Turpentine Valley - Alder

19 Feb 2022 - Sebastian

Post-Metal / Post-Rock | Dunk! Records / A Thousand Arms / Ripcord Records | Release date: 25 Feb 2022 | Favorite song: Respijt

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It is finally time for Turpentine Valley’s second album and let me tell you right of the bat: It is just as good as their first one! Their combination of heavy and dark post rock is just phenomenal and if you’ve slept on their debut, you definitely need to check this out.

2019’s Etch was pretty high on my AOTY list and rightfully so. The Belgian band played an amalgamation of very dark, heavy post rock, mixed with the lighter side of the genre and created something truly epic. Their sophomore album now continues their musical journey and I am more than ready for it. We are greeted by a short intro in the form of ”Veeleer1” and then get throw right into the arms of ”Sereen”, which makes you feel right at home. In parts it really reminded me of the darker side of El Altar Del Holocausto, which is a good thing for sure. After this heavy start we continue on into ”Parabel”.

It starts on a lighter note than the previous song and its whirling guitars then go into this grand soundscape with the drums continuing onwards on their path. It was a good idea by Turpentine Valley to release this song as the first single off Alder. This song really shows how they developed since Etch and highlights their diverse sound in many ways. While being somewhat soft at first, the second half moves to the dark side again.

”Teloor” on the other hand is much more soundscape-y with its minimalist drums and very distant sounding guitars. At the half way point it sounds a bit like a big eruption is coming, but it is not. To be honest, this song felt a bit lost between the previous one and the following Temor, but it is also a nice change of pace, so nothing to complain.

The next song, the aforementioned ”Tremor” then delivers a grandiose comeback to what Turpentine Valley do best: distorted guitars, bass and hard hitting drums. It reminded me quite a bit of ”Compromis”, my favourite track of their previous album, because both songs slow down towards the end. They get lighter and calmer, only to turn around and hit you with pure metal goodness.

At first you are forgiven for maybe thinking ”Neuron” is “blue balling” you the same way ”Teloor” is, but no: this time the band follows through and serves you one of their heaviest songs on the album.

”Respijt” is already the last track, before ”Veeleer2” waves us goodbye. Fortunately ”Respijt” has a length of almost exactly six minutes. These six minutes in return should prove to you, that this Belgian post metal powerhouse is a force you should keep on your radar. It once again shows all their strengths and combines them into one of their best songs, so groovy, you just have to bang your head, or at least heavily nod, while listening to it. It is a shame that the album is already over after ”Veeleer2”, which circles back to the start of the album, but this time incorporates some spoken word passages.

After waiting for over two years, it is fantastic to finally have a successor to Etch and Alder was well worth the wait. Turpentine Valley have this very distinct sound and are masters in balancing on the edge between light and dark.