Ropes Inside A Hole - A Man And His Nature

13 Jan 2023 - Knut

Post-Rock | Voice of the Unheard/Shove Records | Release date: 10 Jan 2023

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The Italians of RIAH finally tell us, five years after their debut, what the acronym stands for. It really does not give more sense. Does it matter? No, not when the band has transformed and reformed itself, and releases a tremendous Post Rock album at the start of the year. This album quite literally contains everything a heavy Post Rock release should be about - passion, emotions, longing, yearning, solitude, joy, and immense reflective parts. And some more.

The, some more is, they have incorporated instruments into their music that are a bit unusual for Post Rock: cello, sax, violin, and added keyboard. These give extra texture and fulfill the musical endeavor they have set out on. And the icing on the cake is the addition of vocalist Daniel Loefgren (Suffocate For Fuck Sake) as an active member of the band which thus becomes an Italian/Swedish band.

Some instrumental Post Rock bands have experimented with adding vocals and many (in my ears) have failed. But not here. Loefgren’s vocals become a beautifully integrated and integral part of the music, clearly noticeable on the third track ”Loss And Grief” where the music evolves around the ethereal vocals. They complement each other perfectly. All the instruments embrace the vocals and lead it gently forward. Done this way, the voice becomes an instrument in itself, especially when it is vocalizing in line with the instruments. This track ends in a prolonged multilayered crescendo bleeding emotion all over the immersed listener. There really is never a dull moment throughout the album.

A trademark of Post Rock crescendos is that they seldom are airless or dense as Post Metal ones often are (to great delight!), but the former emanate light to give our reflection, hope and yearning time to grow. This is certainly true throughout this whole album. When they hit the distortion pedals all at once, they do not pull down a dark curtain, they widen the scope of the music to give room for cinematic soundscapes and emotions. This is so well done on the first track ”Distance“ where the angelic, ethereal vocals rise up through the midst of comfortable music to provide even more comfort. As the song slowly moves forward, the soundscape widens to embrace the vocals with deep drums and bass, and clear-sounding guitars. Then the whole soundscape is gracefully lifted upward by a crescendo of distorted guitars pushed by deep bass and stead-fast drums. High-pitched guitars slip in and out of the cascading lucid guitars. It is like the glistening rays of a thousand distant stars on the dark sky.

The mellow cello that appears in the opening of the first track ”Distance” gives a mode of both depth and light in line with the guitars. And the same sublime effects emanate from the saxophone on ”Feet In The Swamp, Gaze To The Sky” when it soars among strumming guitar radiating a mood of loneliness within its interaction with the guitars and the bass. The music slowly glides forward until it is joined by drums to give it more pace. The saxophone is flawlessly placed between the guitars and sometimes it soars above them and takes the melody away. The guitars slowly build up and ebb and flow driven by bass and drums until it simmers down to a part that seeps a cautious mood. Then the sonics are lifted up to a star-gazing part leaving the saxophone behind making way for the synth to accompany a clean guitar.

One cannot talk about this album without mentioning the outstanding drum and bass work and how it sometimes drives the music. ”Others Are Gone. I Dont Care” is one track on which the versatile drumming stands out most. The track opens with bass drums and deep-end bass surrounded by a strumming clear guitar, and we know a surge is imminent and when it comes it is such a release, not at least because of the run-away drumming with high-hat and cymbals. It becomes so fast that the versatile drumming gives you the feeling of holding your breath when the others are gone, just as the sonics ease up and turn into carefree playfulness and rise up once more for joy. The drummer drives the track forward, sustaining the other instruments and they are all pulled together towards the last heavy complex part of the track - a long multilayered stretch of engaging Post Rock.

Surely, with a twinkle in the eye, the band called the fifth song ”Overwhelmed”. It comes as close to an onslaught as you get in Post Rock. It opens fast-paced, heavy with distorted guitars and among them a single tremolo line gives texture. It builds and builds with heavy onslaughts divided by high-pitched guitars until a change of pace which is led by the rumbling bass driving the fast-paced versatile music forward until it slows down to a complex and reflective end after the “overwhelming” first section.

The album closes with ”Time To Sleep” where we once more are graced with angelic vocals surrounded by beautiful Post Rock sonics. This is a diverse song. A perfect ending to a perfect album. It shows how well and exciting Post Rock can be shifting between moods; the soft approach with gentle guitar plucking, and special effects on the vocals before building an ethereal distorted elongated crescendo that ends with echoing the passions the whole album encompasses.