09 Mar 2022 - Simon
Post rock | Napalm Records | Release date: 04 Mar 2022
The new album by Oh Hiroshima delivers everything you could wish for in a post rock album with a magnificently dense and intelligent piece of music
In traditional song writing, bands write individual songs and band them together into an album, sometimes the album has an over-arching theme, sometimes there is a concept which the whole album is built around and oftentimes there is nothing more to it than a collection of songs. I’m fascinated by bands who do things a little differently, be it an album with one incredible long song for example. You may be wondering about my (very) laboured intro and what it has to do with today’s album Myriad by post rock visionaries Oh Hiroshima. Let me try and explain.
A cursory glance at the album seems to indicate that this is a traditional album with 7 distinct songs all with individual names. On one level this is correct but on another it’s much, much deeper than that. Of course, you can enjoy the album as it appears, with 7 distinct songs which are (as you come to expect from the band) incredibly well put together with a stunning level of care and attention that has gone into creating each individual piece.
But on another altogether different level, the album flows quite beautifully from one song to the next and when taken as a whole, it forms a suite which shifts, flows, and continuously evolves. Starting out quite dark in more ways than one with its ominous feeling of dread saturating the beginning of the album all the way through its entire running time with a myriad, labyrinthine passageways which ebb and flow before finally breaking free and ending with a most glorious sense of euphoria, like breaking free of the clouds after an exhilarating upwards trajectory towards space.
It starts with the dark, sombre almost nihilistic tones of first song “Nour” with vocalist Jakob Hemstrom’s vocals buried in the mix, the song is like a post-apocalyptic landscape in sonic form, drenched in fuzzy reverb and almost industrial sounding vocals.
Over the course of the album, the fuzz becomes less pronounced, the guitar tones become much sharper and cleaner sounding, to the point where final song “Hidden Chamber” is awash with uplifting orchestral movements (which also become more prevalent over the course of the album) melt together with utterly beguiling clean guitar tones, soaring ethereal vocals and intoxicating drum work. It’s as if the whole album slowly morphs itself into something different across its runtime. The subtle changes only become apparent after multiple listens and I must say, it’s intoxicating.
There are of course individual highlights included in the album, of which my personal favourite is “Veil of Uncertainty” with its slowly building atmospherics which lead into a glorious, cathartic wall of sound making use of every single second of its runtime in squeezing out maximum emotion to devastating effect.
Honestly, I was a big fan of the band before this review, and this album has only intensified my feelings towards them and made me appreciate them even more. It’s utterly brilliant, very intelligent and highly recommended if you like rock music in any form.