09 Oct 2021 - Thorsten
Post-Metal | Division Records | Release date: 24 Sep 2021
Can we imagine a Post-Metal band playing their songs like a cross between Cave In’s imbroglio-style Metalcore and Dirge’s earthiness-in-Post-Metal? A band that doesn’t shy away from complicated structures and yet always comes up with a very direct approach to its audience? Well, we can – if we listen to Switzerland’s Post-Metal-comeback-album-of-the-year Holistic Dreams by none other than Kehlvin.
The quintet jumped onto the European Post-Metal-scene nearly 20 years ago and now they are back after more than six years of disintegrating into thin air basically. Not to say that the band went into full-hiatus mode (as they started to build their own studio) but they just simply didn’t release any new music after their 2015 split with Fleshworld called To Deny Everything That’s Mundane. Their new record, out on Division Records, is called Holistic Dreams and it shows a band fully aware of their skills and possibilities.
The title of the opening track ”The Impossibility of Progress” is nothing of not an out-right lie as the full-length shows a lot of progress and in a sense, it seems as if the word “impossible” has been banished from the band’s vocabulary when trying to come up with new ideas and structures. In ”The Impossibility Of Progress” one can witness to melody-lines basically running head-first into each other, trying to outperform the other. It seems like a herculean feat by the drummer to be able to perform those two “songs” at the same time and one could imagine him having an evil twin being told to play one of the two things. When the song slows down massively after roughly four minutes, leaving behind only the guitars giving us a very mellow moment and instead of serving us “the regular” Post-Metal meal and throwing another huge riff at us after this moment of quiet solitude, they simply bring the song to an end with this atmospheric outro leading straight into the second track, ”The Walking Clay” which gives us another mix of Every Time I Die and Snapcase, to drop another two reference bands for the sound of Kehlvin.
The record donates a lot of ideas to the ones who listen closely and who are aware of music not only being there “to serve” but also “to be conquered”: At first glance, this record may seem like one of these regular “Metalcore meets Post-Metal”-flings, but the precision with which every song is executed is deathly accurate. Take ”Causation Failure”, the third track: It demands a lot of skills to get this track and its seemingly easy structure right, because anything but exact, parallel lines by each member would leave to a dissonance ending in disharmony. The hard punches at the beginning with each drum kick being accompanied by another example of heavy riffing is just one proof for this. The minuscule changes before the big break in the middle are another. That break then is closer to Coalesce than one might imagine, as it gives this little pinch of chaos that is needed before any song becomes stalwart.
This review could go on trying to find words for each of the seven tracks of this near-35 minute beast of an album, but rest assured – you will find loads of things on this record and with ”Gently Thinking” the band wrote the best Cave In song never recorded by the bunch from New England. This record was never meant to show Post-Metal from a completely new perspective (in that sense there is a certain ”Impossibility of Progress” but it surely, definitely, undoubtedly give your collection another gem that everyone can relate to and that nobody will ask you to turn off. Kehlvin are back and that is a really good thing for Post-Metal!