23 Oct 2021 - Thorsten
Post-Metal | Ripcord Records | Release date: 22 Oct 2021
One of the benefits of writing for a zine like VoS is the ability to fall in love easily. Every once in a while you will come across a band that you have never heard of before and whose record immediately speaks to you. Without this occupation, the new Ripcord Records release by Mancunian lads A Lake Of Ayes is just another gem that would have gone unnoticed. From the very first seconds, Ouro Sobre Azul had this author on his chair’s end eagerly waiting for more!
Funnily, the band plays in some way, familiar Post-Metal, yet the level of execution and the small, little details are really convincing and throw a smile on one’s face, for discovering something new within something familiar is one of the greatest things there is, as it is at the same time full of familial warmth and the unheard-of thrill.
When the first few guitar parts of the opening track ”Jeff’s Bridge” (wonderful pun by the way), there is a certain bright twang at the end of the simple guitar motif which gives the song a certain golden glimmer which is even intensified after roughly 45 seconds when that little twang is becoming even a bit higher on a very few notes. These little things then make the shredding part that follows even better. And when you then discover that within all the shred there are two different guitar lines fighting each other, it is even better, because those little details make new songs on regular territory stand out more. A lot of these little details are not only credit to the band’s songwriting abilities but also to the production by Joe Clayton (who already worked for Ithaca and Curse These Metal Hands) and the mastering by Tom Peters (known for mastering VASA) who both really play with light and darkness on the five songs, clarifying or darkening things at just the right moment. The opening track also shows that the five guys who are a band since 2018 are capable to pick it up a notch if necessary, which of course is always a good thing in order to keep the dynamics going and flowing.
Sometimes there is a certain foreign vibe flowing through some of the songs, as if we hear the lads jointing up the best of the musical remains of the Empire and in some ways it’s true: One can in some way witness the guys’ English roots as their Post-Metal is more Bossk than, for example, ISIS, or more Oceansize than Neurosis. “Gold over Blue” (the literal translation of Ouro Sobre Azul) is a remarkable debut and proves Ripcord’s good instincts for real talent. That they sometimes enrich their basically instrumental songs at a very select few points with vocals also shows that they do not care for conventions – often a band is either purely instrumental or generally with vocals. A Lake Of Ayes (a hint at the Northern English roots?) knows that not every song needs vocals and can also survive without.
One other track that should be mentioned is ”Tell Schrödinger I’m Alive” because it starts so beautifully and gently and is still able to make a quick but not disruptive shift towards a rougher version of Post-Metal is another reason why these lads are hopefully in for a long run. When the song has one of the few vocal parts of the record they show how much they love Russian Circles for it is a good take on the American band’s version of Post-Metal BUT with vocals. Admirable!
If you like your Post-Metal variable, shifty, well-structured and very well-produced – then please listen to this wonderful debut by Mancunian newcomers A Lake Of Ayes and their debut Ouro Sobre Azul for it has all the little details that turn a regular “blue” Post-Metal album into a “golden” one! Probably you should be as enthusiastic as the author of these lines and will fall in love with the record just the same.