Open Language Vol. II is a free compilation of post rock bands, made by ‘A Thousand Arms’. The compilation is in two parts, side A and side B, where side A was focused on US bands, side B is focused on the rest of the world. I already reviewed Side A here, so go check that out as well.
I really enjoyed Side A, so looking forward to listen through side B, and here’s my 5 cents on every song.
I’m just shortly giving an immediate thought on each track and whether it’s something I would wish to dive further into. Do take a listen for yourself, it’s pretty decent stuff all of it.
I’ve rated them each with up to 5 and a if it’s really top quality.
But this is just my opinion, go listen yourself.
Sound Architects -Amihan
First song on the compilation comes from Sound Architects, a band from the phillipines. Always exciting what song will open an album, and specially on a compilation where competition is hard. The band describe their genre as post-metal, doom, doom gaze. I like that.
And they’re off with a pretty convincing start. Slow beats, heavy vivid doom doomy chords. 2 Minutes in and the song changes in mood to something I would best describe as very This Will Destroy You inspired. Sounds great. Specially when electronic drums slowly kick in after a while, with swelling guitars on top.
This is right down my alley. Then all kicks in with melodic guitar and more doomy chords, this is the doom gaze part I guess, and very precise description. The building guitars just gets better and better as this part of the song progress.
A word on the production. It is a bit overdriven in general, sounds kind of good, but if this had a caring production hand doing magic, this music could be even more engaging.
The compilations starts off extremely high quality. Hoping for the rest of the compilation to match. This one is a keeper for sure. Gonna check out more of this band.
Glasgow Coma Scale – Southern Crosses
Next up is a three piece from Frankfurt, Germany, having earlier released stuff on might Fluttery Records, playing post-rock/post-metal.
What a haunting and memorable guitar melody that just keeps the listener tied to the speakers on this one. It’s very post-rock but also with some electronic elements. It sounds really good in my opinion.
Can’t find so much post-metal in this though. I think it has lot of post-rock and even some math, but the electronics makes me think a bit off more electro oriented indie bands as well. The song has by all means woken up my curiosity for the rest of the music released by Glasgow Coma Scale. This one is also a keeper.
Run Golden Boys – Aurum
Run Golden Boys is a band from Mexico, we really do travel the world on this compilation. Their own description says post-rock, math, latin, percussive.
And it definitely starts off like that, I am already thinking salsa. And is that a pan flute or what. This is kind of interesting. Pretty good melodies, but I am having a little hard time with the salsa feeling of it all, that’s not really working out for me.
It’s a fresh and different take on post-rock/math-rock, it really is and if you like more rhythmic stuff this is worth a listen. It’s just not for me.
NOIR|REVA – Nuance
And back to Germany, this time Koblenz, for some true post-rock 🙂 , And it is ! .
Starting off with classic drilling and noisy guitars, before diving down into slow delay melodies spinning in and out of themselves.
Very cool sounding and impressive soundscape. At around 4 minutes in, we are presented with a drum/bass run, that in my ears sound a bit awkward. It’s rescued when the guitars kick in though. The guitars in general sound good, but in quiet parts there’s a bit too much of the same length echo sound. It makes it somewhat repetitive in a bad way.
A word on production, I think the kick drums is almost annoyingly clicky, but the rest sounds really good.
Antethic – Modulor
Here comes Antethic from Russia. A three piece, playing around with samples, electronics and more classic post-rock sounds.
The song begins with ethereal synths and chimes, this is done very well. When drums join in, it’s with some cool echoing effects, making the song really interesting. It’s very open and wide sounding. Anthetic is all about cinematic, beautiful and powerful music, leveraged by electronics and far field echoing guitars. This is really dream music and sounds very good in my ears.
The quiet parts are just as good as the more complex main parts of the song. At some parts there’s even some references to post-metal I think.
This is a keeper, I am gonna check out more of this band.
Closet Disco Queen – Delicieux
What to expect, when you are about to listen to band called Closet Disco Queen. Is it in fact some disco post rock or what’s gonna happen.
Here we have a duo from schwitzerland and I can see the have had Magnus Lindberg in for production, that’s usually a good sign production wise, he’s awesome ( Magnus is co-drummer in swedish post-metal act Cult Of Luna ).
So what do we have here ?
Opening with extreme tremolo guitar, the song starts off very dusty and sounding like a twisted intro to a sergio leone movie. Drums are great, sounds awesome !!! . And then it kicks in, holy shit. At 1:30 the music really starts with cool riffs and even more awesome drums. This is highly effective and groovy as hell. Now for some reason the band name makes sense. Very convincing and memorable. This is definitely not post rock, it’s way more dirty ol’ rock riffs with attitude.
And need I say, production is totally spot on, damn it sounds good. I love this music, I am gonna check out more of this band. And that’s it EP and Album on vinyl ordered on bandcamp, looking forward to give them a spin.
Celestial Wolves – Aeolist, Descend!
So here’s the only band I knew before listening to this compilation. Celestial Wolves is a post-rock band from belgium. Some of the members of this band is also involved in the Dunk! Europe festival.
The longest track on the album so far.
It’s very classic post-rock with loads of white spread guitars, and also some chucking post-metal like guitars as well. The songs builds up quite well, with more and more guitars kicking in all the time, before the cooldown to more atmospheric parts. The song is really majestic.
Black Sails For Red Seas – Silfra
Is this the newest addition to Assasins Creed series or is it series 3 of an HBO series. No, it’s a canadian post-metal, blackgaze goth band, according to the genre description on bandcamp.
I do like this crossover thing, where black metal and shoe gaze meets. This one is really a gothic, evil masterpiece, the way it opens up dark and embracing.
Guitars are earripping phantasms from the nether planes of the earth. On top of this, small melodies floats on top, giving a fantastic mood and surplus.
In the mid of the song, it really changes in mood and some of the shoe gaze inspirations really kick in. Indeed very enjoyable to listen to. The song kind of changes mood from the darkness in the beginning to a beautiful uplifting ending, filled with ethereal sounds on top, almost sounding a bit like some of M83’s bright moments.
Black Sails For Red Seas is a new star in the universe of blackgaze. I am for sure gonna check out this band more
Faltre – Riven
From Giessen, Germany rises an inferno out of my speakers.
Blastbeats with evil noisy guitars, blending perfectly with awesome bass sounds. This is most effective.
When the song changes to a more post-metal post-hardcore sound after a minute and a half, it’s really working out great. What I didn’t expect was the direction the song took after that. To a more clean sounding dissonant piece. I love that, almost Sonic Youth blending in with some math and post-metal stuff and it really just continues getting better and better as the song progress.
More and more Math-rock blends in and the song never stops to amaze. Then around 5 minutes in we have the post-rock really kicking in with wide screaming drilling guitars. Somehow this band also reminds me a bit of Russian Circles and that’s a big cadeau in my book.
Think I am going to have to order their 2xLP. This is very much, a band, I’m gonna listen to more.
A word on the production. This is totally in your face punchy mixed and mastered, it suits the song perfectly
Astralia – Exhale
And now for something completely different, from the song before.
A soothing and enigmatic rise of waving, washing, cleansing and astral sounds. A long build up of proportions seldom heard.
This is totally over the top huge spheres of sound, surrounding the listener from start to end. Everything is so beautifully quiet in the beginning and just gets more and more intense, just to fall apart halfway through. And it’s here, you will come together as one with the stars of the dusky night. This is music for imagination and self exploration.
Astralia is a post-rock band from spain, and post-rock it definitely is, but in the better end of the spectre. Astralia is truly astral. Gonna check out more of this band.
We Stood Like Kings – Night Owl
This band I know by name, but I must admit I never listened to them before, so this is a good opportunity to check these guys out.
And why??? haven’t I listened to this before.
This is so beautiful and detailed. Piano mingling with sound effects, tiny guitars and excellent drums.
When the song really gets started and the snare fills in as a tight guideline to the fine tunes that overwhelms the sound it all comes together. Then at around 4 minutes in everything gets truly massive. In some way I think it’s very prog-rock rather than post-rock in this part. It’s really well played in can totally understand why this band has been performing at Dunk! Europe. I would really love to see this band live. They stand out from other bands, with the use of piano, and not just use of piano, but use of piano in a very imaginative way. This will be a band I’m gonna dive way more into.
City By The Sea – Chicago
One more german band.
Chicago starts off very ambient, with only faint synths and simple quiet guitar melody.
After a while a bright guitar joins in on the melody. It’s very relaxing and enjoyable, although I think the bright guitar is bit too bright for my ears. In comes the drums.
Guitars sound very loopy at this point. And then kicks in the deep heavy guitars, it’s quite uplifting. After this a quiet part comes back and it seems a bit of a shame that the song miss out on more of the heavy parts. Off course it kicks back in later, it’s post-rock after all. But when all sounds like the loops from the quiet passages continues in the heavy parts, it’s a bit confusing. It’s an ok tune, and it sounds pretty good.
Niño Koi – Nigredo
Here we have a post-rock band from Costa Rica. The drums starts the song with a very abrupt beat, but when guitars arrive i fits like feet in stockings. It has a very warm breathing sound, and approx 2 minutes in the song, a guitar sounding like a bee arrives, this sounds pretty good. This marks a change in the song, where bass lifts the beat ending in a more post-metal like anthem. Also very effective. And then a guitar solo, not so often we have this in post-rock, and this really is kind of a rock solo. I don’t think it fits very well.
But after this solo we have way more energy as the song speeds up the pace, I really like that. That is so far from post-rock as it gets, very fresh and cool. So we are only 5 minutes in and the song has changed attitude, tempo, mood and style several times and there’s still 7 minutes to go.
This is where the punk part comes in, really sounds like some garage punk stuff, specially the way the drums are played. After this the song transforms once again to a more slow pace.
I’m not sure what to think really. The band performs extremely well and, for a song over 12 minutes long, there’s lot’s of versatility but I don’t hear a red thread that puts the song together as a whole. It’s more showcase of what the band is capable of. A 12 minute medley that could easily have been excerpts from a full album. I think I actually would have preferred 6-8 songs with themes from this song. Then I would call it an engaging and versatile album.
As the song stands now, I am impressed but I am also overwhelmed and baffled.
GENA – Past
Hailing from Saint Petersburg, Russia, next song starts awesome, amazing and noisy, this is already sounding promising. Through the fog of noise, clean guitar peak and get’s company from mastodonic and colossal deep end heavy guitars. Sounds great.
Everything is very to the point and bombastic, it’s repetitive and hypnotic, drawing the listener into a trance that is hard to escape. The beats and the guitars continues throughout the song, giving a drone like experience. This is cool stuff. I can imagine these guys play live with some doomsday visuals.
This is a keeper, I’m gonna listen to more of this.
Only Echoes Remain – Distant Echoes
At first glance I was thinking the guitar was lifted off some This Will Destroy You song, but when second tremolo guitar comes around and violins join in, it’s a proof of a genuine and very beautiful song.
After little over 2 minutes the song picks up the pace and then we’re off into post-rock land. It sounds good, but, to be honest, not as good as the quiet part. I would have loved using the 4.30 minutes, just dreaming away to the quiet part. It’s a pity really, because the force is heavy in the quiet parts, but not so convincing in the upbeat part. Very decent song though. I’m gonna give half a star on top, due to the beauty of the quiet parts
The Ills – Laugh Will Tear Us Apart
From Slovakia comes The Ills with Love Will Tear Us Apart, a Joy Division cover song.
Oh wait, Laugh Will Tear Us Apart. And well….. Nothing really to laugh about in this song, it’s 9 minutes of non-compelling and tedious style exercises with no memorable moments.
At first one thinks it’s an ok post rock tune, but nothing really stands out. When the song changes to some rhythmic jam band rehearsals, it makes me wonder what the intention is of this music. Finally it shows off as a horrible song, when everything changes to funky disco around 5 minutes, with awful bossa nova solo, what the f… is going on. What’s the point of this song. Is it really a “funny” style exercise. Not for me at least.
Lazybones Flame Kids – A Ride In An Amusement Park
Alternative Emotional Instrumental Post Rock from Italy.
Glockenspiel is it ?. That’s a different start. And then some very happy tiny guitar melody. At first, I think this is too happy, but it helps when the other instruments join in, it softens it all up a bit.
But still very shiny and sparkling. If this is a ride in an amusement park, I’m mostly thinking of the small kids carousel, sitting on a smiling squirrel. At some point the controller of the carousel has a breakdown and it speeds up, so you have to grab the neck of the squirrel. Luckily it breaks all down and everything slows down even more, before the repairman comes and the carousel can pick up it’s normal pace. All very shiny and harmless, and I guess it’s an ok tune. Hmm then we have vocals for the first time on the compilation. Not really doing anything good for the song.
Spruce Trap – Preparing To Leave All This: Prepairing to Leave
Last song on the compilation comes from Vancouver Spruce Trap. It’s so crisp sounding, filled up with warm engaging guitar sounds. I really like the sound on this one. But I’m not very happy about the performance of the drummer, i think it’s pretty untight and the music suffers from this. I think the drums are simply too newbie in comparison with the guitars. Really too bad, because I really enjoy the guitars. In it’s own way, the song fits quite well for an end song of the compilation and the noise part has nice drilling themes that are very memorable.
A word on production. Guitars sounds good, but again the drums are too dry in the mix, it feels like the drummer has recorded somewhere else than the guitars. It doesn’t fit.
A Thousand Arms has made a compelling huge compilation with loads of inspiration. Thanks ! This side B has really many gems and only a few misses. Remember though it’s just my opinion, you should really take a listen for yourself to find your favourites.
For this side B of the compilation I’m gonna say that even though it’s a hard competition, the band that gave me most joy to listen to was the band Faltre with the song Riven. They are really one of a kind and I think they give the post-rock / post-metal genre a fresh breath of air, with their extremely heavy doomy guitars. I would really like to see this band live at some point, but they seem like quite a new band, that haven’t been touring much yet.
Like the review on side A I’m also gonna elect a 2nd and third place. The competition is really hard and it stands between Sound Architects, Closet Disco Queen, Black Sails For Red Seas and Astralia. They are very different acts and each have their own uniqueness.
It’s such a close call, but Astralia takes on 2nd place and Closet Disco Queen comes in at a convincing 3rd, but Sound Architects and Black Sails For Red Seas are really cool bands. Definitely all bands that I will checkout more.
I am already a bit more poor after reviewing this compilation since I had to order some of the vinyls offered.
Huge thumbs up to A Thousand Arms for promoting and helping out.
Take a listen to Side B of Open Language VOL. II -Side B here: