Thursday 13 April 2017

Cranial - Dark Towers/Bright Lights


1. Dark
2. Towers
3. Bright
4. Lights

I can't believe it's already mid-April and I still feel like I'm way behind musically. Granted I have got the latest Pallbearer and Mastodon records (both are brilliant) and I've also got recent Heaven In Her Arms double LP, that I'm still yet to listen to properly. That leads me on to today's review, as the HIHA record was released by Moment Of Collapse Records (along with Dog Knights Productions) and Moment Of Collapse has also released this LP (and CD) by German band Cranial. It was released digitally, on CD and vinyl the end of January (with a limited tape release via US label Hand Of Death Records). It features four post-metal/sludge tracks and has already received plenty of very positive press. 

It’s the start of the Easter break and I couldn’t be happier right now, as it means I should be able to catch up on some writing. I’m beginning with the new record from German post-metal/sludge band Cranial, who definitely sound more metal than post on album opener Dark. Their heavier approach serves them well as the barrage of riffs and low bellows take hold. It’s certainly good to hear the darker more atmospheric side of metal coming to the fore again. The mainly instrumental journey that you’re taken on is a psychedelic one, before it gets heavier of course! There’s more to “Dark Towers/Bright Lights” that metal. Cranial makes use of unnerving noise and glitchy electronic samples to takes their sound in a much darker direction. Towers is a prime example of this as the electronics I speak of lead to massive riffs and dissonant soundscapes. At times Cranial are like a slower Full Of Hell and at other times I can’t even put my finger on who they sound like. Maybe that’s a good thing though, as on their own merit they’re bloody terrifying and their 10+ minute songs are all the better for it. The screeching feedback during the second half of Towers will attest to that. You’d expect that with a song called Bright, that the mood of the record would become more upbeat. You’d be wrong! It’s just as claustrophobic and biting as the first half was but that’s fine with me. in fact Bright is a lot more angular. Fourth and final song Lights takes one last swipe at your senses with a mixture of trippy electronics and head-smashing heaviness. It’s the skill of Cranial as a band that makes “Dark Towers/Bright Lights” such an engaging and exciting listen. Granted it’s not an easy one but then who cares for easy. Cranial challenge you, torture you and in the end save you. This album cleanses you. What a wonderful way to begin the holiday. 

Stream it and purchase it digitally here:-

CD/Vinyl copies can be purchased from Moment Of Collapse Records here -

Tapes are available from Hand Of Death Records/Error Records here -

Cranial Facebook -
Moment Of Collapse Records Facebook -
Hand Of Death Records Facebook -
Error Records Facebook -

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