Thursday, April 11, 2013

Old Soul - Tidal Lock (2013)

Full Length, IFB / Dog Knights Productions / Dingleberry Records / Listen to Aylin
April, 2013

Genre: Blackened Hardcore/Post-Rock/Post-Hardcore
Region: USA

Coming off of that recent post about Old Soul's 2012 record, I've been given the pleasure of hearing and reviewing the new Old Soul record a few weeks prior to official release and all that. Took a little longer to write up due to other priorities getting in the way but here it is. There's no download link right now, however like their prior releases this will have a physical release and be made a free download to the public at some point soon. So hold on for now if you're eager.

Tidal Lock sees Old Soul further shaping their sound and progressing quite a bit from their previous record, while bringing back some elements that were stronger in their debut Natures Arms Encircle All; mainly the tranquil post-rock atmospherics which grasp this release firmly and made a bigger appearance in that record. Lots of reverb and delay among other effects in those long passages sometimes like near the close of the opener "Ghost/Incomplete" they're sustained and take on a shamanistic luster as notes are carefully placed around the whirring loops. Outside of these glimmering passages the scratchy swollen tone of the guitar is a big contrast once again carrying over from their sophomore, varied drumming keeping up with the wide swings in style, and a great bass presence especially when those quiet stretches start to ramp up ("Watermouth/Mirage").
All four tracks here (which flow as one long song in reality) reach between eight and ten minutes in length, a huge contrast to the four and six minute jaunts in Who Are Willing To Draw Close and further proof of a commitment to change at least in structure on first observation. The production is smooth, clear, warm; feeling much bulkier than Who Are Willing To Draw Close and lending a little juice to the all it's qualities. Only complaint here is for instance in the secong track around six minutes in, where there's a transition from quiet to loud the guitars feel a little dampened initially; this could just be me as I only notice it in that spot. Lyrically as one would expect this record does have a temporal focus, metaphoric, taking a reflective or introspective approach but largely up for individual interpretation; sometimes these are spoken ("Ethereal/Faultless") while usually in all other moments the blackened rasps dominate.

When listening the blackened post-hardcore/screamo characteristics still reside in their formula but are less bursts and more Krallice-esque in execution: long blazing passages blurring post-hardcore June Paik aggression with uneasy/anxious black metal melodies interspersed conservatively. Between these lies moments that resemble traditional screamo like Mahria but the twinkling nostalgia doesn't last long. You can hear this from the outset. These are enclosed in the vibrant ambient and post-rock drifting, both clean and acoustic, sometimes minimalistic but usually energetic builds. These moments have Tidal Lock coming very close to the eclectic style of Irepress even moreso than I thought, and yet every time they do rub up close they make a drastic shift, usually launching the song into an aggressive fit.

While they effortlessly float between each other each of the four tracks. "Ghost/Incomplete" and "Watermouth/Mirage", while separated, flow as one track linked by a gleaming clean section and provide a great example of the above. Broken up by flurries of proggy black metal mixed with screamo but far less densely packed than in their previous records. The former track is evenly broken up between their black skramz attack and meditative   while the latter dabbles more in Irepress-esque quietus with only brief, more laid back post-hardcore blinks; rhythms more restrained but still strong, leading the track out of the haze nicely.

"Paradigm/Pendulum" picks up and quickly descends into progressive black metal territory only to melt into a pretty clean section which gets increasingly proggy and loud and busy before diving into a tranquility. For the first four or so minutes I would swear this is a less complex Irepress track. The build on this track has both channels evolving sounds gradually. The return to distortion is very stealthy only occuring near the end and giving way to a wobbly ethereal section.

Interestingly enough this leads into the aptly titled final track "Ethereal/Faultless" — arguably the slowest on the record Old Soul close with a more depressive or reflective tone, even when they embrace the distortion it's very mournful. The screams come back in full force by around the eight minute mark and while still less chaotic the blackened brew here opening up to a spoken word passage with some nice bass work and percussion which fades, leaving only the words.

Old Soul's newest record is more grand and less dirty than previous material, a relatively refined and different experience from them. I think I like Who Are Willing To Draw Close a bit more at this point mainly due to the length and blend of sounds. I'm definitely finding on repeat listens I'm enjoying Tidal Lock more than I originally did, it's only the shift of emphasis away from more chaotic blackened aggression that I enjoy more on the former. For instance the closing riffs and rhythms on "Crater" (and it's atmosphere in the close) or the explosive climaxes after silence in "Forest" which ascend impressively. For whatever reason those moments trigger a more visceral nostalgia-tinged satisfaction within me.

Having said that I am enjoying what these guys have done with their sound since then and their continued willingness to break from comfort. It's something to commend. I recommend those of you who like their blackened post-whatever-core to be a little more exploratory, perhaps those of you who enjoy June Paik, Irepress, and Tesa should get into Tidal Lock.

This will soon be released by IFB, Dog Knights Productions, Dingleberry Records, or Listen to Aylin Records in the very near future and will most likely be available in distros and labels like Halo of Flies and Scream//Writhe. Follow their blog and facebook for more info on that. Eventually a link will be posted too but for now you may stream it on Dog Knights Productions' bandcamp:

No comments:

Post a Comment