Pelican – Nighttime Stories
Nighttime Stories, the sixth album from Illinois based post-metal outfit Pelican, is a rather different beast than featured on their previous album 2013’s Forever Becoming. This time around listeners are treated to a much more pacey and upbeat offering that is both more immediate and more hard-hitting. Highlights include the hopeful intricacies of ‘Midnight & Mescaline’ and the more brutal and chugging ‘Cold Hope’. It seems you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Spotlights – Love & Decay
On their third LP, titled Love & Decay, New York trio Spotlights continue to expand and explore. Their burgeoning confidence is evident in both the playing on the album and the longer running times this time around. See ‘The Age of Decay’ and ‘Xerox’ for a more immediate “radio-friendly” version of the band or ‘The Beauty of Forgetting’ and ‘Continue the Capsize’ if you fancy your post-metal a bit more experimental.
Big ‡ Brave – A Gaze Among Them
This is album number four from Canadian trio Big ‡ Brave since 2014. Not too shabby. What’s more impressive than their prolific output is that fact that their albums are of such high quality. For me, the special aspect of their sonic approach is the contrast between the rather beautiful vocals of Robin Wattie and the imposing and imperial nature of the intense music on offer. Start with ‘Holding Pattern’, fall in love, and move on from there.
Autism – Have You Found Peace?
On Have You Found Peace?, Lithuanian post-metal outfit Autism have delved into the classic form of the narrative concept album. The album is built around a fascinating story about a sixteen-year-old boy called Nolan who goes missing in the winter of 1988. The deluxe version of the album includes newspaper clippings, photos of Nolan, and letters to the boy. However, all this would be for nought if the music didn’t match the detail of the concept. This is an album that sees the band move more toward their heavier tendencies while never fully abandoning their more post-rock like inclinations. A beautiful and engaging listen. ‘No Word’ is epic. Start there.
Astronoid – Astronoid
A truly progressive post-metal effort from Massachusetts quartet Astronoid, this, their second album, sees the group incorporate some classic post-metal elements alongside black metal, shoegaze, post-rock and math rock influences. The result is a soaring and epic offering that doesn’t scrimp on either the riffs or the melodies. Traditionalists may scoff or turn up their nose at the album, but they can all go whistle. Start with ‘I Dream In Lines’ and enjoy.