Cascades by CascadesRelease date: June 25, 2017
Label: Art As Catharsis Records
Fuckin’ brilliant, for today’s review we have the debut from eco-minded post-metal monoliths Cascades. Recorded this year and released on (like every other awesome Aus band) Art As Catharsis, the Melbourne band’s self-titled LP is the perfect mix of haunting atmospheres, devastating heaviness and swathing melancholy.
The instrumentation is your usual post-metal deal, guitars, drums, bass, keys, vocals. Everything here checks all the boxes required and then some. The production value is just bullshit good. I rarely get excited about vocal tracks, but the blend on tracks like ‘Ceaseless’ almost has a weirdly evil gurgle to it? There’s no other word for it, it’s just painful.
One thing that I definitely have to bring up instruments wise, the keys/ambience is just so uniquely good. Now before you think “oh but every post band has a keys player”, yeah I get that, but the difference between that and less interesting bands is this actually puts that much emphasis on the keys that it really helps push the atmospheric side of this album, which honestly is a breath of fresh air.
Of course it goes without saying the other stuff is dreamy as fuck, the guitars are just amazing, the drums are huge, the bass is pounding. Honestly for a band to have their shit together so well to put out a debut like this is a huge feat.
Themes/concepts wise, the album deals heavily with themes around the destruction of the environment around and with that, the eco conscience on display is great as most of the lyrics and concepts tend to deal with the destruction humans subject the planet to. One thing that really comes through in those themes is the ennui that can only be had when you’re watching a planet die in slow motion and feel this wave of powerlessness wash over you. But to juxtapose that, there’s also a glimmer of hope in the knowledge that no matter how strong the hands of humans may be, nature dwarfs us in its ability to create and destroy.
Also between you and I, there’s a really solid thing happening with post-metal in Australia. In recent times there have been a slew of bands like Drowning Horse, Hope Drone and Adrift For Days casting off the shackles of less informed/expressive heavy genres, who are all coming out with these solid albums, albums that have really helped this country develop what can be looked at as a scene that competes with others on a global level.
Not to sound like I’m full of shit, but I definitely think this is the stuff people will be talking about on Facebook forums as an influence 10 years from now the same way every kid and their Skramz band talks about Conation now. I’m glad to think Cascades are going to be a part of this because the music is innovative and the ideas are heartfelt. Be sure to give it a listen