Raedsel - Menetekel

07 Jun 2021 - Simon

post rock, progressive rock | Release date: 14 May 2021

Facebook Bandcamp

A wonderful example of a band with something to say and the ability to back up their message

Post-Rock can be quite a sombre listen most of the time. A lot of albums explore the darkest reaches of, well, everything really. Bands spend a lot of time conveying their message with texture and feeling, which if there are no vocals to get your point across is quite difficult to do, but not impossible. Which is why the great bands succeed and there are quite a lot of bands who make very good music yet struggle to bridge the gap to get folk to grasp what they are trying to say.

Today’s band is Raedsel (which roughly translates as riddle) who hail from Germany who make a very good attempt at conveying what they are trying to get across on their debut album Menetekel, which is translated as a sign of impending, unknown threat. In service of trying to convey this message, the band felt limited by their normal purely instrumental approach so incorporated vocals to as a tool to express aspects of the album. As a matter of fact, the lyrics allude to the fate of a tree, will it fall or will it be felled, it will happen but has chosen to jettison its fear and turn it into foresight. It’s heady stuff and it really does deepen the impact of the album if you have at least a cursory idea of what it’s about.

This theme takes it’s time to unfold, so much so that you really need to listen to the album as a whole for it to become fully into focus and understanding. Indeed, this theme of threat is not apparent on first song “Treetop” which sounds quite upbeat. It starts with the obligatory ambient passage before the band kick in and take the song soaring away among the clouds, it’s quite exhilarating and is very catchy with a particularly strong melody which does a good job of sinking its claws into your brain.

Second song “My Hands Your Eyes” ratchets up the tension in the palpably more darker music, that’s not to say that it’s oppressive, it actually carries most of its catchy upbeat sensibilities over from the first song but like a Magnus Mills novel, you get the sense that lurking just below the surface there is something … off kilter and not quite right.

Instrumental song “Mediocre” is anything but, much more subdued in its pacing with more pronounced use of electronic elements, it continues the journey down the rabbit hole and sets thing up nicely for final song and standout track “Follow The Little Dotted Line” which right out of the gate takes the themes laid down on the songs before it and adds a decidedly progressive bent to proceedings. Driving, pronounced guitar work is the order of the day here and it ebbs and flows beautifully with the hidden threat now very much a tangible thing.

This is an absolute little gem of a record. It helps if you have just a cursory understanding about the meaning behind the album as it brings the musical choices into greater focus but if you don’t give a hoot about that kind of thing then there is still a lot here that fans of post, and especially progressive rock will appreciate and comes very much recommended. So give it a listen and try to get in tune with the trees plight, does it fall or is it felled, it’s intentionally left up to you and either way, there’s catchy music here at the very least.