Never abandon your post. Going postal. The Riffington Post. I have no shortage of article titles or “post” genre bands to talk about. Strap on your attention span and let’s get posty.
MOASE deliver some great doomy post rock/metal from Portugal. This instrumental band knows that experimentation is a requirement to stand out in this genre, since so many listeners need the added hook of vocals (often times, myself included). MOASE bring pretty some unique diversity to their genre by being able to combine atmospheric fuzz, smart usage of electronics, and even a little chiptune on the intro to “Carried”.
Even without these little add-ons to keep things interesting, Vertigo would be a very jammable record. Switching between Isis-tinged heavy grooves and calming post-rock, there’s hardly a stale moment on the album. The peak comes with album-closer “Movement”, where they take all the styles demonstrated so far and throw in a little extra speed and rhythmic complexity. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t come across all that much post metal so far, but I can confidently say that “Movement” is towards the top of my favorite “post” tracks this year.
Vertigo is a smashing success as a first LP for the band. If not maybe wholly original (I think they will draw a lot of Russian Circles comparisons), they at least have a distinct identity and know how to craft a song. As a staple of the genre, I can’t take off too many points for a some of the simplistic buildup sections, but that might be an area where they can assert themselves more and prove that they can stand out.
Third Island, an Irish trio, released their debut EP this summer containing just three very long songs. Their style of post-rock shoegaze brings upon a feeling of optimistic depression, a hazy but understanding state of being. My roots with shoegaze go back to 2006/2007 Jesu, who I hadn’t listened to in a few years, so the stark similarity in Dusk brought back some weird high school memories. The vocal lines are a soft speak-singing layer that nicely leads the slow grooving guitar and drums; however, I find that it only really works within certain vocal ranges and when it gets flat it ends up distracting more than complementing the moody instrumental work.
The first and third tracks on Dusk particularly stand out as a showcase of their potential songwriting talent. “It’s Moving” even opens like a Cult of Luna track, where a slow building intro uses an interesting electronic line to really elevate it to a new level. These guys definitely pass the proof-of-concept EP test, and I look forward to seeing what they can do on a full length. Pick up the EP on their bandcamp page for pocket change.
pg.lost – Versus – September 16 – Pelagic Records
I haven’t followed the instrumental post-rock scene for about seven years, but this band may send me back through a nostalgic phase. This is a just about as polished as a band can get in the genre. After one listen, they instantly joined label-mates God Is an Astronaut at the top of my post rock admiration. You can probably guess that Pelagic Records is a product of the guys behind The Ocean, and after looking at the rest of the bands the label supports, it’s a no brainer that pg.lost were picked up by that team. These songs provide instant gratification, which is rare in the post world where patience is rewarded. This album has far greater replay value than a lot of instrumental prog these days because the songs are constantly bold and there is nothing sacrificed for the sake of a sick solo. The songs are focused and clearly individually wrapped.
pg.lost’s keyboardist is also currently playing with Cult of Luna (surprise, also on Pelagic Records) which should give you some indication of how carefully, yet beautifully they use electronics for their hooks. Their previous album, Key, struggled to find a unique voice and it blended with countless other bands of the time, but it was still an improvement on their older material. With Versus, they took everything they knew how to do and made it exciting and very noteworthy. Stream the full album here.