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Idre : Unforgiving Landscapes

Idre's clean-vocalled, atmospheric, funeral-paced, Post-Doom sophomore is a transcendent work.

Lethargic, sinister, liturgical, and cold; these are words that sum up 'Unforgiving Landscapes', the second album from Idre, a band from Oklahoma. From the gentle opening strums of the first track, 'Gold & Crude', there is a quietness that becomes omnipresent. Throughout the course of the album, the image of a monk having been exiled from his monastery, and wandering a desolate countryside in search for a new life, sticks with me. There is this religious, monastic atmosphere in the music, that is not brought on by any of the visuals of the album, but merely by the chanted vocal performance.

The vocals alone elevate this album from decent to perfect, for me. There is not a single grunt or scream to disturb the gray, trance-like flow of the music, which has become all too commonplace for music like this. Rather, the vocals consist entirely of choral, harmonic, clean tenor singing that is drenched in reverb, courtesy of the band's guitarist, Ryan Davis. The guitars and bass wash over like waves of Drone, amidst his dreamy vocal delivery and the tribal drum repetitions.

Whereas 'Gold & Crude' feels like a giant build-up from quiet to heavier, it feels as if the music reaches its peak during second, and final, track, 'Prison Skin'. Calm clean guitar strums open with Davis' chanted cleans harmonizing with an enchanting female voice, creating a full choir effect that sounds as if it could have been recorded in a cathedral. Whereas the first track teased going off the edge from Post-Rock/Drone territory into full riffs, the level of Doom is finally realized in this second half of the album.

At almost four minutes, a humongous wave of Sludge/Funeral Doom crashes with a deep, heavy, and noisy tone. Gigantic walls of noise vibrate with the movements of the guitars and bass, bringing to mind the kind of delivery one would hear from the guitars of 40 Watt Sun's first album, yet even darker and colder. The haunted choir of male and female singing returns into the mix, creating an angelic mixture of menacing Doom and heavenly voices. It's a convincing approach, which may have been attempted by others before, but has never quite reached a level like this.

In the final few minutes of the song, loud waves of Drone Metal, feedback, and spastic drumming wind down to one last riff of titanic sludgy Doom, before coming to a halt. Feedback rings on for a few moments before cutting out to silence.

I can't begin to put words into how much this album wowed me. Post-Metal and Funeral Doom are two styles that a couple of bands have hinted at combining, but never before have they been made into such a perfect marriage like this. I don't believe this was necessarily what Idre were setting out to do when they created these two long, eloquent eulogies. In spite of the lengthy run times, I never feel the songs drag or last any longer than they need to, but rather they flow very naturally and every moment takes as long as it should.

I could see a lot of people enjoying this, in spite of whether they enjoy Doom Metal or Post-Rock. This is a pinnacle release of utterly dejected, mournful music that transcends basic categorization or comparison. Simply, it must be heard.

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Reviewer's rating: 10/10


Tracklist :
1. Gold & Crude
2. Prison Skin

Duration : Approx. 44 minutes

Visit the Idre bandpage.

Reviewed on 2017-07-23 by Dante DuVall
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