Messenger - Threnodies

by D R Pautsch Rating:8 Release Date:2016-04-22

Some albums are difficult to describe. Others are easy, yet the description leaves anyone unfamiliar scratching their heads, none the wiser. Unfortunately for readers of this review, Threnodies, the second album, by Messenger, is firmly in the second category. 

A brief description could be along the lines of 'Radiohead in The Bends era meets 70s prog rock and comes over as hard rock at times'. A great example of this is the opening track 'Calyx'. It starts with high-pitched vocals and is the kind of slow-burning number that many Radiohead-type bands would knock out easily. 

Then it starts with the space noises leading into a closing two-minute instrumental of guitar and drums, climaxing in a wall of feedback. Are you scratching your head still? Well, try this description: It’s really very good.

 

Throughout the album this is the sound of a band that moves between those modes with ease and surprised the listener with their directions on each song.  The romping, almost Led Zep like structure of Oracles of War slow into a smooth guitar interlude.  The bass driven Celestial Spheres builds slowly into a huge guitar solo that is as funky as anything you’ve heard recently before it heads off into bombastic territory.  Everything here is over five minutes long and everything somehow fits together as a whole piece.  What’s also here is an album that could be post rock.  You could make an instrumental version of everything here and it would hold its off with Explosions in the Sky and all their kin.

Threnodies is an album that stuns the listener at first with its different directions, influences and ambition.  However, it has enough hooks, chops and substance to keep you coming back.  Again and again and again. 

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