We’re back! No new posts yesterday because I was celebrating “Two-sday” (2/22/22 or 22/2/22 depending on your local date formatting tradition) a little too hard.
Or to put it a different way, I found myself swamped with upwards of 70,000 email messages and about twelve hours of meetings (in just a nine-hour day, somehow) at work yesterday, which left very little time to think about anything else.
But like I said, we’re back! Today I have two different takes on post-metal to share with you, starting with an Israeli quartet’s second EP that came out late last year, and then we’ll check out the fourth full-length (and second as a six-piece band, following one I wrote about two years ago) by a Californian ensemble.
NŪR – Negative Transfer (Suicide Records, 15 October 2021)
Mountaineer – Giving Up the Ghost (Lifeforce Records, 25 February 2022)
Negative Transfer, with its three songs lasting not quite a quarter of an hour, certainly tilts more toward the metal side of the post-metal see-saw. NŪR (from the coastal city of Haifa) do provide plenty of twangy clean guitars here, and some small hints of spacey ambiance with the reverb that has been liberally applied (especially on the drums).
But mostly the tracks are piled with heavily distorted metallic basslines and power chords — as well as particularly harsh vocals, either huge roars that feel like a punch straight to the gut or vicious and venomous shouting…
With Giving Up the Ghost, we get just over twice as many tracks and just over twice the overall length. And we also find Oakland’s Mountaineer tipping that metaphorical playground equipment we mentioned earlier pretty far in the opposite direction, with predominantly jangly guitar sounds and harmonious clean singing, melodic sometimes in a post-hardcore or other times a shoegazey kind of way.
Of course, there’s always that balance between the light side and the dark side, and here is no exception; epic crescendos, ponderously doomy chords, and harsh vocals abound. Except in the opening and closing tracks — “The Ghost” and “Giving Up” (yes, in that order) which are gentle and atmosphere-establishing bookend pieces, each only a minute or so in length, but the latter of which seamlessly flows back into the former, for a continual, ouroboric listening experience.
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