When Icarus Falls – Aegean

...a welter of guitars pianos, lung bursting growls and chord changes that turn slower than the Queen Mary, all happening in over ten minutes, no holds barred...


I know very little about post metal or post hardcore; and really don’t know how to go about describing this kind of music in anything approaching an authoritative manner. Frankly speaking I’ll start sounding like a right nobber or a flippant pseudo teacher type trying to add a bunch of theories and notions that just don’t belong in this record review. Sucks boo to that eh, kids?

What I should say is that this is a very enjoyable record. Forgive me as I tell you a bit about the frighteningly serious sounding inspiration for this LP: Aegean, apparently, is “based on the work of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a famous psychiatrist who described the five stages of dying: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance”. But despite all of this brow-furrowing stuff there’s nothing too noticeably complicated on the surface, the glistening walls of guitar set against a very precise, definitive beat are gatekeepers to some very attractive and listenable tracks.

And I mean, what on earth do you do in appreciation, apart from nod along with purpose till my neck hurts or invoke Tolkein or some part of the Kalevala? I’m none the wiser. Let’s just say that it’s fecking GOOD, this record; the imperious track Acheron – Eumenedes knocks holes in any preconceived ideas about how (I think) post metal should sound. The growling fuzzy guitars are the key throughout, I think, rich and oozing through this record like magma. What with the steady beats propping everything else up and an undoubted knack of a clear melody line and knowledge for when to kick the tempo up and on, the band can quickly get you sucked in to a world where you never thought you’d enter. I really should point out here that there is just something very satisfying about the drumming on this record, maybe because there aren’t that many fills, the minimal, sparse approach – say on What We Know Thus Far - allows everything to have a wider resonance and a clearer path.

There are good variations on the theme overall: and it’s not a record to keep churning out the noise. Asphodel Meadows Part 1 brings forth a more metallic, clashing sound redolent of riding bareback through Rohan, the wind running through your flowing locks and all that stuff…. Now and again we get unabashed melodrama: Tears of Daedalus is a weepy extraordinaire, more suited to some blockbuster movie about the Titanic sinking or something , and quite what this piano led power ballad, hung out to dry with washes and washes of synths, is doing here, on this record, can only be guessed at. The orc-like gruntings of the vocals are the only clue. Still, last track Hades brings us back to our senses with a welter of guitars pianos, lung bursting growls and chord changes that turn slower than the Queen Mary, all happening in over ten minutes, no holds barred. It’s quite breath-taking actually.

Well, who’d have thunk it? Give this a listen.