08 Mar 2021 - Simon
A stunning musical journey through a film score inspired landscape
If this pandemic has taught me anything (besides the fact that I am terrible at baking chocolate cakes) its that music is more vital than ever in helping me to keep on an even keel. Like a lot of people, I now work from home, which I must say, overall has been fantastic. One of the by-products of working from home is that my listening habits have changed. No longer am I able to listen to my MP3 player on the bus during my commute, however this is negated by getting to listen to my collection at home through much higher quality speakers without headphones. As a result of this change, I listen to more new music than ever before, most of which if truth be told does not hold my attention very long before the next shiny thing catches my eye. This was definitely not the case with todays offering which is from Reading based band Mountainscape with their debut album Acceptance .
The band themselves describe their music as instrumental post-metal. Blending elements of post-rock, black metal, doom sludge and ambient in a filmscore inspired way. which expertly sums up their sound very well, no more needed from me. Wait, what, you want me to elaborate? Oh ok then.
This is an album to get lost in, it paints pictures with sound. The beauty of very good instrumental music is that it enables you to climb inside the picture of what the musicians are trying to paint with sound. Brilliant instrumental music carries you with it on the journey, you get utterly lost in it, it becomes all-consuming to the point where once it finishes, you feel like youve woken up from a lucid dream. Suffice to say, this album is in the latter category.
The twists and turns on this record demand your attention and the bands description of their sound really does fit, they pick up motifs from various genres, ploughing through various genres with hardly a regard for convention and extract what they need, then seamlessly move onto the next one. In lesser skilled hands this could have become a convoluted mess and not sounded like a cohesive whole but not this band, oh no. Take the song Visions which winds its way through elements as diverse as tremolo picked guitar parts, stunning solos, blast beats, powerful almost thrashy sections before collapsing into the most gorgeous ambience imbued mid-section before exploding back into the tremolo picked guitar again. Title track Acceptance showcases their softer side during the start of the song before erupting with a wall of sound which made me feel like hitting the water after falling over a waterfall and flailing around trying to grasp for air (not that Ive ever done this, but if I had, this music would be perfect for just such an occasion!). Following song Lavawalker is probably the heaviest song on the whole album and really ups the ante, yet it isnt heavy for the sake of being heavy, it fits into the narrative the band has constructed and is well thought out, plus the fact that its head-bangingly groovy certainly helps as well.
The rest of the album carries on with the bands impeccable craftsmanship, from fist song Wilderness with its playful post rock intro through to its almost sludgy mid-section right on through to final song Descent which takes all of the ideas raised during all of the preceding songs and compresses it into 11 minutes of perfectly balanced sonic bliss, complete with all of the peaks and troughs of an actual mountain range, with whip quick transitions and head nodding breakdowns.
This album really is a stunning achievement and with its varied musical palette there should be something here for fans of all kinds of music to enjoy. It demands your attention and is exceptional in its craftsmanship. Its also worth mentioning the cover photo on the album which is glorious and does a tremendous job of letting you know whats in store before youve even pressed play. This comes highly recommended. Look, just go listen to it ok, its marvellous.