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SPIDERLAND

Slint

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Slint Spiderland album cover
4.11 | 116 ratings | 21 reviews | 49% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1991

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Breadcrumb Trail (5:55)
2. Nosferatu Man (5:34)
3. Don, Aman (6:28)
4. Washer (8:50)
5. For Dinner... (5:05)
6. Good Morning, Captain (7:39)

Total Time: 39:31

Bonus DVD from 2014 SE :
DVD-1 Breadcrumb Trail (93:42)
DVD-2 The Quarry (5:02)

Line-up / Musicians

- Brian McMahan / guitar, vocals
- David Pajo / guitar
- Todd Brashear / bass
- Britt Walford / drums, vocals, guitar (3)

Releases information

Artwork: Will Oldham (photo)

LP Touch And Go ‎- T&GLP64 (1991, US)
LP Touch And Go ‎- T&G lp#64 (2004, US)

CD Touch And Go ‎- T&G lp # 64 CD (1991, US)
CD Touch And Go ‎- T&G lp # 64 CD (2011, US)
CD + DVD Touch And Go ‎- TG364CD (2014, US) Remastered by Robert Weston with a bonus DVD including a documentary about Slint and the making of Spiderland directed by Lance Bangs

Thanks to Bryan for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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SLINT Spiderland ratings distribution


4.11
(116 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(49%)
49%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(27%)
27%
Good, but non-essential (17%)
17%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

SLINT Spiderland reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TRoTZ
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Spiderland is one of the most acclaimed underground albuns of the 90's. It is considered by the critics as THE FIRST TRUE POST-ROCK ALBUM, which opened doors to a great progression in music, reinventing rock without leaving its main ideas behind. The great merit of the band was the creation of a constellation of minimalistic incursions while transmitting several kinds of depressive feelings at their magnificiency. Brian McMahan's voice varied between grunge-like screams, delicate whispering and (more frequent) narrating voice, helping to create that sublime deep effect. In fact, the album is very intense, sometimes seeming to reach the almost-suicidal state of depression. There are even rumours saying that some of the band's members had to be ocasionally institutionalized during the album sessions.

The album flows as if Brian McMahan was narrating a story whose final we can guess it is not going to be happy. It contains all the disturbed aspects of adolescent existence, functioning almost as a Freud trip to their cores, as the album has a very intimistic approach and the band members were simple kids (!) at the time. The first two tracks are the less depressive of the badge. Guitar interplay distortion in the opener track creates a strange and original effect. The album flows in a crescendo pain to its cathartic final. Indeed, the last track, "Good Morning Captain" is the album at its peak, their most known track, dealing with the loss of all of our friends in a terrible event, in a soft age. The combination of delicate minimalistic double-guitar aproach with the disturbing narration recreate perfectely such ambience, until the final explosion, the feeled scream "I'm in hell, i'm in hell, I miss you...". "Don, Aman" deals with the conscience of difference in a world of copied patterns and the terrible effects it may have to a self-questioning young man. In "Washer" the band creates a very depressive atmosphere with the subtle guitar lines, and it functions as a goodbye, taking epic contourns, as the author knew the inevitableness of the end, the terrible fate he could not avoid.

An historical album. It may be hard to believe how a group of 4 kids had such a visionary construction of rock, opening doors to bands like GY!BE, Explosions in the Sky, Tortoise, well, all the post-rock scene. An answer that certainly lies between the disturbed adolescent psychism.

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I had hard times trying to find this album. Most Prog sources weren’t aware of it, and finally I got it (on CD, I mean; I already had a mp3 copy ;) ) from a friend of mine who’s into Alternative and Grunge. Not far from true, to be honest. In few words, imagine Kurt Cobain’s NIRVANA goes Post-Rock. Few quirky signatures, but most of time it sounds like an addict’s lullaby. NIRVANA even had a song of that kind – “Gallons of Rubbing Alcohol…”, don’t remember the full name. You may confuse that track with SLINT’s one. I like NIRVANA still, though days of my childhood when I thought I was a punk, are away now. The thing is that SLINT didn’t step over my expectations – I got exactly what I thought of them. A bit disappointing experience, but worthy of checking, if you’re into Grunge or just wonder, how Post-Rock has begun.
Review by Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I might never have heard of this acclaimed but now defunct Kentucky quartet if they weren't featured here at Prog Archives. But after absorbing all the hype about the "unparalleled impact" of this supposed proto-Post Rock/Math Rock masterpiece, listening to the actual album was, quite frankly, an underwhelming experience. But then again, perhaps that's exactly what the band had in mind.

The music itself is often haunting in a spare, stripped-down sort of way. But if this is Math Rock, it's more on the level of a grade school primer, with time signatures stretching to odd meters of five or seven but never to anything more complicated (in other words: Henry Cow, they ain't).

Instead, it's the austere anti-Prog simplicity that makes the album so appealing, sounding like an impeccably produced garage band from backwoods Appalachia rehearsing on a dreary late autumn afternoon. The slowly strummed guitars erupt only occasionally onto fuzzed-out feedback, and the tentative vocals are typically heard in half-muttered spoken-word narratives, so quietly miked it's difficult to catch the actual words.

The album was released in 1991, and the band broke up soon afterward. No surprise there: the stark minimalism of their monochrome style was never very durable, and in the 40-some minutes of this one album the group all but exhausted its entire musical vocabulary.

Still, give them credit for being ahead of their time. The half dozen songs here evoke an almost palpable mood of inertia and melancholy better suited to our own collapsing 21st century economy, making the album the perfect soundtrack for times of quiet desperation.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars Calling this the album the backbone of the post rock-movement wouldn't be enough since Spiderland has much more to offer than just the blueprint. Instead it actually creates the first original masterpiece of the genre, at least if we don't count Talk Talk's Spirit Of Eden.

I'm probably one of the few people who actually feels underwhelmed by Good Morning, Captain, but that's only in comparison to the other highlights! Nosferatu Man sounds like a product of the Grunge-era, but it still manages to surpass its genre limitations and create something that has not been done before. Just the mere fact that this track has a groove puts it over most material that the Seattle based bands could offer at the time. The definite stand-out track for me here is Washer which is a truly gorgeous composition. The track offers a pretty simple development pattern, but yet there is so power embedded into this 9 minute performance. If you have any doubts about purchasing the whole album then you can at least do yourself a favor by purchasing this one track off a digital download website of your choice.

This album is essential for fans of post-rock and an excellent addition to any rock music collection!

***** star songs: Nosferatu Man (5:34) Washer (8:50)

**** star songs: Breadcrumb Trail (5:55) Don, Aman (6:28) For Dinner... (5:05) Good Morning, Captain (7:39)

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
2 stars Funny note for the starters, "Slint" means "to produce saliva" in Czech, so it's rather hard not to laugh when hearing this music. Not that it matters at all. Next thing that is there (just for the record) is that I don't like spiders. And this music is creepy one, same as them. Maybe one of the first Post-Rock efforts and I appreciate that. But this music is so uninteresting. Every P-R band after this one does it better, not so terribly. There's something in their sound that I can't simply stand and makes me nauseous and nervous, checking the time all the time. And it sounds the same all the time. The same applies to a lot of Post-Rock albums too, but it's not so prominent. This music is dead and void, like long forgotten carcass. Or tomb.

2(+), but remember, there's historical value in this release.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars The critically acclaimed mother of all things post-rock does indeed seem to be the first successor to Talk Talk's later albums that layed down the foundation for the subgenre of rock to blossom although it was clearly heavily influenced by other dronological bands like The Velvet Underground who had already tapped into the sound in the 60s. The band's 2nd album SPIDERLAND went virtually unnoticed at the time and the band would break up soon after its release, yet for those who heard it they were truly inspired and through sheer influence alone this album has gained a steadily growing popularity in the underground world since its release.

It is interesting to hear just which parts influenced different post-rock acts that followed. The opener "Breadcrumb Trail" and its Godspeed! You Black Emperor narrations and the slower songs being heavily influential for Toby Driver's Maudlin Of The Well and Kayo Dot projects. Although I don't love this album as much as others simply because I find the vocals a bit weak in the screaming department and way too much talking instead of some kind of singing, I do recognize this as the landmark historically important album for what it is and I do kinda like the music which is mostly a punkish dissonance with a reggae kind of syncopation for a lot of the more upbeat tracks whilst the slower tracks are pure ambient riffing and atmospheric generators. Worth having alone for the mark it's made on the musical world but I can't say I enjoy listening to this on a regular basis. 3.5 rounded down

Review by LearsFool
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I think this album is one of the ultimate artistic reflections of pain and darkness and decay, of both the band themselves, suffering through grueling recording sessions that drove them to the point of nervous breakdown, and of the environment that the band was in, the dirty and dying sides of Louisville. It is not just the second genesis of post rock, but in emotion and genre blending and art-from-adversity a true masterpiece and in its genre as unique a document as Talk Talk's two post defining albums.

"Tweez" in '89 showed a promising post-hardcore band through their fierce early math punk, but they suddenly decided to slow things down, hold fury back, and sprawl in a way never done before. They took an important early thread of the aptly named slowcore movement, that of a lethargic rock band who wasn't afraid to suddenly catapult into pitch and rage (see also Codeine's classic "Frigid Stars LP"), and did two now legendary things with this style and formula: one was to contort the slow side into something drawn out and more textural than riffy, perhaps also a corruption of "Spirit of Eden"'s guitar lines; and using what was left in them of their hardcore math for the rage moments. This of course proved doubly genre defining and makes for a depressedly beautiful and smashing record. Especially vital to this new form was also how sheerly angular it was, making everything about it in at least some small way connected to math with it's irregular time signatures in a way lost on most later post, similar to them also leaving Talk Talk's fusion side behind.

In spite of minimal takes during the sessions, the whole process proved brutal, refreshing as it was to the band themselves to hear their new sound, likely encouraging the particular atmosphere of the tracks. As well, due to this and not having written any lyrics beforehand, during the original compositional process, the band quickly threw together some suitably dark lyrics in the studio that were mainly spoken word; this proved the final piece of the puzzle, the last element to pull everything together, to make tracks like "Breadcrumb Trail" so immediately gripping and undeniably brilliant. The result is massively influential and the ultimate soundtrack to desolate countrysides and dying cities, a brilliantly formed and excellently played magnum opus.

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4.5 stars. If you google the best Post-Rock albums of all time you will see this album cover over and over of these teenagers up to their necks in water looking quite happy. A young band out of Kentucky these four youths created something very special and influential in 1991. The cover is a little misleading as we get a lot of darkness, melancholy and anger here. Lots of spoken words like narration almost with some yelling and screaming as well. This is Post-Rock and why they are in Prog-Related here makes no sense.

"Breadcrumb Trail" is a great opener with that picked guitar and drums to start as spoken words join in. It kicks in hard before 1 1/2 minutes as passionate vocals join in almost yelling or shouting the words. I like those high pitched guitar leads too. More spoken words at 2 1/2 minutes then back to the passionate vocals before 3 minutes as contrasts continue. A calm after 4 minutes with strummed guitar and atmosphere. Some nice guitar expressions follow then picked guitar and spoken vocals like the start which continues to the end.

"Nosferatu Man" opens with bass and a beat as high pitched guitar comes and goes over top. Spoken words join in but soon he's shouting a minute in with a heavy sound. More spoken words then back to that opening bit as themes are repeated. Some extended riffing from before 3 1/2 minutes to almost 5 minutes in. "Don, Aman" opens with the words "Don stepped outside..." then some serious sounding strummed guitar takes over. Barely audible spoken words return almost mumbling. A change 2 minutes in as fast paced guitar melodies take over. The distant spoken words are back then another guitar kicks in just before 4 1/2 minutes ripping it up. It steps aside then it all slows right down.

"Washer" is the longest track at almost 9 minutes. Faint guitar to start then it turns fuller with picked guitar, bass and drums. Laid back and melancholic here. Relaxed vocals after a minute as it settles right down as contrasts continue. A sad song. It kicks in with power just before 7 minutes with vocals. Love that guitar but it doesn't last long. "For Dinner..." is an instrumental that is deep sounding and dark. This is laid back as it ebbs and flows.

"Good Morning, Captain" along with the opener are my favourites. A lone picked guitar to start is joined by drums and bass quickly. Catchy stuff as spoken words join in as well. It turns powerful with distorted guitar 2 minutes in but it stops quickly. Another powerful outburst arrives before 4 minutes as we get a longer taste this time, then it happpens again after 6 minutes joined by emotional vocals as it stays powerful. So good!

Influential yes, but also a very good album. I've had this one cranked all week.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
5 stars The album Spiderland from Slint is widely credited for being the album that started the post-rock/math-rock movement. Released in 1991, it was the product of 4 mostly unknown musicians in an unknown band. With only one other album to their name, these 4 unassuming musicians ended up creating a movement that is still alive and well today. But, at the time, Spiderland did not do so well upon release, and didn't receive its notoriety until long after the band split up.

Already, Slint was having problems. Their debut release was pretty much unknown and their bass guitarist had left. The members of the band had all started going to college, and only got together sporadically and eventually more often through the summer of 1990. There are even stories that members of the band were institutionalized during the completion of the album. However, one thing was sure, the band wanted their album to sound markedly different from their first album. They tried various methods of recording, including just playing a repetitive guitar, bass, drum pattern and then adding special effects, vocals and embellishments after. In the end, the special effects were completely left off of the album, which was probably a good move. But, the band definitely paid the price as they worked hard on it even at the peril of their sanity.

The finished product ended up with what was at that time a unique sound with angular guitar patterns, unique uses of dynamics, irregular meters and rhythms and vocals that alternated between mumbling spoken word passages and hysterical shouting, but all with narrative style. The album ended up with 6 tracks and a fairly short run time of a little over 30 minutes. But, what a long-lasting punch it delivered.

It all starts off with 'Breadcrumb Trail' which is about a day at a carnival with a fortune teller. It features both clean guitar passages and dissonant, screeching sections. The sound of the music is fairly familiar to most people now as a post rock heaviness, but back in the day, it was a unique sound. Verses are soft with spoken word while the choruses are heavy, noisy and the vocals more frantic. The guitar work seems to be inspired by King Crimson. The music really does seem inspired, even all these years later, and since there were no 'rules' so to speak for post rock, it seems quite inventive even now. 'Nosferatu Man' is inspired by the silent film version of 'Nosferatu'. The beat is more regular, but the high screeching notes of the guitar begin right off the bat this time even with the mumbling spoken word vocals. The percussion uses less cymbal crashing and more snare and tom-toms. The chorus features chunky riffs giving it a nice heavy feel. There is a long instrumental section on the last half of the track that sees the band develop the music further adding additional texturing which would be a practice used by many future post-rock bands.

'Don, Aman' begins mysteriously and more minimal with spoken word and simple guitar. The lyrics deal with the thoughts of a man before, during and after a visit to a bar. The quietness of the vocal delivery invokes the man's inner thoughts. The guitar picks up the pace by strumming a chord sequence and the vocals come back in, still mostly whispered. The volume suddenly increases when another louder guitar comes in for a short time, but then it backs off again and more hushed vocalization. 'Washer' starts off barely discernable, but the full band soon comes in with a slow crawling pattern and then normal, yet soft singing vocals. The music slowly builds, becoming less ambient and more melodic. The music develops and then backs off several times, but each time, it slowly gets more intense but at other times gets quite minimal. Finally, well into the sixth minute, it gets suddenly louder and heavy with intense guitar layering for a short time, and then it backs off again before concluding.

'For Dinner'' is an all instrumental track. It is mostly quite minimal with occasional outbursts of throbbing guitar, but always in a swelling manner, not abruptly. Tension builds and then releases throughout the track. 'Good Morning, Captain' is much more forward in it's sound with a solid beat and dissonant guitar patterns, very similar to a Velvet Underground vibe. This song is a tribute to 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'. The music is much tighter than the last few tracks, with a definite solidity which increases in volume and intensity in sudden dynamic outbursts. The spoken word vocals rise above the heavy layers underlining the importance of the lyrical content of the track. During the recording of the track, vocalist McMahan ended up getting sick because of his having to shout over the guitars.

The iTunes edition of this album has an additional track with a duration of about 15 minutes, but is simply just field recordings taken at the quarry where the picture used for the album cover was taken.

The first and last tracks of this album are the best, but are even best appreciated by hearing the entire album together. Overall, it becomes quite an essential recording, important to progressive and rock music lovers because of its influence that it would have in the creation of a new sub-genre. I call it a definite masterpiece with its use of dynamics and the musicianship involved, the amount of restraint and the sacrifice on the band to record the album. Yes, they had their KC and VU influences, but they ended up making a new invention with this combination that worked well. Unfortunately, the band ended up breaking up only to return for occasional gigs after they became more notorious, but the band members all went their separate ways, but continuing to have quiet influence in bands like 'Tortoise', 'King Kong' and 'The Breeders' among others and having influence on the sound of bands like 'Godspeed You! Black Emperor', 'Isis', 'Dinosaur Jr.', 'Explosions in the Sky', and 'Mogwai'. So, yeah, that pretty much makes the album essential.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Like marching through windy, dread steppes: 5/10 If SPIDERLAND is the mother of all post-rock, then perhaps it is safe to assume the offsprings are more accomplished than their progenitors. The bands inspired by SLINT were able to deliver much more memorable post-rock moments, and due to that, SP ... (read more)

Report this review (#1780939) | Posted by Luqueasaur | Monday, September 11, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I'm a bit surprised to see Slint categorised as "Prog Related" rather than "Post-Rock/Math Rock" since Spiderland is commonly recognised as being essential to the foundations of both genres. It'd be a bit like categorising the Moody Blues as prog-related - sure, they may not be as pure an example of ... (read more)

Report this review (#1353243) | Posted by CassandraLeo | Sunday, January 25, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A classic. This album is a freakin' classic. How four young students did this masterpiece ? I can't answer to this question. Nobody. But everybody agree that the album is one of the first (and best) album of post-rock, that the album is one of the most powerful and disturbing albums ever, and that t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1331987) | Posted by floflo79 | Wednesday, December 31, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It can take me hours, if not days, to even prepare to listen to Spiderland. The emotional burden it places on the listener is almost unfair, and devastating. Every song is a succinct masterpiece unto itself; the bleak, shadowy space each creates is a voluminous cavern into which the air is s ... (read more)

Report this review (#920942) | Posted by coasterzombie | Thursday, February 28, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Whenever I think about who invented post-rock, two bands come to mind. Talk Talk, known much better as a synth-pop band when they miraculously started making the exact opposite of the music they were known for with their Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock released, is one of those bands. The ot ... (read more)

Report this review (#867586) | Posted by DisgruntledPorcupine | Tuesday, November 27, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Unlike many, I don't consider "Spiderland" post rock, but I do consider it probably the most influential album on the genre. Sort of like Velvet Underground's first album is to Punk. See this album does in fact "Rock" at times, helping to make it the classic it is. The album is name checked ... (read more)

Report this review (#273756) | Posted by akajazzman | Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Slint is one of the few bands that is depressingly obscure. SPIDERLAND is almost like THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO of the 1990's. Few people bought it, but it still had a wide ranging influence on experimental rock throughout the '90s and into this century. Slint really sound like NOBODY else in ... (read more)

Report this review (#214737) | Posted by volta3 | Sunday, May 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Pushing the boundaries of rock music without resorting to non-rock instrumentation and classical or jazzy influences. That's post-rock at is purest. This is what started it all. The humongous list of brilliant bands that would never have existed if it weren't for Slint is reason enough to cherish ... (read more)

Report this review (#201217) | Posted by Cayafas | Saturday, January 31, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Where it all started... Slint became famous only years after their split up, but finally they have been recognized as the founders of the post-rock movement, that had his true development from 2000 to now. "Spiderland" is not easy to listen, but it is still really original and introspective. Do ... (read more)

Report this review (#146773) | Posted by paloz | Wednesday, October 24, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Although very overlooked when they made this record, it's the most influential record for the post-rock genre ever. It's namely one of, if not the first post-rock record ever. But nevermind the album's influence and its cult status! Is the music actually good and is the album actually worthy o ... (read more)

Report this review (#89399) | Posted by Jochem | Sunday, September 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It was about time that this band was registered on this site. With one of the sub-genres being post-rock, these guys are the founders of post-rock. And this album is the most essential post-rock album on the planet.Every one of the six songs on here is just pure brilliance, with the absolute c ... (read more)

Report this review (#87821) | Posted by Barry | Monday, August 21, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Spiderland is one of those cds which you like and yet you don't know why! I am really into prog and post-rock and I deeply enjoy bands like Tortoise and even The For Carnation. This cd has some punkish tracks that don't really amuse me but it also has tracks that I like to think of as master p ... (read more)

Report this review (#87810) | Posted by | Monday, August 21, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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