Monday, 2 January 2012

Bleaklow - The Sunless Country


Bleaklow contacted me a while ago about reviewing this, their one track EP, which was a teaser to the EP of the same name. Unfortunately, it was around the time when other things took over, and I was unable to review it, but now is different and I've finally got round to writing about some of the older stuff I've been sent.

For those of you who don't know, Bleaklow are a Sheffield based post-metal band, who take their influences from similar bands like Pelican and Russian Circles. They've been around for a short time, but have already released a number of 2 split EP's with Naisian and The Ocean Fracture, their own EP The Sunless Country which the music I'm reviewing here precedes, and they've appeared on two compilations. All of which can be heard and purchased via their Bandcamp page.

So to this EP, which is one track and contains 2 parts of what has made up their EP of the same name. I'm not used to reviewing this type of metal, but having been listening to
a lot of more atmospheric stuff recently, I thought I'd give it a shot.

The track starts with a nice instrumental build up, before building to a heavier verse, witch is still very melodic. The music is built around the same riff up until almost the three minute mark, where Bleaklow start to build in feedback, different rhythmic patterns and instrumentation, including almost regimented drums sequences and Mastodon-esque riffs.

The heft of the bass is also heard within the mix of the track, which adds extra weight to proceedings. The music is really good and must be great to see and hear in a live setting. Bleaklow would fit in pretty well at festivals like Supersonic and Roadburn if given the chance and certainly inspire the listener with an interesting listening experience, instead of focusing on the somewhat overused quiet-loud-quiet dynamics that a lot bands use in this
genre.

This is a short example of the bands prowess and skill and shows people what they can expect from the full EP. The final versions of parts 1 and 2 can be heard on the full EP, which I've reviewed the rest of below.


The third part starts with wailing feedback before moving into a nice section of single plucked guitar and choral/string background effects. The band again layering instrumentation up as the track progresses to increase the musics impact and reach.
The sound that is created by the three piece is crisp and clear and each instrument is allowed it's own space within the mix. The way the band build into the heavier sections of the music is good, and when they settle down, they still play with a determination
and variety, so as not to let the music be forgotten in between these parts. I think it takes a lot of skill and understanding of the genre to be able to that and shows they are thinking beyond limitations and showing a more progressive view.

Part four shows the style of the band shining through, with more prominent lead guitar providing an uplifting focal point in the first section of the song. There are more nods to their influences at the mid point, with more Mastodon inspired riffing, which sound ace and because of the other instrumentation within the song, they don't sound they're just recycling riffs but actually using them as part of their subtle texture changes between movements.

The final part is more immediate in it's delivery, with heavier, crunching riffs and a bigger wall of sound. It's rounds off what has been an impressive release from Bleaklow. It's a very measured and assured EP, and the fact the physical copies that the band made, sold out within 90 minutes of going on sale, shows that they are already onto great things. Also, being another Yorkshire based band, it's another reason to discover them if you haven't already and provides us with another example of a band willing to push themselves and our scene forward.

I've posted a link to the Bandcamp page below, so you can listen to this EP and the other output from the band.



Also, make sure that you support them by visiting them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Bleaklow.

I haven't listened to much instrumental music since I started this blog, so have a slightly different outlook, but what I've heard from Bleaklow has made me appreciate it in a whole new light. I hope these guys have a great 2012, they deserve it!



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