Sunday 17 November 2013

Pelican - Forever Becoming - Album Review

Forever Becoming cover art

Pelican is a Post-Rock/Post-Metal Band from Chicago, IL, USA

The members are:

Trevor Shelley de Brauw
Bryan Herweg
Larry Herweg
Dallas Thomas

Forever Becoming, the latest album from Pelican, is a beautiful and brutal experience. The first track, Terminal, sets the tone with sparse drums and feedback, dropping you in a what feels like a cavern with the band.  The quality of the recording really shines here, managing the difficult task of blending clarity with a live sound.  Deny the Absolute hits hard quickly, chugging through 5 1/2 minutes of heavy riffs.  This drives right into The Tundra, my favorite track on the album.  The band pairs an off-kilter feel with a perfect head-banging tempo, then cleans up into a dark melody before building to an absolutely crushing apex. 

This is the first album that new guitarist Dallas Thomas was a full-time member of Pelican for, and I think his influence can be heard best during Immutable Dusk.  The song goes through some familiar, Fire-in-our-throats-era spaces before building to a brutal ending.  Also, if you ever get the chance to enjoy this track's namesake Three Floyds Brewing black IPA, do it.  Delicious.

By the time you get to Threnody, the album it seems to take a bit of a brighter, more colorful turn, which feels totally intentional. Here, Larry Herwig's drums sound best, setting up front and center as the guitars and bass become more atmospheric and slow-building.  Again, the recording quality is superb, and I believe Forever Becoming is the best mixed Pelican album to date (recorded at Electrical Audio, in Chicago).

Things get a bit mathy with The Cliff, which decays into a pretty landscape before the thumping, almost Tool-like start of Vestiges. Within Vestiges the band builds-down in a typical post-metal way, continuing into Perpetual Dawn

The album ends on a much sunnier tone than it starts, and this is where Pelican shows off its songwriting skills.  The heavy riffs are unbeatable, but the contrast is something special.  Listening to the album start-to-finish has a narrative quality, and is their best effort to date. Go buy it.

Written by Ben Bowman

Thanks to Southern Lord Records for sending us a promo to review. Forever Becoming is available to buy now from all good stockists everywhere.

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