In 2022, Swedish post metal act Dimwind released what could only be described as a very ambitious recording. The fifteen minute ‘Window Passed’ was presented as half of a split release with black metallers Breaths, and basically acted like an effective CV. During its quarter of an hour, the track moved through heavy riffs in a post rock vein, teased with drone, and even exploded into passages of instrumental black metal. It should have been really challenging, but something within Dimwind’s soundtrack like state ensured that even their heaviest outbursts seemed very natural.
As a band, The Fierce And The Dead have never been shy of evolving. From their noisiest post rock origins, they slowly grew into a melodic juggernaut, mixing heavy grooves and progressive textures on their third album ‘The Euphoric’.
There’s growth and re-invention, and then there’s genre-fluid, which is certainly where the band found themselves during the writing and recording of their fourth LP. Fans got a taste of the “new” Fierce/Dead in May 2022 when the ‘Wonderful’ single appeared on Bandcamp and other streaming services. For the first time, the band shared something song-based with a strong vocal, and for many, that was the biggest change. However, things had also taken an unexpected turn musically with a world of post-punk riffs colliding with the prog-ish experimentation.
After spending years honing their hugely atmospheric post rock sound, Spanish prog/rock band Toundra hit something of a career high with their 2018 album ‘Vortex’. With its huge soundscapes of clean, shimmering guitar and crushing, yet melodic riffs, it came close to post rock perfection; more accessible than the likes of Godspeed! You Black Emperor and more focused than The Bloody Mallard. Obviously, the instrumental stance meant those listening rewards weren’t always immediate, but the best riffs eventually crawled into the subconscious in a really cool way. The follow up, a recording inspired by Robert Wiene’s Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, showed a more adventurous approach via its longer pieces, but continued the band’s natural musical ascent.
Things are busy behind the scenes with The Fierce And The Dead. The British post-rock band have had live shows cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but they’ve taken a lot of time to work on home demos and ideas for album number 4, which they’ve more than hinted will be as different from ‘The Euphoric’ as that album had been from 2013’s ‘Spooky Action’.
Two years on from their ‘Belly of The Whale’ album, this six track release from Ambassador presents the band in a slower and heavier mood than ever before. Throughout ‘Care Vale’s half-hour playing time, The Baton Rouge based post-rockers tackle a world of slow and intensive riffs, taking their sound further towards the gothic/doom variety, but without completely abandoning their previous love for a few proggy quirks. It’s worth noting that, from the outset, this slight musical shift means there isn’t anything on offer as immediately likeable – or melodic – as ‘Feral As They Were’, or necessarily as atmospheric as ‘Diorama’, but in terms of riffs, extant fans should still find something to enjoy.