Sȃver/Psychonaut - Emerald Split EP

20 May 2021 - Simon

post metal, sludge metal, progressive metal | Pelagic Records | Release date: 14 May 2021

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This stunning EP showcases the very best of both bands in a glorious exhibition of just what you can achieve in a split record

Split albums between two different bands can be a curious beast. Sometimes, you look at the 2 bands in question and think ‘oh boy, how is that going to work?’ with bands sharing a shared respect for each other but coming from different ends of the musical spectrum. However, this is not the case with the split we will be looking at today.

Pelagic records stable mates Saver and Psychonaut both play complimentary styles of metal which when placed together produces that rare beast of a split in which both bands contribute to an impressive whole with neither band overshadowing the other. We only get 2 songs but with an overall length of 36 minutes you still end up with an album’s worth of music to listen to.

Psychonaut kick things off with The Great Realisation which is comprised of 5 chapters detailing a life-altering drug trip the band took together, leading to collective growth and experimentation. There are various touchstones and influences you can gleam from the song (from Tool and Mastodon all the way back to Led Zeppelin) but impressively, they retain a sound which is instantly recognisable as their own. Prog metal clashes against serene minimalism which transitions into snarling post-metal passages, the whole track reminds me of a picturesque mountain stream, meandering at its own pace, broken up by churning rapids and serene passages, and flows just as beautifully, it’s magnificent. At no point during its 16-minute run time does your mind wander away from it, it demands your attention and repays that demand in bountiful amounts of joy and wonder.

Saver, for their part bring a 19-minute behemoth to proceedings in the form of Dimensions Lost, Obscured by Aeons . Unlike the previous song, these guys take their time playing their hand and the song is much more measured. It’s very much a song of 2 halves with the first 7 or so minutes comprising of eery ambience with only a barely audible heartbeat for company. It’s captivating by itself but you just know that it’s building up to something, and oh boy when that something hits, it’s like a hammer blow to the cranium. In spectacular fashion the drums, guitar and the oh so wonderfully low bass explode in a wonderous release of earlobe melting heavy goodness. The music is not just heavy for heavy’s sake though, with a surprising amount of melody and sophistication for you to discover throughout its runtime.

Due to the fact this is released on Pelagic Records and features 2 up and coming stars of the underground metal world you would imagine this to be good, but it’s more than that, it is utterly brilliant. Both bands play similar styles of music but done in very different ways, from the more progressive leanings of Psychonaut to the more direct assault of Saver. They both have a push and pull effect on each other and produce something truly impressive on this album. The only minor gripe I have with the whole thing is that I think it would have worked better had you switched the running order of the 2 songs with the Saver one first followed by the Psychonaut one but that’s just a personal choice (I just think it would have flowed better, but what do I know eh) and does not detract from what is a stunning release which you really owe it to yourself to add to your collection.