelican due to its moist, dry, cold and hesitating sound.

This EP lacks beauty, gracefulness and melancholy (the main future Pelican’s traits and qualities) and any whatsoever sense. The overdistorted guitars may cause a headache inside your head, indifference of the music can leave you indifferent to this EP as well. Nevertheless, I did manage to find in this music a few sketches for a future development of Pelican. Introductory riff of Pulse is very similar to the main riff of Angel Tears; Mammoth, which attacks our ears with its slow, doomy, extra-heavy, almost unbearable riffs, is a gear shaping or even a kind of torment for a listener – some traces of which can be noticed in the Australasia album. Forecast For Today slightly distinguishes from the previous tracks – it is more energetic, but also very heavy, doomy, though contains some coherent and even interesting seconds which are worth listening to. The Woods are slow again, but only at the beginning; the middle section is quite diverse and the solo against a background of a cold riff at 9:00 is great – there you can find and enjoy a real Pelican, but, unfortunately, only for some minutes. Yes, there is a kind of climax at 11:00, but it is nothing if to compare it with the glorious climaxes and song developments Pelican would show us henceforth, with their next releases.

It’s a debut, so I have to be reasonable in rating this one. I cannot give it more than 2 stars just because it’s not a Pelican I love; it’s just an embryo of it. These indifferent riffs left me cold; moreover, the atmosphere here is not melancholic or sad, but depressive, bulky, though not angry at all! Playing the guitar with no emotions is unbearable.

Buy March Into The Sea EP or The Fire In Our Throats to find out what these guys really deserve.

If the album leaves me absolutely cold, I cannot call it a good one. 2 stars.

Report this review (#165188)
Posted Thursday, March 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Pelicanīs debut EP introduces the band to the world. Pelicanīs version of Post Metal is heavy as Neurosis, but much lighter in mood and itīs much more melodic and instrumental.

The music is very repetitive and yet melodic, but I donīt find it particularly memorable. Sometimes band who play repetitive themes have a plan of why they do this and it can work to great effect, but itīs mostly really annoying and quite frankly boring in my ears. The latter is unfortunately the case here on the Pelican EP. The music is slow and almost doomy post metal and you almost have to be a wizard to make that genre work. I understand Pelican is considered one of the three big ones in post metal but itīs hard to hear why on this EP. The music isnīt bad, itīs just a bit boring and repetitive. The best song here is The Woods which is also the longest song here. The song has time to develop and even though this means lots of repetitive riffing itīs better than the short songs in my opinion.

The musicians are hard to judge as there isnīt played anything here that needs much skill IMO but they seem allright.

The production is a bit murky but pretty good.

The post metal style is not my prefered style which is probably obvious when you read my review, but Iīve given the Pelican EP a fair chance and itīs just not won my over. Iīve heard quite a few better albums in this genre that you should get instead. Iīll rate this EP 2 stars because itīs really not bad, but itīs not exciting enough for 3 stars IMO. Iīll be looking forward with caution when I shall review Pelicanīs next releases. I hope they prove me wrong because right now Iīm not that impressed with Pelican.

Report this review (#169596)
Posted Friday, May 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Petrovsk Mizinski
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The debut EP from Pelican, already begins to show what I love about this band. They have a truly unique and identifiable sound within the genre, yet I wouldn't call them a strictly post metal band. This particular release is a mix of doom metal, sludge metal and post metal in one and a mix that has certainly been what has made the band unique in their sound to my mind. These songs were originally written before 2003, in fact the songs were originally released as a demo in late 2001, but re-released after Pelican signed to Hydra Head Records, so this material is in fact even more representative of their beginnings than I first thought given the band formed in 2001.

The core of much of Pelican's sound, particularly on this release, is the use of massive textures and a crushingly thick and heavy guitar sound. There is an emphasis on setting the mood and creating an atmosphere, but yet, it is still a highly melodic affair, certainly more so than bands like Neurosis.

Pulse is generally based only around a few chords, and it gradually evolves from there, with a melody line over top. The song gets very heavy in the middle and then backs. While a nice song to listen to, I feel it doesn't develop enough, so I always felt a little underwhelmed listening to Pulse. Mammoth, is as heavy as it's name. The wall of guitar sound crushes and it's an overall very doomy affair, and leaves me feeling, somewhat oppressed by the heaviness, but this is by no mean a bad thing. The negative is, again, a lack of development and perhaps a little more melodic lines would have been nice too.

Fortunately for Pelican, I feel things get better for the last half of the EP. Forecast For Today is still heavy to the bone, but it evolves more and is more dynamic than the last two songs. The song has always made me feel that the Forecast For Today is that of a weatherstorm, and the heaviness leads to me feeling that this storm has potentially destructive elements to it.

If The Woods is about an adventure into the woods, it's certainly a dark, unforgiving and bleak adventure for whoever dared to step foot into the woods. Again, much better development and dynamics, and this makes the song a more interesting emotional journey for me. The crashing of cymbals towards the end of the song gives me the sense of danger and despair.

The team of Trevor de Brauw on guitar,Bryan Herweg on bass, Larry Herweg on drums and Laurent Schroeder-Lebec on guitar seem to already have forged a unique sound with this EP. But they have presented to me a lack of development and evolution on 2 of their songs here, and certainly the variety of moods on offer could have been more so. Nevertheless, I think this was a good starting point for the band and one for any Pelican fan to see where they began their journey into their unique post metal sound.

Report this review (#172459)
Posted Thursday, May 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
Dim
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars We are introduced to the Chicago based Post metal band named Pelican through this four song, self titled EP in 2003, this marks the beginning of one of the most influential, and not to mention one of my personal favorite bands in post rock/metal history. Since this EP, the group has released three albums, and two other EP's, but on this one, you hear Pelican, stripped down to the very core of their music, the basics of what makes this band more unique and one of the most successful of the genre.

We start with Pulse, one of the bands most beautiful songs to date. just a repeating, soothing chord progression, that's builds into a very triumphant march, that perfectly compliments itself as the first song on the EP. This song is on a major scale, and basically repeats the same chords over and over, and when you think about it, that's what this band is all about; repetition. They play riffs or chords over and over again, until you pull out every possible thing you can get out of it, then starts a new round to get you going again. Don't let this song fool you though, The rest of the songs are much darker, and draw heavily on the bands doom metal influences which have almost disappeared in some of their most recent work. The EP progresses from simple chord progression, and marching beats, to incredibly heavy riffing, and spastic loose-y drumming that Bryan Herweg is loved (and sometimes hated) for. After many listens, what sounds like a bunch of disorganized and repetitive songs, turns into a marvel of new idea's, and originality that so few bands can capture nowadays.

The musicianship isn't where you would expect it to be, especially when you compare it to some of their more tight, and polished works such as City of echoes, or the March into the sea EP. The riffs are much more basic, the beats very simple, and even the bass doesn't seem as limber as it does, but like I said, everything comes together. The two messy sounding guitars, overloaded with distortion throughout the entire thirty minutes compliment each other so well, and the bass just over comes you with a brutal heaviness that you can feel inside your chest. While I don't feel this album is as cohesive, or (for lack of better words) as addicting as any of the other albums by this group, I wont give it four stars. I just wish I got this first rather than start from their most recent then work my way down, because I feel like I was confused about this band for way to long until I listened to the fire in our throats enough to finally get this group, while listening to this EP may have saved me a lot of time and confusion.

3 stars for this very important EP.

Report this review (#190287)
Posted Sunday, November 23, 2008 | Review Permalink

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