Friday 15 May 2020

Old Soul - Natures Arms Encircle All

Labels: Self-Released/Ancient Injury Records/Dingleberry Records/IFB Records/Maniyax Records/Zegema Beach Records
Formats: CD/Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 07-Aug-2011 (CD/Digital Self-release)/04 Nov 2014 (Vinyl release)


1. Ocean
2. Triton
3. Orbit
4. Shallows

After what seems like an age, I'm back with another ZBR roster review. I'm persisting with it because I enjoy it and I enjoy music. I first became aware of US band Old Soul when they released Tidal Lock, thanks to UK label Dog Knights Productions, who were one of five labels involved in the vinyl pressing. I picked up a copy of Natures Arms Encircle All when I ordered a load of records directly from ZBR. Old Soul foamed in 2010 and since then the six-piece have released three albums, an EP and three split records. 

Never have I heard a record with such a beautifully placed emo/screamo beginning. I mean that in the nicest way possible, as the child’s spoken-word that adorns opener ‘Ocean’ is perfect. So to is the clean guitar that lends it’s atmosphere to the space in between that spoken-word and the dissonant sludge-like verse that follows. Old Soul are not a chaotic band by any means. They prefer to paint pictures with clear musicality and even when they launch into what they call ‘black trip dreamo’, they’re still on the right page. ’Triton’ continues where ‘Ocean’ left off. At first it’s more of an archetypal screamo song but nothing is truly that way on this record and before long the blackened instrumentation and atmosphere is heightening your senses, while wrapping it’s arms gently around you. 

I love the way that all of the songs on here flow, continuing where the previous one had left off. ‘Orbit’ is more angular in places and the full band has more room to play here. They unleash something that’s both fast in tempo and engaging in design. It’s added running time means they can be more expressive and it works. If you’re a sucker for longer closing songs on records, ’Shallows’ is the one you’ll lose yourself in. It’s a mix of all kinds of emotions and genres, albeit heavy ones. Old Soul do come from a darker direction but it doesn’t overpower their post-hardcore/metal sound and in fact it makes it better. The quality of the recording is amazing as well, considering Natures Arms Encircle All was Old Soul’s first release. 

The LP came in a wraparound card sleeve containing a printed inner sleeve, poster/lyric insert and the record itself was pressed on brown/grey merge coloured vinyl (though I think colours do vary). It was also self-released by the band on CD. Both the physical release and the music contained on it are a thing of beauty. Grab a copy if you still can.

You can stream and purchase the album digitally from Old Soul below:-

As for physical copies, Zegema Beach Records is the only releasing label that still has copies (as far as I can tell from my research):-

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