21 Jan 2022 - Knut
Post Rock | Chasmata Records | Release date: 21 Jan 2022
Somewhere in the midst of their previous album, The Floating World, there is distant thunder. On this new album there is a rumbling thunderstorm nearby at the beginning of the sixth track. Let that be a metaphor for this new album which has expanded the scope of the band´s epic music. The high pitched melodic guitars, the heavy crushing parts, the distinct leading bass and the energetic drumming are all there with guest musicians creating a visionary new musical path for the band at the same time being deeply rooted in Post-Rock.
Cult of Luna´s Johannes was once asked about the label Post-music whether it was a good description. He answered something like, at least we know what we are talking about. This kind of music is rooted in a genre and takes the genre to new levels and pushing boundaries with imaginative composing. And this is what Gilmore Trail do on this new astounding album with sweeping long tracks.
”Ruins” starts the album with recognizable high-pitched guitars, below are rumbling sound effects before the familiar bass and drums kick in to accompany the melodic themes. The pace of the music picks up speed with one high pitched guitar soaring over the music. There is nothing, not even the somber section, that indicates the immense build up towards the end where a high-pitched guitar swirls around in a heavy cascade of music before the crushing music implodes on itself in dissonance, almost ruining itself.
”Distant Reflections” opens with the echoing sound of Tibetan singing bowls as a reflection of all the losses families experience when dementia affects our lives. During the first section of the track the composition is steeped in longing and agonizing, using the full potential of the guitars supported by the melodic rhythm section. The build-up to a long crescendo is immersed in yearning. A high-pitched tremolo guitar holds the yearning soaring over a dark and vast soundscape until all the instruments crash in a tumultuous soundscape which is halted by the return of the singing bowls that bring back the longing music from the opening of the track.
The third track is aptly named ”Convalescence” and is one of two short tracks on the album which serve as breathers between the extremely emotional and expansive tracks. Post-Rock is supposed to be emotional with the crescendos, the tremolos and the swells of ambient volumes freed from the conventional verse, chorus, guitar solo, verse. Gilmore Trail makes the most of this freedom throughout the album, especially on the next track, ”Echoes of Solitude”. This is a multilayered and diverse track beginning with sound effects inspired by those of a lone whale gliding slowly below the surface. The cinematic wavy music lets the inner eye follow the whale´s long journeys throughout vast oceans. The distinct synths in the wake of the music underline this while making boundless soundscapes and the guitars flow slowly with the melodic theme. From there rises an alluring saxophone, slowly leading the music towards a towering section where the sax element gives strong hints to the progressive music King Crimson became known for. It seems like the band wants to greet the vast influence this band still has, with the whale as a metaphor for what is under the surface of today´s music.
The ten minutes-long fifth track ”The Zone of Silence” is as diverse as the others. The first section is meditative. The long track lets the composition develop and picks itself up in the mid-section by a high-pitched tremolo guitar before the heaviness sets in. This might be one of the heaviest tracks made by a Post-Rock band as the bass takes the lead and brings the music step by step into heavy riffing-mode and drums so fast they border on blastbeats. It all ends in chaos as electric static disturbs the end of the track, which is only natural as the track takes its name from the Mexican La Zona del Silencio – an area where urban myths have it that radio signals and any type of communication is impossible to receive. Gilmore Trail has a knack for strange natural phenomena as shown by the title of their first full-length Sailing Stones.
A massive thunderstorm opens the next short breather ”Nocturne” before the title track finishes the album. ”Impermanence” is another extremely beautiful and emotional track. This is flawlessly performed Post Rock carried by the always distinct and melodic bass and the drums in perfect rhythm with guitars swirling around each other. The composition evolves, expands and is heightened to a heavy crescendo with a high-pitched guitar piercing through just to change into a distorted glissando before the music crumbles, but once again builds again to an ending in full force with energetic drumming and grooving bass laying the ground under the heavy spinning guitars. The abrupt stop of the music is a reminder that everything is impermanent.
Gilmore Trail debuted their first full-length in 2013, released the second in 2015 and with this has ended what might be seen as a trilogy. The trilogy in a way reflects Post-Rock as it has been building up to the expansive crescendo that surrounds this release. The sound is so clear, the musical vision so impressive and the impeccable songwriting has now placed the band as one of the front-runners of the genre and a band who further expands it.