Wells Valley - Matter As Regent review




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Reviewer:
7.0

4 users:
7.50
Band: Wells Valley
Album: Matter As Regent
Release date: February 2015


01. Ghost Of You
02. Star Over A Wheel
03. Hands Are Void
04. Sacred Mountain
05. Plead For Light
06. Kingdom Of Salvation


Leaving an individual impression in post-metal is often a considerable challenge for many bands that attempt to navigate a genre prone to influence and avoid direct derivation. Portugal's Wells Valley manage this admirably for a fresh outfit, pursuing sounds that are of original design in a debut entitled Matter As Regent.

With a gradual yet technical delivery, their style is one that carefully borrows from its influences without outright imitation, and amalgamates them distinctively. The largely inevitable presence of Neurosis and Cult Of Luna are discernible beneath what is primarily a sound directed by a slowed Gojira-like drive in reverb laden guitar lines. Yet, no one influence in particular is obvious considering the record as a whole; there will likely be various segments which remind the listener of post-metal notables, but such is well buried in an individual avant-garde manner of song writing.

The high-end guitar precision is mixed atop a bed of bass, which is effectively audible and apparent in the metal to grant Matter As Regent its full tone. The production is well suited for music of this style; its dark atmosphere considerably enhanced by consistently noticeable bass work making its way along the tunes at the bottom of the mix, and even rises to the fore on occasion to leave a mark.

It's unusual to hear the application of a Voivod influence in a post-metal context, such as in tracks like "Star Over A Wheel," which is all the more evident in its first half as the clean vocal arrangements accompanying the unhurried technical rhythm section give off its strongest association. They then alternate to a hardcore delivery, reminding the listener more readily of the album's post-metal and atmospheric sludge currents, though they prove to be one of a variety of vocal styles employed for the record overall. These variances are greater than what is found in the instrumentation, which pursues a rather repetitive emphasis on distortion and reverb despite its avant-garde leanings, each of the six tracks following their own set patterns before long. The meanderings demonstrated by the opener "Ghost Of You" are more surprisingly structured within the context of a singular song than those to follow, examples such as "Hands Are Void" offering a more typical post-metal number closely reminiscent of Cult Of Luna's style of crescendo building. That said, there are enough avant-garde twists to keep things interesting and continually reaffirm originality.

The addition of distinguishing elements such as the sound of horns, thunder and unusual percussion found in the intro to "Kingdom Of Salvation" are a welcome point of further differentiation, and manage something of an association with the track title. Using such atmospheric enhancing aspects in more numerous instances across the record would heighten originality as much as alleviate the listener's experience by breaking any monotony established by the dominance of repetitious reverb. As they are, however, the songs themselves are nicely distinguishable from each other, making for an ambitiously varied track-list for a debut post-metal record.

Working out their strengths and developing upon them is something Wells Valley are evidently capable of, given what's on offer for a first studio attempt that indeed manages to find its own impression in post-metal.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Production: 8


 



Written on 13.02.2015 by R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.


Comments

Comments: 2   Visited by: 33 users
15.02.2015 - 16:02
tea[m]ster
Au Pays Natal
Is on my to do list. I hope the band isn't using the occasional different/odd/surprise structure just for the sake of it...just to stand out in the post metal mass. A lot of that is going on in the genre right now. Some it works for, others it bombs. Great review R' - thanks.
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rekt
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15.02.2015 - 16:10
R'Vannith
ghedengi
Written by tea[m]ster on 15.02.2015 at 16:02

Is on my to do list. I hope the band isn't using the occasional different/odd/surprise structure just for the sake of it...just to stand out in the post metal mass. A lot of that is going on in the genre right now. Some it works for, others it bombs. Great review R' - thanks.


In your case it'd be well worth a listen, I'd wager.
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