Pelican Announce European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster


Chicago stalwarts of heavy post-rock Pelican will head to Europe in April for their first tour abroad since 2013. Last time they went over, it was to play Stoned from the Underground and herald the arrival of their 2013 full-length, Forever Becoming (review here). This time, it’s to support last year’s The Cliff EP — though they may well have an album coming out that will be announced between now and the spring — and they’ll take part in Deserfest in Berlin and London as well as other shows and fests around the UK and Europe.

Last month, you might recall, Pelican went out for a Midwest weekender alongside Goatsnake. The moral of the story? Pelican do awesome shit.

Here’s the PR wire with details:

pelican european tour 2016

PELICAN Announces First European Tour Since 2013

Chicago’s celebrated torchbearers of instrumental metal, PELICAN, will return to Europe for a string of dates this Spring. This marks the band’s first European tour since the successes of their innovative 2013 LP Forever Becoming and 2015’s 4-track EP, The Cliff — both released via Southern Lord — and their 2014 Arktika live 2xLP. PELICAN will take their dense, meditative sounds, affectual melodies, and distorted atmospheric prowess to Germany, the UK, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic and Denmark, including performances at Desertfest, Young Team Festival, A Colossal Weekend and more.

PELICAN European Tour Dates:
4/28/2016 Astra- Berlin, DE @ Desertfest
4/29/2016 MTC Club – Koln, DE
4/30/2016 Electric Ballroom – London, UK @ Desertfest
5/01/2016 The Fleece – Bristol, UK
5/02/2016 Audio – Glasgow, UK
5/03/2016 Gorilla – Manchester, UK
5/04/2016 Le Grand Mix – Lille, FR
5/05/2016 La Maroquinerie – Paris, FR
5/06/2016 Dunk! Festival – Zottegem, BE
5/07/2016 Les Trinitaires – Metz, FR @ Young Team Festival
5/08/2016 Rote Fabrik – Zurich, CH
5/10/2016 Arena – Vienna, AT
5/11/2016 NOD – Prague, CZ
5/12/2016 Hafenklang – Hamburg, DE
5/13/2016 A Colossal Weekend – Copenhagen, DK

PELICAN’s most recent release, The Cliff EP was released in February, featuring new track as well as four remixes of “The Cliff” from the band’s What We All Come To Need Southern Lord LP, including remakes by Justin Broadrick (of Godflesh, Jesu), Aaron Harris and Bryant Clifford Meyer of ISIS/Palms, and, for only the second time in their fourteen year career, vocals. Allen Epley (Shiner, The Life and Times) once again returns to the band’s fold to transform, in a complementary manner, the concept and overall outcome of what we have come to know as PELICAN.

Pelican, The Cliff (2015)

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Desertfest Berlin 2016: Pelican and Mondo Drag Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

desertfest berlin 2016 header

I know we’re talking about Desertfest Berlin 2016 here, and that’s right on, but are you looking forward to the new Mondo Drag? You should be. The West Coast psych-proggers have outdone themselves on their upcoming third album — also a debut of sorts; I’ll explain in an eventual review — The Occultation of Light, which is due out Feb. 26 on RidingEasy. There will be much more to say about it before it gets here, and certainly before the band heads abroad to play Desertfest Berlin 2016, Roadburn and presumably other gigs — London doesn’t seem unlikely — but yeah, keep an eye and an ear out, because it’s one you won’t want to miss.

Speaking of London, Pelican were also recently added to that incarnation of Desertfest 2016, along with a great many others, and as the spring fests continue to take shape, it looks more and more like expansive ideals of what’s heavy, from sludge to stoner to doom to post-rock to psych to noise and beyond, have taken full root, and to see the full lineup for Desertfest Berlin 2016, that’s clearly to the benefit of all.

Dig it:

desertfest berlin 2016 poster

Desertfest Berlin 2016 – PELICAN, ASTEROID, SPIRITUAL BEGGARS, MONDO DRAG added to the line-up!

If you follow us on Facebook, you have probably seen we announced 2 new bands on Thursday: Asteroid and Spiritual Beggars! It’s now time for 2 others… the last ones for 2015: instrumental metal standard bearers Pelican, and heavy psych mavens Mondo Drag!! We hope you like them as much as we do!

We have now unveiled 22 bands (that you can check below), and our 2016 edition looks already amazing! We will be back with news and announcements in mid-January, but meanwhile, order one of the last Hard-Ticket and you’ll get a nice Desertfest beenie for Christmas :)

We wish you all happy holidays!

Regular HARD TICKETS or E-TICKETS can be purchased on our WEBSITE for 85€ + taxes! We were sold out last year about 7 weeks ahead, and we think we may top that this year so DO NOT WAIT if you want to be part of our 2016 edition!

X-Mas Special Offer: By ordering one of the very last HARD TICKETS, you get a free Desertfest beenies! Only 25 left!

Mondo Drag, “Out of Sight”

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Desertfest London 2016: Blood Ceremony, Oranssi Pazuzu, Witchsorrow, Bast and More Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

desertfest london 2016 header

Seems like a few festivals aren’t ready to let the year end quite yet, which is fair enough. Desertfest London 2016 has unveiled a slew of new acts for its lineup — enough to fill a whole other stage and then some — and along with Monomyth, who were previously announced as taking part in Desertfest Berlin as well, the DesertScene crew has seen fit to bring aboard Pelican, Blood CeremonyBastWitchsorrowDusertoidLionize, impressive upstarts Sunder and others. It was a packed bill before. Now it’s a more packed bill. Funny how that works.

Here’s the latest with Happy Holiday wishes from the PR wire:

desertfest london 2016 poster

Pelican, Asteroid, Blood Ceremony and more added to the DESERTFEST LONDON 2016 lineup!

Jingle bells, jingle bells… The DESERTFEST LONDON promoters have one more treat for you before Christmas, with thirteen more bands confirmed to play the festival in Camden this spring, including the Old Empire Stage lineup that will be hosted at the Electric Ballroom on the Sunday.

Like the previous edition, DESERTFEST LONDON 2016 will broaden its horizon by bringing an alternative darker edge to the lineup. London’s independent promoters Old Empire will thus take over the Electric Ballroom on May 1st, with industrial metallers GODFLESH headlining the stage, plus five fantastically heavy acts including BLOOD CEREMONY, ORANSSI PAZUZU, BAST and WITCHSORROW.

As a mouth-watering addition, ten other delightful acts are added to the weekend, with Illinois legendary dream rock merchants PELICAN, Ukraine’s finest stoner trio STONED JESUS, as well as grooving rock’n’rollers LIONIZE, French proto-rockers SUNDER, UK’s post-doom outfit OHHMS, DUSTEROID, MONOMYTH, BLACK PUSSY and POSEIDON.

April 29th to May 1st in Camden, London (UK)
Weekend tickets available AT THIS LOCATION

Current lineup is as follows:

Pelican, “Immutable Dusk” live on Sound Opinions

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Goatsnake and Pelican Midwest Shows Start Dec. 12

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

If you ever want proof that the universe is an uncaring, relentlessly cruel void — first of all, look anywhere — I humbly submit the fact that Goatsnake and Pelican are doing shows and I won’t be there to see it. I don’t know much about Ferndale, Michigan, other than it’s someplace outside of Detroit, but I’ve never been more interested to tourist my ass out there and find out more. “Seeing Goatsnake” is an item that remains on my existential wishlist, where it has remained since they started doing shows again half a decade ago, and to catch them with Pelican on the latter’s home turf, well, that sounds just fine. I think I’d enjoy that very much.

Oh good, I just made myself sad. At least I’m consistent.

Take it away, PR wire:

goatsnake pelican tour

GOATSNAKE And PELICAN Midwest US Tour Begins Next Week

Southern Lord labelmates GOATSNAKE and PELICAN will embark on their four-city Midwest US mini-tour next week, marking GOATSNAKE’s first time ever performing in the region and PELICAN’s return to towns which they’ve not played in quite some time.

Uniting Southern California’s soulful doom quartet, GOATSNAKE, and Chicago’s atmospheric post-rock artisans, PELICAN, this special run of tour dates will begin in Indianapolis on December 12th. The first show also features Bongripper and more, and will be followed by a post-show afterparty at Kuma’s Corner, where the bands’ prior special burgers will be made available as a trio of miniatures, the event also featuring DJ Sets by Greg Anderson of GOATSNAKE and Dustin Boltjes of Skeletonwitch. The rest of the tour sees both bands playing to fans in Columbus on December 13th, Ferndale on the 14th and the final show hitting Chicago on the 15th with Cloakroom and Canadian Rifle. Since prior announcements, the Chicago show has been moved from Thalia Hall to the more intimate caves of the Empty Bottle

12/12/2015 5th Quarter Lounge – Indianapolis, IN w/ Bongripper, Rlyeh, Sacred Leather
12/13/2015 Ace of Cups – Columbus, OH
12/14/2015 The Loving Touch – Ferndale, MI
12/15/2015 Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL w/ Cloakroom, Canadian Rifle

Goatsnake, Black Age Blues (2015)

Pelican, The Cliff EP (2015)

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Goatsnake and Pelican Announce Dec. Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

goatsnake (Photo by Samantha Muljat)


Well shit. I guess, if you’re Goatsnake, and you’ve never played Chicago before, the band you want to team up with to do so is Pelican. The reunited riffers’ sporadic touring to support their 2015 return full-length, Black Age Blues (review here), will continue in December as they hit spots in the Midwest to coincide with their previously announced West and East Coast shows. Europe next year? I wouldn’t be surprised to find them at Temples or some other fests around in the spring, but nothing’s been revealed in that regard as yet. Seems like they have plenty to keep them busy in the meantime.

And fucking Pelican. You’d think they would get exhausted being awesome all the time, but nope. Their latest EP, 2015’s The Cliff, is right on as ever.

To the PR wire:

goatsnake pelican bongripper

GOATSNAKE And PELICAN Confirm Midwest December Tour Dates

Southern California’s raging doom quartet, GOATSNAKE, will join up with atmospheric post-rock artisans and Southern Lord labelmates, PELICAN, for a run of tour dates through the Midwest US together this December, marking GOATSNAKE’s first time performing in the region.

The GOATSNAKE and PELICAN tour festivities will begin in Indianapolis on December 12th, the show also featuring Bongripper and more. Post-show, an afterparty has been scheduled to take place at the local Kuma’s Corner spot, where the bands’ prior special burgers will be made available as a trio of miniatures, the event also featuring DJ Sets by Greg Anderson of GOATSNAKE and Dustin Boltjes of Skeletonwitch. The next show takes place on December 13th in Columbus, followed by Ferndale on the 14th and Chicago for the final show on the 15th with Cloakroom and Canadian Rifle.

9/24/2015 Catalyst Atrium – Santa Cruz, CA w/ Black Breath, Battalion Of Saints, Obliterations
9/26/2015 Highline – Seattle, WA w/ Black Breath, Battalion Of Saints, Obliterations
9/27/2015 Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR w/ Black Breath, Battalion Of Saints, Obliterations
10/11/2015 TRIX – Antwerp, BE @ Desertfest
10/13/2015 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA w/ YDI, Big|Brave
10/14/2015 Black Cat – Washington, DC w/ YDI, Big|Brave
10/15/2015 Saint Vitus Bar – Brooklyn, NY w/ YDI, Big|Brave
11/19-22/2015 Le Guess Who? Festival – Utrecht, NL
12/12/2015 5th Quarter Lounge – Indianapolis, IN w/ Pelican, Bongripper, Rlyeh, Sacred Leather
12/13/2015 Ace of Cups – Columbus, OH w/ Pelican
12/14/2015 The Loving Touch – Ferndale, MI w/ Pelican
12/15/2015 ThaliaHall – Chicago, IL w/ Pelican, Cloakroom, Canadian Rifle

PELICAN Tour Dates:
10/25/2015 High Noon – Madison, WI w/ Zebras, Jon Mueller
12/12/2015 5th Quarter Lounge – Indianapolis, IN w/ Goatsnake, Bongripper, Rlyeh, Sacred Leather
12/13/2015 Ace of Cups – Columbus, OH w/ Goatsnake
12/14/2015 The Loving Touch – Ferndale, MI w/ Goatsnake
12/15/2015 Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL w/ Goatsnake, Cloakroom, Canadian Rifle
12/18/2015 Sticky Fingers – Gothenburg, SE @ Scorched Tundra Festival

Goatsnake, Black Age Blues (2015)

Pelican, The Cliff EP (2015)

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audiObelisk Transmission 033

Posted in Podcasts on December 24th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Click Here to Download


Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

The end of any year always brings a barrage of best-ofs. Lists, radio shows, award ceremonies, and even podcasts. What no one tells you about any of them is there’s no fucking way they can ever be comprehensive. My Top 20 list? It was damn good and I worked really hard putting it together, but was I toiling under the delusion that it was going to be an accurate and complete representation of everything 2013 had on offer? Hell no. That’s why we have the Readers Poll, the Albums Unheard list (still to come) and all the rest of the wrap-up stuff.

So as you check out this happens-to-be-the-last-of-2013 podcast, please keep in mind that though it does feature a sampling of some of 2013’s most killer songs from some of its most killer albums, it’s not at all intended to be a total roundup of this year. It’s a part of it, and I’m cool with that if you are.

It’s Xmas Eve as I put this together, and it’s looking like this’ll be my only post for today, so I’ll take another opportunity to wish you a happy holiday if you’re celebrating. Please be safe and enjoy time with family, gift-giving, and of course, good music. I don’t know if grandma would really get down to some Phantom Glue, but seems like it’s worth a shot.

First Hour:
Clutch, “D.C. Sound Attack” from Earth Rocker (2013)
Monster Magnet, “Last Patrol,” from Last Patrol (2013)
Church of Misery, “Cranley Gardens (Dennis Andrew Nilsen)” from Thy Kingdom Scum (2013)
Phantom Glue, “Bow in the Dust” from A War of Light Cones (2013)
Pelican, “The Tundra” from Forever Becoming (2013)
Young Hunter, “Trail of Tears” from Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain (2013)
All Them Witches, “The Death of Coyote Woman” from Lightning at the Door (2013)
Black Thai, “Doors to Nowhere” from Season of Might (2013)
Gozu, “Charles Bronson Pinchot” from The Fury of a Patient Man (2013)
Geezer, “Ancient Song” from Gage EP (2013)
T.G. Olson, “Unsung Everyone” from Hell’s Half Acre (2013)

Second Hour:
Fuzz, “One” from Fuzz (2013)
Wooden Shjips, “Servants” from Back to Land (2013)
Fever Dog, “Lady Snowblood/Child of the Netherworlds,” from Lady Snowblood (2013)
Samsara Blues Experiment, “Brahmin’s Lament” from Waiting for the Flood (2013)
Vista Chino, “Planets 1 & 2” from Peace (2013)
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, “Valley of the Dolls” from Mind Control (2013)
The Golden Grass, “One More Time” from One More Time b/w Tornado (2013)
Beelzefuzz, “Lonely Creatures” from Beelzefuzz (2013)

Total running time: 1:59:04

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 033


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Live Review: Pelican, Kings Destroy and Phantom Glue in Allston, 10.19.13

Posted in Reviews on October 21st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

On the televisions in the back of the Great Scott, the Boston Red Sox were working their way into the World Series, so the air was tense at first and jovial later on as Pelican came north from two Brooklyn CMJ shows for a sold-out gig with Kings Destroy and Boston’s own Phantom Glue: A bill of three bands I’d very much been looking forward to seeing. Pelican‘s Forever Becoming was still fresh in my head from reviewing it last week, so I was excited to see some of those songs live, and with memories of the mastery they displayed last year at Roadburn, it was all the better to catch them in a smaller space. Kings Destroy had an added element of intrigue for me, catching them out of their native NYC habitat, and since Phantom Glue were pretty high on my Boston-bands-I-gotta-see list (which, frankly, I can’t believe I haven’t made a post of yet), there was no way to lose. It had been a great day and it would be a great night.

As I’d learned the last time I was at the venue, it was dark. That seems to be how it goes. O’Brien’s, P.A.’s Lounge, Radio, Great Scott. All very cool places with no lights on. Fair enough, I guess. Nobody’s putting on shows for the people who show up with cameras, so there you go. Hardly impeded my enjoyment of Phantom Glue, who, again, I’d been anticipating a live encounter with more or less since I moved. Their vinyl-only summer ’13 outing, A War of Light Cones (review here), was a beast, and live, songs like “Perils” and “Biocult” only came across as meaner and rawer, the dueling barks of guitarist Matt Oates and bassist Nick Wolf tempering noise rock cruelties with modern metal sense of growl. It quickly became apparent that I was right to have high expectations for their set.

In a way, their t-shirts said it all. Wolf had Disfear, Oates had Karp, guitarist Mike Gowell had Harvey Milk and in back, drummer Kyle Rasmussen bore the logo of a demolition derby. So between them all, you had d-beat hardcore punk metal mixed with West Coast noise, unhinged creative doom and sheer destructive mechanical force for its own sake. I highly doubt the four guys in the band got together and were like, “Okay, tonight we’re going to go with the band-summation wardrobe,” but I’ll be damned if it didn’t work out that way anyhow, and for what it’s worth, their identity seemed to have been long since carved from these elements. They were comfortable on stage, delivered a powerful (and loud) set, and they’re a local act I’m very much looking forward to getting to know better. For even just a first time seeing them, though, they impressed.

And to have them go on right before Kings Destroy as well emphasized a clear difference in my mind — namely that between aggression and confrontation. Phantom Glue were aggressive; a heavy, move-the-air kind of band that lacked nothing in presence. Kings Destroy, their New York hardcore pedigree seeping through in a way that you’d say was in spite of them if they didn’t seem to enjoy it so much, are confrontational, directly challenging their audience. In Brooklyn, which is by far where I’ve seen them most, one almost takes this as a given. In Boston, when vocalist Steve Murphy jumped off the stage and went into the crowd at the end of “Blood of Recompense” from this year’s A Time of Hunting, it was more of a surprise. That’s not to say New England doesn’t have its own hardcore lineage — you can’t walk through Harvard Square without being spin-kicked at least twice — just that the approach is different.

Kings Destroy loved it, and speaking of kicks, guitarist Carl Porcaro got one from fellow six-stringer Chris Skowronski to wake him up as the solo in “Medusa” went long. They were loose, having played with Pelican in New York the night before, but dead on all the same, bassist Aaron Bumpus playing through a Sunn head I’ve seen smoke rise from the back of before with a tone that only made the already-full room more temperate. As ever, I fucking loved “The Toe,” which I’d argue is the transitional moment between the more straightforward riffery of the Maple Forum alums’ first album and the gleeful weirdness of cuts like “Shattered Pattern” and “Turul” from the second, taking cues from multiple impulses and setting them to drummer Rob Sefcik‘s steady groove. “Turul” wasn’t aired at Great Scott, but “Shattered Pattern” followed “Old Yeller” as the second song they played, which seemed bold for how quiet parts of it are, but “The Toe,” “Casse-Tête” and “The Mountie” set a steady roll that continued from there on out as they got more and more riotous toward their finish.

I’ve never regretted watching them play — their confrontationalism fascinates all the more outside New York; it’s fun to watch them catch people off guard — and by the time they were done, monitors had been toppled, P.A. speakers pushed, and Murphy had gone so far into the crowd that a path had to be cut for him to put the mic back on the stage. Not that Pelican needed it, being instrumental, but one doesn’t want to wander off with these things either. I don’t remember exactly when the grand slam put the Red Sox ahead of the Tigers, but I’m pretty sure it was between Kings Destroy and Pelican, and since that fits my narrative of the night better, I’m gonna go with it. Whenever it was, a cheer went up in the back of the venue and celebration — by that I mean more drinking — began. Despite a shared backline, Pelican took a while to get going. When they did, it seemed like the place was pretty well sauced. Not a complaint.

Also jammed. I old-man reminisced about seeing Pelican at the Knitting Factory in Manhattan nearly a decade ago (another dude up front said he’d been there as well, which was cool), but when I turned around, the room was heads the whole way back. Sure enough, a sold out show. The Chicago four-piece of guitarists Trevor de Brauw and Dallas Thomas, bassist Bryan Herweg and drummer Larry Herweg got underway with “The Creeper” from 2009’s What We all Come to Need (review here), but it was the one-two-three of “Deny the Absolute,” “The Tundra” and “Immutable Dusk” from Forever Becoming that hooked the crowd, myself included, with a tonally rich and unrepentantly heavy thrust that seemed to revel in its own dynamic of chugging, locked-in nod and periods of pastoral ambience. Though it’s a “duh” kind of thing to say for a band who’s been around for roughly 13 years, they were noteworthy in how tight they were, and though de Brauw got on a mic a couple times to thank the crowd for coming out and near the near the end of the set said it meant a lot to the band to sell out the place after not coming to town for so long, most of their time on stage was an undulating sea of open-feeling grooves.

Whatever else you can say about Pelican, they’ve never stopped doing things on their own terms — remember that time they found a singer and became the biggest band in the world? Nope, you don’t — so the loyalty engendered in their listeners makes sense, and justify by continuing to develop their approach over the years. One can trace their sound through the bevvy of splits and EPs and use their five full-lengths to date as a landmark, but live, it becomes more about the experience of where they are than how they got there. They dipped back to 2007’s City of Echoes to close out with “Dead between the Walls,” but that was as far back as they went. Last year’s Ataraxia/Taraxis EP (review here) was represented with “Lathe Biosas” and “Parasite Colony,” which like the three from Forever Becoming, appeared in succession as though to demonstrate that the flow of Pelican records is intended to mirror that of the live show and vice versa, and returning to the new album, “The Cliff” rested comfortably on Bryan‘s bassline as the airier guitars moved easily into the emergent churn of “Strung up from the Sky.”

By then, if you weren’t lost in it, you probably had called it a night already. I watched the end of Pelican‘s set further back, on the edge of the crowd swell, and found it no less immersive than it had been in front of the stage. “Strung up from the Sky” gave way to the galloping “Dead between the Walls,” breaking to atmospherics before building to a satisfying final churn and crashing noisy into its final moments. There was a requisite snap back to reality after the amps got shut off, and I watched as the crowd streamed out of the Great Scott and into the vomit-strewn baseball-loving Saturday night Allston street that awaited, got on line to pick up a CD of Forever Becoming — also buying a double of 2009’s Ephemeral EP, the title-track of which they’d played — and then likewise headed out.

Extra thanks to The Patient Mrs., Jaime Traba, Steve Murphy, Trevor de Brauw, and you for reading. This one was a special kind of night. Like I said, it was dark, but there are a few more pics after the jump.

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Pelican, Forever Becoming: Portrait of a Work in Progress

Posted in Reviews on October 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Their fifth album, Pelican‘s Forever Becoming is noteworthy immediately for being the band’s first outing since their 2001 inception to not feature the guitar work of Laurent Schroeder-Lebec. Schroeder-Lebec made his last recorded appearance with the band on 2012’s Ataraxia/Taraxis EP, and has since been replaced by The Swan King‘s Dallas Thomas, who joins founding guitarist Trevor Shelley de Brauw and the rhythm section of bassist Bryan Herweg and drummer Larry Herweg in one of the last decade’s most quietly influential groups. Not a bad gig, and while I wouldn’t want to trivialize the inevitable change in dynamic that losing an original member after more than a decade of playing together would invariably bring about in any band, Forever Becoming (released on Southern Lord) at least shows Pelican have weathered the storm well in terms of holding onto their original sonic mission and blending post-rock atmospherics and open-spaciousness with unbridled tonal crunch and low-end weight derived from doom and heavy rock. In that regard particularly, Forever Becoming should offer thrills to longtime followers left cold by the pastoral wanderings of 2009’s What We all Come to Need (review here), as it pares down some (not all) of that record’s airiness in favor of a heavier push, not quite as much as did 2007’s City of Echoes coming off of 2005’s The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw and Pelican’s landmark full-length debut, 2003’s Australasia, but it’s worth noting that though tracks like “Immutable Dusk” and “The Tundra” have their ambient stretches and that Forever Becoming‘s 51 minutes aren’t lacking for atmosphere, it is at times a surprisingly heavy record. Since it’s been four years since the last one — twice Pelican‘s pace up to this point — I’m not inclined to chalk all the difference up to the acquisition of Thomas for the second guitar slot, but it’s a shift that’s apparent even on LP bookends “Terminal” and “Perpetual Dawn,” which are about as dreamy as Pelican get here.

It’s the former cut given the duty of opening Forever Becoming, and it does so with foreboding tom hits from Larry that come accompanied by rumble and lurching, mechanized-sounding feedback (my mind went immediately to The Book of Knots). Between the title and the bleakness of the song itself, it’s a dark note to start off on, even with a few peaceful seconds of softer guitar before the thud and distorted rumble resumes, giving a quiet lead-in for the rush of “Deny the Absolute,”  probably the fastest track on the album and one that engages quickly with a post-hardcore feel, discernible structure, and that peculiar intensity — “hurry up and think!” — that Pelican have developed as their own over the course of their time together and many others have tried to emulate to varying levels of success. Already the band have established an overarching flow and they stick to it for the duration, as “Deny the Absolute” gives way to the somewhat slower but similarly constructed “The Tundra,” which breaks in the middle for a moment of atmospheric exploration before resuming its crushing course in one of Forever Becoming‘s most satisfying linear builds. A turn comes with the more angular riffing of “Immutable Dusk,” but Thomas and de Brauw‘s guitars work well together such that the movement into a more open-vibing “chorus” makes sense coming off the prior progression and leading to a lengthier, more subdued post-rock break, which patiently rebuilds over the next several minutes — fluid, in motion as it mounts tension — until just before five minutes into the total 7:13, a vicious chug emerges that is traded off one more time before the song’s real apex arrives to cap the linear drive, drums, bass and guitars all headed in a single direction and even injecting some last-minute churn into what makes for an exciting finale, leaving the quiet opening of “Threnody” to give a breather before  it gets underway with warm, prominent low end and a bounce that seems to be culled from a more traditional heavy rock feel, but which is developed over the next several minutes into an otherworldly exploration, bass and drums holding the momentum together in the second half while Ebow guitar adds echoing depth to the mix.

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