When rock bands decide to deal with instrumental music, they must show a special talent to make all songs equally intriguing and also to provide the listener with something interesting to hear from the first to the last track of the LP.
But when there is a band which manages to achieve the above, we may enjoy some of the most deep and exciting experiences in music: the pleasure to immerse ourselves into a world of sounds and harmony, without the centralizing and sometimes distracting presence of any singer.
This year proved to be relatively interesting for instrumental music and I’m presenting here four great albums that, with their natural differences, constitute the best examples of modern instrumental post rock and post metal. Enjoy!
Wang Wen, “Invisible City”
Wang Wen, from China, is not a newcomer in the rock scene. They have released many LPs since their formation in 2002 and they toured extensively in many Countries, often sharing the stage with the same legends of rock that they were – more or less consciously – imitating.
Invisible City is their seventh LP. The album is extremely intriguing and although it basically reproduces without any particular innovation a style of post-rock that was already affirmed by other bands in the past decades (like Mogwai), the LP still offers a valid selection of excellent instrumental songs. Perhaps one of the strongest aspects of the album is its capacity to provide different levels of listening: you can focus on the single track and appreciate all the details and nuances that are part of it, but you can also let this music play in the background while you’re busy with something else.
Wang Wen’s songs are delicate and profound at the same time, they have been composed and played to bring us a sense of serenity and peace. And this is a gift that only few albums may offer.
(Atmospheric Post Metal)
Instrumental rock is a challenging genre of music and, in general, you love it or hate it. But when you find yourself in front of such an intense and passionate work like Vortex, which is the last album by Toundra, even the most skeptical could be captured and impressed by the quality of the music composed and performed by this Spanish band.
Ther new record, which is the fifth of a solid and interesting discography, develops over long and articulated infrastructures of sounds and it’s full of atmospheric sections, changes of rhytms, along with many other elements that keep your attention awake, something which is not trivial when there is no voice to guide you along the music.
But what does makes this record special? Well, it’s basically the talent that these guys show on every song of the album when it’s time to create stunning cinematic passages and breathtaking “walls of sound”. There are passages in their songs when the band manages to capture completely the listener’s attention: whatever you are doing while listening to Vortex, there will be many of these moment where the music gets you away from the real world and you’ll find yourself projected into dark and gloomy caverns, or bright landscapes of light… at least until the sonic tension will be dissolved in a moment of relative tranquility and you will be again in condition to focus on your routines. Believe me, this is a really strong record from a band which has not yet achieved the fame they deserve.
Vortex is available on Spotify.
Long Distance Calling, “Boundless”
Post metal is definitely not a style of music where it’s easy for the bands to reach an audience wider than the customary fans of the genre, especially when the a group at some point of their career makes the radical choice to deal exclusively with instrumental music. Long Distance Calling, from Germany, won’t be the ones who will change this situation but at least, within the relatively exclusive family of instrumental post metal bands, they are among those who have decided to make their music gradually more accessible to a wider public, whilst maintaining a good balance between experimentation and enjoyability. Regarding the use of the voice, it must be said that for a certain period of time the band has also included a singer in the line-up; in their last album, however, they returned to the original structure without a vocalist.
Boundless, the new album from Long Distance Calling, has the merit of starting with a trio of sensational songs which have the effect of leaving you breathless. Their music embeds impressive power but contained in a frame of beauty and delicacy, creating an atmosphere of continuous suspense in preparation for those sonic explosions that inevitably and periodically arrive to shake up the songs. This doesn’t seem any big difference from the the typical canons of post metal, and in fact the structure of the songs doesn’t deviate too much from the norm. What’s absolutely different in Boundless is the incredible smoothness that we have between the various sections of each songs and also the beauty of the melodies and the riffs that we find in the music, which is of first quality.
The album is available for streaming on Spotify.
Night Verses, “From the Gallery of Sleep”
(Post Hardcore / Post Metal)
On September 2017, to be precise, American band Night Verses announced that vocalist Douglas Robinson had left the formation. But instead of starting the research for a new singer, one who could demonstrate to able to adapt to the particular and eclectic style of the group, the remaining three members established that they would continue their activity as an instrumental trio, without any singer. They were in fact convinced that their music could speak even without words, and based upon the quality of their most recent release it’s possible to say that the band reached their goal. Moreover, the transition from a conventional post-hardcore quartet to a trio of progressive and post metal artists has taken place in an absolutely natural way, and the results of such evolution go far beyond what we could imagine at the moment of the announcement of the new album.
Listening to Night Verses’ new LP, named From the Gallery of Sleep, it’s basically like being in a position to appreciate a landscape without any single element that captures all of your attention: you can enjoy all the individual details of the scene, the chromatic differences, the nuances, and in addition every time you go back to the same spot you may enjoy a different experience from the one you had before. And now that we’re approaching the end of 2018 we can say that From the Gallery of Sleep is really one of the most beautiful records of instrumental music that has been released in the recent years. What is certain, however, as something that we perceive as early as the first minutes of listening, is how
The genres-bending music style that is intepreted by Night Verses in their new album may thus appear – at first sight – as the same mix of progressive rock and post-metal that the band consolidated and refined since their debut LP, six years ago. The characteristic elements of their sound are all present on the new album: the rapid palm-muting sweeps and the heavy textures of sounds created by guitarist Nick DePirro, the incredible polyrhythmic structures – sometimes at the limit of the human immagination – created by the virtuoso drummer Aric Improta, and the muscular and hypnotic basslines fired relentlessy by Reilly Herrera. But what makes it all unique and special is the fluidity through which all of these elements blend together.
From the Gallery of Sleep is available on Bandcamp and it can be streamed also from Spotify.