girih - Ikigai

11 Oct 2022 - Knut

Post Rock, Post Metal, Instrumental Metal | dunk!records / A Thousand Arms Music | Release date: 14 Oct 2022

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With their sophomore album girih swirl you through massive post rock sonics while dipping into Hard Rock, fuzzy Stoner and Post Metal (to mention some). This is a release that lifts you up to the highest cinematic emotions and drags you down to thunderous dense sonics with its twists and turns. The trio from Manchester, New Hampshire, has made an album that really show what “post-music” is about: genre-defying while at the same time being recognizable within the genre. That sounds absurd, but that is how it is.

It is up to you to fill the tracks with meaning using either the track´s title or your cinematic imagination as you glide through the diverse and multi-layered music made ‘just’ by drums, bass and guitar. It is impressively well done from the first glimmering guitar strings until the music fades away fifty minutes later. Oh yes, the first track ”The Mirror” opens with a twinkling clean guitar while the other instruments are whispering in the background waiting to step forward. The drums slowly give the signal that something is going to happen very soon. And it is - an engaging high-pitched Post Rock guitar joins in before a sudden shift into Heavy Metal staccato pace. The high-pitched guitar glissades into Post Rock sonics, heavy and eased up at the same time. The drums are controlling the shifting pace and the unexpected turns until all instruments have joined a dense heavy wall of sound ending.

This is how they build their music over the next tracks and whirling the listener through the soundscapes they make, through heavy onslaughts mixed with yearning high crescendos. Like the track ” The Door” where the music slowly fades in with clear guitars and a calming cello-like sound. The drums and cymbals hold a slow pace echoing over vast tremolo guitars underneath. The occasional heavy distorted bursts drown out the high-pitched guitar before the track opens up with Post Rock sounds as the bass and drums lay the foundation for the sonics created by both high-pitched guitars and heavy distorted guitars. It is not really Post Rock, it is not Heavy Metal, it is a perfected amalgam of both, flawlessly crafted and executed.

Some sections of the tracks on this album have an ethereal and fragile beauty, like the opening of ”The Hand” where the gleaming echoing clean guitar seems to exist in a vast soundscape until a fuzzy guitar and the bass drum close the transparent sonics and the shape of the track slowly begins to form. But first there is a breather before an onslaught of sound that mixes heaviness and brightness driving the sonics forward. A fuzzy bass joins to break up the track before a captivating melody rises up just to implode before once more rising up steadied by a fuzzy bass. The guitars seem to join from all angles in different forms before being pushed out of the way by the bass drum being hit faster and faster and suddenly the track flows over into the next one, ”The Ring”

”The Ring” is connected with the previous track as the fuzz that opens it builds a wall the bass and drums cannot force their way around, but have to join and give rhythm and pace to the energetic music. The Post Rock sounds return, rise up and the music sweeps along, sometimes even in blast pace mode. A massive guitar-shaped soundscape opens up and lingers at a cliff´s edge before the dense wall of sound dissolves and the music slips into a vast plain with distant guitars and the rhythm section slowly stretching out the melodies and fading away before a new high-pitched onslaught.

One could compare girih to many other Post Rock bands, but as with the forerunners of the genre, girih has its own sound and its own way to create cinematic and enticing soundscapes combining the dense heaviness with yearning brightness. The album closes with ”The Hourglass” which unfurls with fuzzy bass and distorted arpeggios upon a slow Funeral Doom pace. The ethereal sonics unfold a vast multi-layered heavy Post Rock soundscape while building a wall of sound sliding forward. A snare drum leads an unexpected shift with far away guitars in tremolo mode coming in from different angles. While keeping the ethereal mode in the music, the sound-universe becomes denser with fast drumming until it, bit by bit, fades away with only a clean guitar. Because of the track´s title and how it unfolds and ends, a line in a Dave Cousins-song comes to mind: ”But who knows where the time goes, / When your time is running out”.