Pelican, Russian Circles & Caspian

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Pretty much every band that falls into that so-called post-rock category is compared to bands such as Isis and Neurosis or Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky.  Russian Circles and Pelican are no exception.  But it would be a mistake to consider these newer bands to be copy cats and simply dismiss them.  While there is a definite influence by Isis and Neurosis, Pelican and Russian Circles break out from behind those influences to create there own identity and sound.

Pelican are a bit different in that their music has a pop sensibility to it.  This is not to say they are a pop band, by no means are they, but their music could be considered a bit more accessible to the masses.  Their music ranges from heavy metal to driving post-rock to progressive, but it is the layering of these textures that creates their powerful sound.

On their fourth full length release,” What We All Come to Need“, Pelican are at the pinnacle of their career.  They’ve taken everything they have built over the years and have refined it into a precise instrumental machine. While remaining firmly entrenched in metal, they bring more melody and even a prog sensibility to their music. Some have criticized the band for allowing these less than heavy elements into their music, but in reality, it has allowed the band and their music to grow. The band has also brought in a few friends this time, including Aaron Turner of Isis and Greg Anderson of Sunn O))), and to their credit, they do not overshadow the band, in fact they blend perfectly, adding additional depth and textures to the mix.

Russian Circles, while similar in style to Pelican, have their own, distinct sound.  The music is less “popish” and a little more repetitive, albeit more technical, it feels more thought out and precise, each move calculated and rehearsed to perfection.  The music flows between melodic, harmonic valleys and heavy, sludging peaks.  The mellower passages, particularly the ones that feature strings, create an emotional atmosphere that pulls you into the music and the heaver passages

 Caspian, on the other hand, don’t really bring much new to the table, but they still sound pretty good. Their sound is a mix of Red Sparrowes and Isis, with a little Pelican added to the mix. “Tertia” is a good record and the band is talented, but at this point, the record really fells like it could have been b-sides from an Isis or Red Sparrowes record. Don’t get me wrong, that is should not be considered an insult, it just means the band needs to find a voice of their own. With that said, I would still recommend picking up “Tertia.”

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~ by silentium1 on October 23, 2009.

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