Album of the day: Woburn House – Sleep Summer Storm

Praise for Woburn House‘s Sleep Summer Storm from San Francisco’s aQuarius Records: We’ve long championed these German post black metallers (metallic post rockers), their sound most definitely heavy and brutal, but also moody and atmospheric, and with every record, their sound seems to continue to move well beyond the confines of ‘black metal’, the genre which is where they seem to be most often (and increasingly inappropriately) lumped with their more grim brethren.

While some black metal tropes surface here and there, the sound of WH is more recognizably marked by clean soaring vox, intricate proggy arrangements, spidery Slint-like melodies, even the occasional synth. In the past we’ve compared them to Dutch instru-metallers Gore, even Voivod, as well as groups like Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky.

This time around we’re hearing Swans (mostly in the deep vox), lots of Slint, with those distinctive arpeggiated minor key guitar parts, there’s also the brooding moody bombast of Katatonia, but don’t let all those comparisons lead you to believe these guys are just a mess of conflicting influenced and purloined sounds, those are merely references, cuz with this record, maybe even more than last releases, the band continues to carve out its own truly unique sound, one that here is at it’s most lush, layered and melodic.

In fact this time around, the metal component is almost entirely removed, only vestiges remain, buzzing guitars, pounding drums, but even those elements, at their most metal, are defined by context, and here the band is capable of taking a blast beat, and letting it pound quietly beneath crystalline guitars, and haunting crooned vox, or taking very black metal sounding melodies, and transcribing them for acoustic guitar, and turning black buzz into some strangely alien pastoral folk.

And the vocals, even more varied this time around, the deep Michael Gira like croon is present, but so is a super emotive raspy wail, not to mention so super cool (and strange) falsetto, all woven into the group’s sprawling mini-epics, super dynamic, and emotional, and alternatingly epic and majestic, brooding and moody.

At this point, we’re not sure we’d recommend this to most metalheads. Especially black metallers, but hell, folks who dig Alcest and Amesoeurs and Les Discrets and Katatonia as well as the more metallic side of the post rock spectrum, and heck even prog nerds after something more far out, these guys might be just the ticket.

At 40 years old, Aquarius is the oldest independent record store in San Francisco. We try to only carry music we love, and we’re always searching for more new, cool, weird and wonderful music. All of which we then share with you, our loyal customers.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 at 10:55 am and is filed under 2012, Album of the Day, Roadburn Recommended . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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