Monday, 23 January 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Cranial - “Dark Towers / Bright Lights”


By: Charlie Butler

Album Type: Full Length
Dare Released: 10/02/2017
Label: Moment Of Collapse


Cranial have honed their Earth-shattering attack to razor-sharp perfection and expand the scope of their music to galactic levels of grandeur.  The band are a relentless riff engine, churning out a constant flow of thick sludge, like Neurosis channelling the almighty crunch of early Mastodon.  Dark Towers / Bright Lights” does not break down any musical barriers but it is poised to blow your mind with its dark intensity.


Dark Towers / Bright Lights” CS//CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Dark
2). Towers
3). Bright
4). Lights

 The Review:

The debut LP from Würzburg’s Cranial was high on my list of most anticipated heavy releases of 2017. “Dark Towers / Bright Lights” delivers on these high expectations with four huge cuts of intelligent sludge.

Apart from the brief electronic passages that introduce each track, the band don’t deviate far from the sonic blueprint laid out on their killer debut EP “Dead Ends”. Instead Cranial have honed their Earth-shattering attack to razor-sharp perfection and expand the scope of their music to galactic levels of grandeur.

All of the hallmarks of post-metal are present here; epic ten minute compositions, seismic shifts in dynamics, crushing riffs, however what sets Cranial apart from their peers is the venom in their delivery, all of the smooth edges have been filed away to leave only the heaviest and nastiest elements. The band are a relentless riff engine, churning out a constant flow of thick sludge, like Neurosis channelling the almighty crunch of early Mastodon. This is best exemplified by the cataclysmic ending of “Dark”. Just when you think the dust has settled on the track, an ominous riff slowly moves into view which, when fully unleashed, feels like it could level all buildings in a ten mile radius, like a Godzilla-sized version of Sumac.

There are quieter moments in amongst the carnage which serve to enrich the atmosphere. The band pair delayed guitars with glacial doom and harsh vocals to great effect in ”Dark” and create a hazy cloud of menace atop dirty metronomic basslines in the mid-section of “Bright” to heighten the drama. All of this only serves to heighten the colossal impact when they return to maximum volume.

Cranial take a genre that now often sounds slick and safe and strip it back to its raw essence to make it furious and alive once more. “Dark Towers / Bright Lights” does not break down any musical barriers but it is poised to blow your mind with its dark intensity.

Dark Towers / Bright Lights” is available preorder/buy here

 Band info: facebook


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