"When the earth does quake, the riffs are filthy and gritty, and that bass guitar literally plucks chunks out of the earths crust. Beneath all this weight and power, there’s a melodic swell that brings the track together brilliantly. Awakening hits you like a boulder, slow to mid-tempo, then crushes and destroys all in its path"
The post-music landscape can be a rugged and unforgiving terrain for bands and musicians these days. It's often a congested and swollen community bulging with endless talent and promise. Just like the vast and expansive Himalayan Mountain ranges, there are bands who stand like giants, those who's icy summits will seldom be reached or equalled, bands that have earned the right to be forever renowned and idolised. With that being said however, there are plenty of other mighty peaks that cast a sweeping shadow across that jagged landscape with their ferocious presence and stature. They stand tall and broad-chested, reaching up and pointing towards the sky with great confidence and conviction. One of these such goliaths is the very aptly named Mountainscape, from Reading, in the UK.
With a new album about to be dropped mid-October, I sense tremors and deep rumblings forthcoming! Yes, Atoms Unfurling is coming and holy shit, it is colossal. Just take the opening track for instance, Awakening, which smoulders along like heavy dense fog, crawling below the mountain tops under thundering drums and dark synths. When the earth does quake, the riffs are filthy and gritty, and that bass guitar literally plucks chunks out of the earths crust. Beneath all this weight and power, there’s a melodic swell that brings the track together brilliantly. Awakening hits you like a boulder, slow to mid-tempo, then crushes and destroys all in its path. Then you have that black metal fury at the end which absolutely destroys! What an opening!
Transient is a well-chosen track to follow Awakening as it brings your heartrate down a beat or two with its mellow plucked chords and lightly rimmed percussions. When the riffs do hit however, the skies open, with a downpouring of energy and intensity, all under the watchful eye of that lead guitar that licks and leads the way, guiding the track through various tempos and cadences.
The title track, which for me, is up there with the best post-metal tracks of the year, Atoms Unfurling is next to blow your mind wide open. Deep brooding drums and celestial synths open the track, before those gritty, chugging riffs power ahead with more swirling lead guitars as back up. The energy and direction is then flipped on its head with some airy, Ranges style expanses and lush soundscapes, before changing gear once more and piledriving home more of those glorious, heavy riffs. Blast beats and black-metal undercurrents up the ante once more, swallowing you up in a maelstrom of post-metal ecstasy and fury, a musical nirvana for anyone who can appreciate heavy music.
Solace and Earthpulse are two more slabs of post-metal played with great confidence and credence. While Solace is more ethereal and almost cosmic in sound, without losing any of its power, that bass guitar in Earthpulse is the highlight for me, as it is in essence, the pulse and the heartbeat of the track. Both pieces of music are stellar and keep this juggernaut of an album moving in the right direction, all the way to the final track.
Patterns In The Mist unearths itself below a warm synthesised breeze, rising slowly under gentle percussions and proggy guitars. Once the dam walls breach however, the full weight and heft of Mountainscape cascades forward as those megalithic riffs smash and churn up everything in its path with rich, melodic grace and precision. The ability to generate such power and ferocity and underpin it with so much harmony and resonance is truly something to behold.
Mountainscape have laid down a serious marker with Atoms Unfurling. It is an absolute mammoth of an album. It’s imposing presence and intense atmospherics make it one of the great post-metal releases. Brace yourselves!