If These Trees Could Talk
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Take a look at the album’s artwork. It may be the front-runner for the best album cover of 2012 so far, as the scene painted on the cover is flat-out gorgeous. Each of the nearly fifty minutes of Star Showers on the Eupharates evokes the image on the album’s cover, and that is no small feat. The album alternates between the ambient post-rock beauty that Sigur Rós has mastered and a heavier, almost post-metal template. The changes in sound find the album weaving in and out of that heaviness, instead of coming across disjointed and awkward. Wait, weaving isn’t the right word; “exploding” better encapsulates the build-up-and-release. Each release stirs up the image of the exploding tubes from the album cover.
Ancients is a new cross-continental group that has risen from the ashes of British post-metal band Rinoa and features the vocals of Mehdi Safa (of *Shels fame). I know what you are thinking: “I don’t like vocals in my post-rock.” This is a fair statement, as the beauty of post rock/metal is that the music is meant to stand on its own, and vocals often detract from the epic nature of the music. One listen to “Satellites” or “Cassiopeia” will quell those doubts, as Mehdi utilizes his voice more as an additional instrument than as a traditional vocalist. His ethereal voice is most often used to accentuate the sonic peaks of each song; his lyrics are not always decipherable, but his high-pitched melodies still shine through.
One of the main complaints of post-rock is that the genre is best suited as background music (i.e. it is boring). There are certainly moments where this criticism is somewhat warranted on the album, especially with regard to “Icarus,” a ten minute track entirely dedicated to crafting ambient atmospheres. The song serves its purpose within the context of the album, but it does not function so well on its own. Thankfully, the other four tracks display forty minutes of well-crafted atmospheric rock. Ancients has released a fantastic debut that should excite fans of post-rock and post-metal, as it skirts the line between Sigur Rós and If These Trees Could Talk with aplomb.