As such an expansive and inclusive genre, artists within the post-rock genre often absorb a vast range of musical influences through an auditory osmosis of sorts as their career progresses. If nothing else, the heavily electronica, ambient and noise influence on ‘New Others Part One’ by This Will Destroy You is a beautiful testament to this constant evolution.
Melted Jubilee open things up softly, with a pulsing drone effect that brings Brian Eno and others to mind, before trilling drums, warm bass and simple leads thud into place slowly but surely around the one-minute mark. This opener is jarred by an inviting but warbling noise-scape of synths that foregrounds some super-subliminal reverb and delay-driven guitar. It’s almost as though the band become second fiddle to this strange, mesmerising electronic sampling. Building towards a false zenith, we don’t quite get the textbook post-rock crescendo but are treated to warm, authentic drumming and effects-drenched guitar and bass.
Droning out with a bass synth line and heavily distorted, panned drums, you’d be forgiven for thinking we were entering Radiohead territory here. This influence continues with the high-pitched angelic synth that introduces To Win, Somebody’s Got to Lose contrasted against dark piano and bass keys. Moving around a central motif of a few epic chords and arpeggios, the song is one big subdued but sweet progression built around a laidback but martial drumbeat. With some sparse leads that melt in and out of the open spaces, it’s clear that the band are becoming even more skilled with use of sonic space and stillness to convey their message.
Syncage works much to the same effect, with thirty seconds of cautious twinkling into droning bass drum hits. Reverberant and only punctuated with echoes, for the first time on the album the band suddenly break into full speed with rolling drum hits, distorted guitar and epic effects-washed leads. The constant hum of distorted bass drives this suddenly lively engine, reaching a zenith of super-fast snare and screeching synths. Of its’ own merit it’s probably not that heavy, but in the context of the prior tracks, this sudden assault sound gloriously massive. Just as soon as it came, however, it washes away into slightly disjointed, dissonant patterns of ambient noise.
That wakeful display flares up with Allegiance thudding a perpetual one-two of bass-heavy kick drum under ethereal drone sounds in a bright wash, punctuated with jarring electronic blips. It’s happy, in a slightly unsettling fashion. A blipping pattern not unlike sonar or radar wavers with a pitch that’s a bit too high and sustained at times – seriously, a warning for those with tinnitus! Weaving these electronic whoops in seemingly random patterns between some very faint leads and swells, almost none of it sounds organic save the kick drum. A few last strained notes shave off the track.
After that slight overstimulation, Weeping Window brings it back down with very faint echoing keys, droning comfortably for a good few minutes. And then, bam! A big stomping wall of dirge-like power chords and crashing drums, melodic but vast. The introduction of thumping bass injects the riff with massive potency, drums crashing through the mix in front of subtle violin-like scythes of noise and long sustained chords. The cavernous thuds of the drums carry the sharp noisy dirge along, a mass of sound that should be dark or atonal but instead is a wonderful harmonic mush. Truly, it is the mark of a band that is skilled in their craft to comfortably mould such a nice, warm feeling from such a monolithic wall of noise.
Less gargantuan but no less strange and interesting is Like This. Starting with clattering static-drenched electronic riff that sounds like a typewriter being shredded, it calms to a subtle ambient drone not unlike Loscii or the quieter works of Aphex Twin. Super-reverberated arpeggios play out in the background, sounding huge but distant at the same time, looping around the sample and an ever-present bass hum. It’s difficult to distinguish one element of the song from another, and feels like a multi-layered, happy-go-lucky cousin of Justin K Broadrick’s work in Jesu and Godflesh. Warping and wheeling in a hypnotic trance, there are only minor adjustments as the song wavers along this pattern endlessly, scraping out with a very metallic, strained sample loop at the end. This is about as far from rock as you’ll ever get on the post-rock spectrum.
Contrastingly, strong album closer Go Away Closer brings it right back to the organic roots with a solid backing beat, chugging riffs and lilting leads and harmonics. Keeping the former tracks’ atmospherics firmly in place, this track at least has the feeling of building towards resolution between the analogue and digital band elements. The band kick into an even more epic spiral around the 2-minute mark, utilising the unease and impatience of prior tracks to build huge, open riff that feels twenty miles high. A hypnotic plinking of sharp keys hangs right in the foreground momentarily, holding our attention transfixed until the riff-wall completely abates into a spooky atmospheric section of distorted drums and sickly vibrating synths, signifying the death knell of the album in a strangely comforting bookend.
Putting the word ‘post’ back into the post-rock label, This Will Destroy You have demonstrated with this album that even the mainstays can successfully launch into unfamiliar territory to push the boundaries if they so dare.
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