22 Feb 2022 - Thorsten
Post-Metal/Post-Rock/Shoegaze/Dark Metal | Lifeforce Records | Release date: 25 Feb 2022 | Favorite song: Twin Flame
Mountaineer are back with a new record! Two years after Bloodletting, the band from the Bay Area releases its fourth full-length through Lifeforce Records, the German label which has already release their three previous records. The new record Giving Up The Ghost is a little different from its predecessors, but let’s be clear – they remain epic and hymnal and this time a little bit more playful and light.
The sextet always stood apart from their label-mates, such as A Secret Revealed, by not being as black, as dark and always having that little spark of brightness within their songs and in some ways as a certain red thread throughout their their two latest albums, including this one. Some might see this as a negative thing, while others see that as a standout-argument, for in a genre filled with “blackened”-followers it is nice to see a band whose music is a little brighter. That shall neither imply that Mountaineer’s music is pop in any way (the lyrics surely prevent that!) nor that the other bands on Lifeforce are mindless, non-creative imitators.
When talking about Mountaineer it surely must be mentioned that the band is now a sextet while the first two records were laid down by a different line-up and this current formation surely knows how to move freely and enchantingly between the three pillars of their sound-universe: Doom, shoegaze and post-metal. Doom for the songs are never really fast but carry themselves elegantly and slowly. Shoegaze, for they surely know how to construct a mighty yet not overpowering wall of sound. Post-Metal, for they incorporate its loud-vs-quiet-scheme perfectly into wonderfully blooming tracks like ”Bed Of Flowers”. The track opens up with a love reverb on the guitar, that is definitely the recurring shoegaze-element on the record, and then a very crunchy post-metal moment transports the song to a whole different universe. But even there, the nice, longing, lush shoegaze elements shine through at different points of the track. This duality of soundscapes is not so much noticeable in the lyrics for they mostly carry the dark doom-tonality and also offer lines like ”The things we carry/ The things we bury inside/ On a bed of flowers/ Laid to rest/ Left to die“ - lines we would probably rather connect with a Doom or a Gothic band than a post-metal band for all their connections to “beauty” - “bed of flowers”, “rest” but also the first part ”the things we carry” things we keep close to our core. The fact that these lines are also rather melodic and less dramatic contribute to the effect, just like other lines on the album also do: ”With death comes rebirth/ With birth comes death“ (from “Twin Flame“ - the idea of rebirth is a very comforting one, indeed.
Of course, Mountaineer are not turning the post-metal genre upside down with their fourth full-length (which band has done so since Porrima?) but they surely add a very intriguing, well-lit and interesting corner to the soundscape of this genre. Therefore, it is clear that this is a good buy for any post-metal fan and also for those people who like their shoegaze a bit crunchier!