Since primitive man made a rhythmic racket by slapping a stick off a rock-face, instrumental music has always been an important part of our culture throughout the ages. Nowadays we are accustomed to dudes that cram their junk sideways into their sisters’ jeans and sit sculpting sounds using the latest piece of mass-marketed computer technology, but around the beginning of the new millennium, instrumental music within the heavier realm–a part of the post-rock/metal catch-all genre–was a hot topic, as bands popped up on a daily basis right across the grid.
Mute musicians schooled on Mogwai’s back catalogue, Neurosis’s command over the elements, and Slint’s 1991 classic Spiderland formed bands as a refreshing sidestep away from the slithery lotharios that paraded themselves as rock ’n’ roll saviours during the permed ‘80s and the furrowed brow growlers that made up metal’s nü sub-species throughout the ‘90s. There was no explicit political preaching involved; no god-bothering shtick; no distractions from the music itself. It was egoless, voiceless music borne of soundscapes pulled from a guitar pedal-board the size of a small spacecraft.
As is the case with all emerging trends within music, however, the momentum eventually died off because of oversaturation and a lack of songwriting imagination. And the irony of its ascent and subsequent collapse is not lost when you consider that the instrumental post-rock / metal we’ve been either thrilled by or bored to death by was predominately based on the rise and fall; the gradual swell and resulting downpour of sound. With 2013 pulling us closer into winter’s arms, post-rock/metal, and by association, instrumental rock/metal, is an afterthought lost beneath the recent occult rock fad and before that, the NWOBHM revivalists that “just wanted to party, man!”
Read the rest via Hold Your Tongues Pelican vs. Russian Circles – Last Rites.
- Russian Circles: Memorial – review (theguardian.com)