|At The Soundawn - Red Square: We Come In Waves
28 April 2008
01. Slight Variations
03. One Day Before
04. Phone Will
05. Sundown In Rome
06. Rain Falls
07. Frames Of You
Label: Lifeforce Records
Total Running Time: 29:32
The next big contender for the crown of top post-metal act comes from Modena, Italy. On their debut album " Red Square: We Come In Waves", At The Soundawn decided to undertake the difficult endeavour to compete with the big references of the genre (Neurosis, Cult Of Luna, Isis...). In a scene that is dragged down by the daily apparition of dozens of uninspired, talentless young bands, At The Soundawn are an oddity.
The influences are undeniably present. The occasional wall of sound might remind a lot of listeners of Neurosis, while the atmospheric post-rock interludes owe a lot to recent Isis albums. One may equally recognize the ghost of Oceansize and Mogwai in the alternative rock/pop passages or the Tool approach in some vocal lines. The genius of At The Soundawn is to transcend these references and to twist them until they fit their unique mold and sound like mere nods to great forefathers. The beauty of it is that At The Soundawn succeed in writing 4-minute long pieces which hold as much interesting content as the usual 10+-minute odysseys that most artists in the genre feel forced to write, even though they don't have enough to say.
There is a lot of things going on at every second of this album, with each song hosting several atmosphere and pace changes, different vocal and instrumental effects and even a Cult Of Lunesque saxophone to set the mood. Actually, "We Come In Waves" is an apt title, because At The Soundawn's music does just that: the hardcore violence recedes all of a sudden and leaves space to an acoustic lull, which as quickly leads the way to a new tsunami of sound. These calm spells still manage to sound ominous, like they're hiding something incredibly powerful and reckless (see the slow build-up of the instrumental "Sundown In Rome" which leads to the raging fury of "Rain Falls"), but at the same time they're incredibly beautiful and evocative. This balance of emotion could sound forced and overdone, but the intricate songwriting simply makes it flow.
This is still not a perfect album. The guitars and the bass often sound a bit weak compared to the "wall of sound" effect the band wishes to create. Also, the album does not even reach the 30 minutes mark, which is far too short for such quality music. On the other hand, this album has good replay value and the short running time allows a lot of spins. Still, I would like to see how well they would perform on a real full-length. Before this holy day comes, "Red Square: We Come In Waves" is strongly recommended to those who love "post-whatever" music.