It’s been a strange few months for me when it comes to new music. As a huge fan of post rock, I have spent the last few years immersing myself in as much content as I could squeeze out of the genre, delving as deeply as humanly possible into each subgenre and style. In some ways I feel as though I have overindulged, ending up in a mindset where this kind of music has become a little stale. Because of this, I’ve listened to a lot less ‘post’ releases than I have done in recent years, and in some cases (to my shame) I have felt as though I was falling out of love with the whole idea.
Perhaps I just needed a little headspace, because when I heard the new album from Sagor Som Leder Mot Slutet I felt the feelings of old come flooding right back. Here was an album that began to move me from the first track as I was immediately engulfed by its weeping guitars and driving riffs. It is the band’s third full length effort, conveniently titled III, and is currently perched proudly as one of 2022’s best records full stop. How then has this album managed to do what nothing else has this year?
The long-winded answer is that this album still has me wondering exactly what it is. It isn’t as heavy as the kind of records we’ve heard from Cult Of Luna, Celeste et al. but it carries a certain bite which differentiates it from the more ambient spectrum of post rock. It dives into deep, chasmic swathes of melancholic noise before climbing into steep and gargantuan peaks. It swells in darkness and bursts into light. The soundscape is truly Himalayan, featuring a horizon littered with towering relief and magnitude.
When listening I can feel myself being swept along in the same way that I was by hubris.’ Metempsychosis last year, or perhaps even in the same way as We Lost The Sea’s Departure Songs. It has reminded me that post rock can be so much more than the sum of its parts and that when executed well, it really can feel like a defining experience.
“Solaris” is probably the stand out track. Guitars slam and crunch before falling into achingly beautiful tremolo, backed by a splash of drums that form a perfect cacophony. It leads into “Astra” which starts with ambient beginnings before growing into yet another monumental track. Each jigsaw piece on this album is perfectly slotted together, helping the listening experience to feel like a well-calculated journey. The Swedes expertly navigate such a wide variety of terrain with pure finesse. When posed the question “What makes this album different from anything else released this year?” you heard the complicated answer earlier on. On a simpler note, the detail simply doesn’t matter. The bottom line is, this album will make you feel.