• Sun, Aug 18, 2019
Reviews

Colorblind- Post Modern Holocaust Album Review

8.0

album Reviews Jun 25, 02:59pm

Not only does this post-rock album stay away from everything that makes the genre boring, it is also one of the most solid releases this year
 Photo Courtesy: Colorblind

This has been said a million billion times since Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky started popping up on everyone’s Youtube feed in the early years of the decade; some people do not enjoy post-rock. It’s pointless, or just noise, or has no point to it. There are others who live and die by the genre and say it has the answers to life, the universe and everything. I would be inclined to agree with both camps, because post-rock suffers from a problem many genres of music face: a lack of effort from a percentage of its artist base. There are too many cases where bands see it as the easy way out and just make mindless, decomposed ambient music with a bunch of delay and reverb and call it a day. Why this new Colorblind album ‘Post Modern Holocaust’ is such a success is that it manages to avoid most of the above nonsense and ends up being a focused, tight project.

 

 


A lot of it is in the way the album is mixed. This is not a release full of your typical squeaky-clean sterile guitars and pounding, overcompressed drums. ‘Post Modern Holocaust’ is dirty and grimy. The drums are by no means weak, but they do sit in the back a lot as a suggestion rather than a force. There is a distorted, synthetic quality to them throughout this album, and they are a great fit to the brooding, blurry tone of the 8 tracks here. They are also never stagnant; in fact most of the pushing forward and structural transitions are done by the drums. This allows for the guitars to concentrate solely on building atmosphere around the constantly evolving, swirling grooves. It’s a great approach to have- some moments on here build rhythmically to a point that the distorted, dirty but quite progressive songs echo Godspeed You! Black Emperor, even. Since they are allowed to draw focus and be this purely atmospheric, mood-building centrepiece, the guitars also do some great things. One of the main things about this album is (in a way) how heavy it is. Not necessarily tonally, but heavy on the ears. Every crescendo on here is sludgy, distorted into oblivion and so layered that it feels like there’s a 100 ton weight on your ears. This is a good base for Kartik (Mishra, who is Colorblind) to layer some nice clean melodic lines that you can just about hear over all the chaos. It’s a good approach to take to allow the rhythm section to drive the song and just let all the ‘melodic’ stuff build vibes; one more artists in the genre should try to take.

 


The tracks on here deliver on most fronts and try to accomplish different things. There are two short tracks here that are in my opinion the most brutal and noisy tracks on the album. Opener ‘Angels On The Electric Chair’ is as close to a ‘The Seer’-era Swans song as I’ve heard in a minute, and it’s fantastic in how difficult is it to hear. ‘New Days’ (the album’s single, a collaboration with The Earth Below) is a prime example of the fresh drum mixing and why it works; the drums are almost in a different song playing in a different room while the guitars dominate most of the frequencies. The stereotypical wailing tone of the guitars is barely there; instead, the huge distorted tones and massive bass are pushed in front. Deepak Raghu’s vocals are hushed and quiet, as if even he doesn’t want to take the spotlight. It’s a great track. The next two songs, though, are what make the album so consistently solid. The low end heaviness you find on ‘Their Pretty Girls And Their Burning Men’ fills the ears completely and the drums, while driving the song, almost get lost in the mix for the most parts, remaining only as an accent. I’m not sure if it was deliberate on not, but it works great. The middle of the track allows the guitars to die down before a very middle-of-the-road clean melody takes over and puts it squarely in Mogwai territory. It works great, don’t get me wrong, but it seems to want to undo the impact the first half had. The end of the song, when everything tries to shift back into high gear, doesn’t have that punch, but ends up building great atmosphere. ‘A Lazy Man Who Can’t Find His Words’ is probably the best track on the album; a tremolo-filled throbbing guitar sits on a drum groove that is placed right up front here, and in the album it works as the first really heavy drum-driven track. The crescendo in the song is to die for, and the transitions and buildup are inch perfect. The song also ends before anything gets boring; it would be a shame to waste parts this good on a 13-minute slow burner. ‘Human, All Too Human’ is a slower, doom-tinged song with the requisite chord progressions and a lot of cool bass touches. The entire album has the tonal and musical subtlety that you might find on something like a Botanist (check out this one-man black metal project if you haven’t) album. ‘Pier Paolo’ is a dark, swirling track with probably the heaviest groove on the entire album; the guitars here are almost unimaginably thick and visceral while most other melodic elements just live around it, finding space where they can. The drums are huge and up front again, and it’s a good choice here; the constantly evolving rhythms bash your skull while everything else doesn’t let you relax. It’s a heady mix and one of the standout tracks here. ‘Banal’ is another ambient interlude with some anti-establishment speech happening in the background; as hilarious as it is to have someone talking with ambience behind it, it’s fine for what it is. Album closer ‘Blackout/ Napalm Stains On The Ceiling’ (featuring Mindless Soul) is the most formulaic track on here, and that’s a bit of a shame, since is the longest song and probably takes the most time to show elements that just about manage to justify the wait at best. But there is enough atmosphere to save it.


It’s always good to see evolution in a genre and people being ready to take elements forward while retaining things that make the genre work. ‘Post Modern Holocaust’ is a fulfilling listen from start to end because it doesn’t use its musical palate as a shortcut but instead removes everything that might not work and keeps things as direct as possible. Good work.

 

Listen to Post Modern Holocaust

 

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