By: Mark Martins
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Hailing from New Jersey, we present to you Au Revoir. After two solid releases (In the Key of Night (2012) and Black Hills (2013)), the band has done an exceptional job at reinventing themselves and masterfully writing and recording Veles.
Right off the bat, we clearly realize this is no longer the “normal Post-Rock” band we were used to in the two previous releases. Firstly, the sound is so immense and immersive (I later learned that this was the first time they recorded in a professional studio – and what a difference it made!). Every element stands out and sounds so clear and punchy, especially the drums.
Their sound has also evolved; Au Revoir seem to have a much clearer idea of what they want to do and how to do it. The four tracks on Veles are so diverse and perfectly showcase their new and improved sonority. “The Bottom” sets the mood with its doomy heaviness. I love how the screaming and desperate vocals, the guitar work in the background and the heaviness perfectly blend together. Halfway, chaos becomes peace. The breakdown, leading into the catharsis is so well conceived and so beautiful. The way they balanced all the heaviness and the quieter moments is supreme.
“Drifting” is a natural follow up. It is expansive, cathartic, extremely emotive and diverse. This track separates the boys from the men. It has plenty of “wow” moments. If you close your eyes, you can imagine yourself being taken through a mix of beautiful and gloomy landscapes that involve you and do not let you escape.
The next song (“Sinking”) brings back the massive heaviness which kicked off the album. Angry vocals, huge drums, relentless guitars. Even when you think things will calm down, you are hit by more until you cannot take it anymore. It is 5:21 minutes of unforgiving punishment (in a good way, of course!).
And why not end things with a 17 minute beast of a track? “Deluge” is a mix of gorgeous melodies and heaviness. We can divide it into 2 parts: The first part being the first 10 minutes of apocalyptic heaviness and slow crushing guitars, the second being the calm after the storm with the glorious melodies evoking acceptance, peace and hope. Goosebumps.
I was wrong about this band before. I would never have imagined they had so much potential and they really let it all out on Veles. It’s fearless, ambitious, risky, challenging and emphatic. I find it really hard to say something bad about it. This is one of those albums which ticks all the right boxes.
I am so happy to see Au Revoir have finally found themselves and still have so much more in them for the future. Can’t wait!