ALBUM REVIEW: A Thousand Arms – Open Language – VOL. II – Side A
Open Language Vol. II is a free compilation of american post rock bands, made by ‘A Thousand Arms’. The album is only available digital on bandcamp and as I see it, it’s cool promotional piece of work. For me this is a perfect opportunity to discover new music that I’ve never heard before. It’s a large compilation, that has 2 sides. In this review I am trying to cover Side A. Hopefully I will soon get to side B as well.
No matter what. A compilation like this is a very cool way to discover new music. Thanks a lot to A Thousand Arms for making this compilation.
So here’s my 5 cents on each of the songs of the A side of this album. I’m gonna listen to the B side as well very soon.
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.
Heron – Shores
I hear Explosions in the sky, pretty good song, but also a bit middle of the road standard post-rock in my opinion, I don’t really like the end parts of the song, it’s a bit too happy go lucky for me.
Vasudeva – Turnstile
This one sounds a bit like an indie pop song with a band that lost it vocalist. Well played and at some points some Math influence. Guess this is the post rock version of high school punk like weezer and stuff. It’s ok, but doesn’t do much for me. Kind of fun with the disco drums in the ending though. If you enjoy the more pop style instrument music, then this might be for you.
Shipwreck Karpathos – Bring Down The Sky
Sounds mostly like a loop artist in the beginning, but then kicks in with all. Good memorable melody. When quiet part starts, it all gets a bit more interesting. Good harmonies between the guitars. This works really good, specially when the song starts to crescendo back and the guitar harmonies just keeps on.
This is a keeper, I’m gonna check out more of this band .
KYOTY – R
Promising start. A bit more in the dark end of the spectre. Great drum sound. I like when the guitars really kick in, with more and more noise. And it just keeps getting better, with eminent solos and farout noise. Hypnotic and heavy. I really like this. Definitely gonna check out more by this band. Love their chaos noise and deep post-metal guitars. 6 minutes of effective post-rock/post-metal. No wonder they’re booked for Dunk! USA.
Seeress – Attractor
Very nice song, good full guitars, but some of the clean guitars, sounds a bit annoying in my ear. Half way through, the song changes character and some guitar harmony kicks in. This, kind of, remind me, of some 80’s metal stuff. In general I think the song is too long for what it has to offer.
Legendary Skies – Beyond The Horizon
What a band name, reminds me of some japanese video games. The song starts off wide and production is really good. In some ways this sounds like an instrumental power metal song. I could easily hear a high pitch vocal on top of this. I’m not sure this is the intention, but it’s actually pretty ok.
We really have the widespread arms out here. Specially when choir vocals is united with the guitar melody. These guys could really do a difference in the power metal genre I would say. Bring in some vocals and you would have a fresh new take on that genre. Off course there’s post rock in this, but I hear way more heavy/power metal and prog.
Sioum – Welcome to New Beginnings and Technological Advancements
That’s a song name to remember. Almost 17 minutes long, this better be versatile, else it can be very long 17 minutes.
Guitars and drums kick in great with cool riffs. These guys know their rhythms, and are musically superior to many others. It’s a fresh take on post/math rock, with the keyboards, I like that.
Versatility is definitely here, the song evaporates after 4 minutes and changes into a more quiet part. Sounds really good, specially when the keys stand alone and the song quietly builds up again.
Even though the song is filled up with loads of small breaks and different details all over, it’s hard to recall any specific melodies, making the song a bit monotone after all.
It’s not really negative, because you can really listen to the full 17 minutes and not be bored. The skills of the musicians and the universe filling the song is really worth it.
It’s a keeper though for me, my curiousness has awakened and I’m gonna listen to more of this band. Sioum is art.
X Suns – Twelve Hours
Here’s a ‘all in your face’ wide landscape post-rock song. Filled to the rim with energy and excellent anthems one after another. Guitars really drills themselves to bleed. Also the quiet parts are quite good. The same with the production of the song, sounds great. It’s classic post-rock, but in the very good end of it. I’m gonna check this band out more soon.
Long Hallways – A Butterfly on the Battlefield
I’m sorry but I really don’t like this one.
It starts off very nice and promising, but when the song starts, it really falls apart. The melodies are absent/awkward in my opinion.
It may very well be me that just don’t get it, so you go ahead and give it a listen. They do describe themselves as avantgarde amongst other genres, maybe that’s the part I don’t get.
Ravena – Teraphim
This one is what I needed now, after listening to the previous tracks.
A song that starts out beautifully quiet. I can really imagine a warm summer evening, lying on the dry grass in the outskirts, gazing at stars. Almost 14 minuters of sincere beauty. This is somewhat ambient, somewhat post rock, flirting with post-metal. I really enjoy the chanting vocals they fit in great. The song really goes on for 2 parts divided by a nice quiet passage. Everything is quite insisting and intense. This one is a also a keeper.
Deadhorse – Corruption
A piano interlude at most in my opinion. I don’t really like the melodies in this one, it reminds me somewhat of children rhymes and it really does not do anything for me. It even feels a bit awkward to have this on the compilation. Off course it stands out, but still.. This is not for me.
ARCHIATOR – The Mast
It really sounds sterile with the computer played drums. Even though superior drummer is really cool, it’s somewhat sterile. The drums are destroying it a lot I think.
The song itself is not very well performed, and only part I find somewhat engaing is shortly around 2:00 . The song would have sounded so much different if it was a band playing it. It’s kind of a mess actually.
HarborLights – And Yet It Moves
I’m not so happy about the drums on this one either. I mean, they are well played, nothing to critizise here. But they are all over and it would suit the song to have the drums relax a bit from time to time. The sound is good, and there’s also some engaging guitar parts, but nothing very memorable here.
This Patch of Sky – Bella Muerte
What a sensitive and soothing start we have here on Bella Muerte.
After a short while , cello kicks in with a, just as, soothing melody. Abrupt drums plays perfectly along. One almost forgets the drilling guitars in the background, that fits in as a great wall of sound below the cello.
Then all quiet and boom. Cellos, guitars,synths awake to the grande finale.
This Patch Of Sky has made an extremely memorable song, due to the main melody of the cello. This is indeed a keeper, I’m gonna have to listen more to this band as well.
No wonder they’re also on the bill for this years Dunk USA.
Wow, still minutes after the song ended it’s still in my head. This is great stuff
The Mighty Missoula – Regression
Very laid back mood, with chiming guitars. Most relaxing and western like. A bit thin in the production, but nonetheless a nice soundscape. In the end we have a classic post rock ending with loads of wide guitars. I enjoy the quiet parts more. I think the quiet parts were standing out more.
Outrun The Sunlight – Remaining in a constant state of discomfort
In some ways, this is very classic post rock sounding, the delay guitars, the drills. But it has some math-rock influences as well and that suits this song good. It’s very engaging when heavy guitars join in and the double bass drum goes for a ride. ‘
At some point the song breaks down to a more groovy part, and I bet it’s fun to play, but I don’t think it works that well.
After the breakdown, there’s a cool quiet passage that works really well, I love the sound modulating delays on the guitar in this part. This ends the song very effectively.
Another good thing about this song is, that’s it not very pure post-rock, it lends from the metal genre as well. I like that.
From Oceans to Autumn – Arrival
Reverse delay and finger picking starts this one off and then after almost 2 minutes everything kicks in with a wall of sound distorted guitar sound. Sounds like post rock right ?
It is by all means post-rock, but it adds some very nice aspects to the genre.
On top of the distorted guitar, there is loads of diffuse melodies that adds complexity to the warm, yet haunting, carpet of sounds floating out of the speaker. This is great stuff.
It doesn’t stop there. More and more guitar layers fill up the soundscape and when it’s time for a break after 5 minutes, we have a quiet passage with beautiful keyboards accompanying the reversed guitars. Again a complex sound where the melody is made of all the small sparkles hanging in the air. Again, great stuff ! . This one is definitely also a keeper I wanna check out more.
Glacier – Though They Be Red Like Crimson, They Shall Be As Wool
This was the only band I’ve heard before I listened to this compilation, and this song is their best song in my opinion. This is high quality post-rock stuff, and you can read a full review of their album ‘Though Your Sins Be As Scarlet, They Shall Be White As Snow; Though They Be Red like Crimson, They Shall Be As Wool‘
A pretty long post rock journey, but definitely worth the time to listen through this side A of Open Language.
There was awesome music, there was engaging music and only a few songs that really didn’t do anything for me. It’s just my opinion anyway, you might enjoy them.
I would encourage everyone to take a listen to the album in full, and find their favourites
For me there’s no doubt about the favourites. Coming in at a strong number 1 is KYOTY with the song ‘R’. This is just perfection in my ears.
The fight for second place is hard and really stands between This Patch Of Sky, From Oceans To Autumn and Glacier. They’re pretty different in their sound all three. This Patch of Sky get’s the second place for making such a memorable song. Glacier and From Oceans To Autumn comes in as 3rd.
Do listen to the full side A here, don’t listen to me, listen yourself 🙂