Suspended in Reflections by AncestorsRelease date: August 24, 2018
Label: Pelagic Records
Ancestors are not a band that’s been on my radar, however coming on via a recommendation for our metal editor (Sander) and being on Pelagic Records is good enough of a reason for me to take some notice and I’m glad I did. The Los Angeles band have been around for a while, releasing their first full length record back in 2006 and have had a few lineup changes and albums in the meantime Recently slimmed down from a five piece to a three piece this create multi-layered, multi-genres frankly beautiful music. Having listened to Suspended in Reflections I have no idea how this band passed me by.
The opening track ‘Gone’ is full of lush textured quitar, it’s a slow and meandering track, soft and atmospheric vocals just peek over the noise the melodic lead guitar gives a counterpoint. The sounds is huge and expansive, how only three people create the sound is somewhat of a mystery to me. The track blends into ‘Through a Window’. It has a similar feel, however forlorn and hopeless sounding. The song slowly builds, vocals and guitars soar. Just as I expected a huge explosion of sound it falls back to a minimalist and melodic instrumental.
The melodic feel continues with ‘Lying in the Grass’, staring with a gentle piano melody and a touch of acoustic guitar. Vox are vocoder style and give a slightly discordant feel to the track, the slow and gentle pace of the first three tracks continues, never hurried or rushed, just slowly morphing and evolves. The patience is rewarded however with what can only be described as an epic crescendo, vocals roar and dense, thick chords prevail, as before, it sons falls away, a lush organ and whispered vocals create a beautiful feel. The tracks once more threatens to explode but the bands restraint shows here, no need to gild the lily and take the predictable post-rock overuse of a crescendo.
Quite often to really understand music of this type I find it often helps to listen in different ways, headphones can often give a private and immersive feel and helps to really feel the music, this album however can only be really understood one way and that’s loud. Apologise to the neighbours and fellow householders and remove all pets and crank this as loud as possible, ideally in a darkened room and let the album carry you away. This album needs to be felt as well as heard.
‘Into the Fall’ starts with quite upbeat post-rock feel but then beautiful, sparse guitar and strings take over. The rhythm section ebbs and flows and the strings are given free reign. The whole things swells to an anthemic and passionate fury. Vocals and harmony are used to a stunning effect. As before, the excitement is short lived as the track eases into ‘Release’. It has a sci-fi spacey feel to it before suddenly changing to have a jazzy loungey feel with some upright bass, slightly unexpected turn but nothing if not interesting. Not quite sure who this fits in here but does add some contrast to the album.
Ending the album, ‘The Warm Glow’, has an odd, sightly comfortable intro. It soon transforms to a wall of noise, screamed vocals that swell and swirl, it’s the first time that the band really seem to let go and shake off the restraint they have shown up until now.
Suspended in Reflections is a really stunning piece of work, it’s dense, multi-layered and full of twists and turns. Patient in pace, occasionally exploding but it’s never overused. The band really show some musical talent, adding organ, strings and piano to what in places might be more straight forward post-metal. The prog influences are in there but this is really something quite different. This is not however, radio friendly rock, time and the desire to immerse yourself in the music is required. The listener will be rewarded however with something of real beauty.