Monday, December 8, 2014

Sonance: 'Black Flower"

This Bristol birthed sludge fest has a fetish for atmosphere. It sometimes borders on post rock, but where post-rock yearns towards a transcendent beauty, this lingers in the melancholy of their drone. This drone still has movement and purpose and is not trying to put you to sleep, but to carry you away across the lulled water of a post-apocalyptic lake or that is at least what my synesthesia would show me. The stringed elements that enter were not expected as the song slowly builds. This lends a slight romanticism that you can't call goth when once the crusty crunch of the dirtier metal side manifests. This album is richly layered. It becomes hard to tell at times what are string melodies countering the guitars and what are effected guitars. Then at other moments it is clearly influenced by " Times of Grace" era Neurosis. The vocals have that kind of burly bellow to them, but with more anguish than even the  band's "Souls At Zero "period. They  are often heavier sonically than they are metal, by letting the powerful chords ring out over a bleak expanse of sound. They swelling dark cloud begins to really bring it's storm as all manner of feedback chimes in against the raging howls . One of the few songs this length that really justifies every minute that is indulged , with no fat that might have been better served if trimmed away.

"Belgium" is the three minute interlude that is a dreamy, string and piano drive affair. It serves as the intro for 'Attachment" that follows the floating intermission. "Attachment" begins with breathy baritone of David Gilmore like singing. Some harsher yells are in the distance, but they want you to focus more on the melody. This leads into what seems to be a more post-hard core metal pound  of "Conical" . Before you could call this doom, it is soon haunted by piano and atmosphere. These guys are not far removed from Alaskan in some ways, but place more emphasis on melody and the atmosphere is just as important as the the heaviness.  The vocals take on more of an Eyehategod kind of sneer to their angered outbursts here. This song like the other keeps dynamically unfolding, even the somewhat simple pound that is beat out into a drone evolves.

Sonance closes out this album out with another atmospheric piece. This time serving as an outro, it letting you down from the pounding to drop into a sonic sub space. Soft vibrations soothe as a thin coat of noise is hovering over it. It is  hard to say if this is really an album or an ep, because for all practical purposes there and only three real songs here , but at thirty minutes,  it would still be longer than "Reign in Blood" which is my deciding factor for if something is an ep , is the is it longer than "Reign in Blood" . The fifteen minute song takes up the bulk of the affair , but it's time well spent. I would really like to hear a longer body of work from them. In that way it feels like an ep as you want more rather than feeling like they have given you that is needed to endure. I press play again when this finishes so of course I am going to give this the 10 it deserves, to bad it came out so late in the year, if also more than likely means I will have to wait until 2016 for a follow up. Until then I will be waiting to see if these guys are brave enough to take this show over the pond.

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