It’s with great anticipation I awaited Requiem by Silent Whale Becomes A Dream.
Their previous album Canopy was an important release for all post-rock lovers and it has taken quite some years before this album is finally released, only with a short intermezzo releasing a single track Architeurtis in 2015.
Silent Whale Becomes A Dream are somewhat famous for their long cinematic and dramatic journeys through the mind and spirit. They always take their time to build up empathetic and monumental pieces of musical art, and although they may seem fairly unknown, they certainly deserve a lot more attention than they have been given up till now.
Silent Whale Becomes A Dream is classic post-rock in the deepest sense, but it is more than that. I think one should emphasize on the word classic, as in classical music.
The way Silent Whale Becomes A Dream composes their music is like Ouvertures from Tchaikovsky, Grieg or Mahler. It is journeys, and you should not expect a repetition of catchy recurring melodies, but instead give yourself the time and joy to listen to their music in full and preferably in full as well.
With Requiem, Silent Whale Becomes A Dream, have put out yet another landmark in post-rock history, with a deep and vibrant work of art, that not only impresses in the song crafting but also in the sound crafting. Requiem is sonically an explosion of details and depth, where every single sound has been carefully placed in the raging sea that is conveyed.
The Journey Begins
Requiem opens with Dies Iræ, Dies Illa. Day of Judgment!, Day of Wonders! Indeed this is the sound that is procured. The song is taking over 7 minutes to build up before releasing mayhem over a darkened sea. It is beautiful, it’s dark, it is hypnotic when the drilling guitars tear apart the chaotic soundscape, before the giant bow down, asking for peace. After several minutes of cacophonic misery, the listener is released, with the tiny harmonic melancholy of the ringing guitars. Astonishing. I’ve just witnessed a full blown almost classical piece of art.
Cor Contritum Quasi Cinis picks up with a simplistic and insisting mood, where a marching drum, sets the scene for an execution. Everything is still very dark and no lights are anywhere close. The simple melody of the guitar blends perfectly with the textures that lurk just below. Again a perfect example of the sonic sound crafting, that is all over this album. Cor Contritum Quasi Cinis keep the pace throughout the song and this is an extreme force of this song. It doesn’t end up in a classic enormous build-up of proportions, but instead, an insist on intensifying the theme of the song without destroying the perfect mood that is set. In my opinion, a perfect follow up to the opener of Requiem.
With Recordàre the first slight glimpse of hope is rising from beyond. And then still. Silence. Slow and distant thunder forewarns insecurity with ringing guitars and the fine cello playing. This is classic post-rock building up as a classical ensemble would have done it. Recordàre is the magnum opus of Requiem, it is hugely majestic and expands more and more for every single note that is played before hiding quietly with only the sound of kettledrums and the soothing cello and guitars. It feels like the explosion has left the earth quiet and it slowly has to find its form once again. It is with a strong deterministic and consistent beat from the kettlebells that the end of Recordàre unfolds. It leaves the listener in the state of uncertainty, it’s all gone, it can’t stop here, but what will happen from here.
Full Of Tears
Bass opens Lacrymósa Dies Illa. Full of tears will be that day! Again a very sharp picture of a story to tell. Wide open arms, almost a happy mood, yet still not free from worry. The mood is the strength here, because the listener has no clue, whether this is going to be a joyful or a mournful end. That mood is kept right until the end when the song really breaks loose after 14 minutes. This is the point where the listener can gaze with relief over the vast ocean, and it might be a relief, but it is also a longing to the moments of pure dark beauty that has been part of the journey so far.
When listening to the album second, third, fourth time it is evident that it’s virginity is lost and although the album will keep on revealing new depth from repeated listening, the first impression is the major force of this album. It is indeed a work of art, that will reside in the mind and spirit of the listener for a long time.
Any listener of this album should really give themselves the gift of perception when absorbing this album. Make sure that you can enjoy this masterpiece in full and especially the first time, make sure you will not be disturbed while Requiem unfolds.
Silent Whale Becomes A Dream, have made an album, that without any doubt, has made it to my personal best post-rock albums of 2017, and I really look forward to enjoy this beauty on vinyl when it is released on Elusive Sound later in 2018.
If I should compare Silent Whale Becomes A Dream with another band, I would probably say they are a lighter version of Year Of No Light. They share some of the same song crafting skills as Year Of No Light and I also think their sound is somewhat similar. The biggest difference being the aforementioned classical music approach.
Do take a listen to full album – Requiem, but as mentioned, do yourself a favor and do it when you have the time to absorb it in full, giving in all of your attention.