Earthship – Iron Chest

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Earthship
Iron Chest
Pelagic

Those guys from The Ocean are awfully busy, seemingly going through a myriad of bands and not letting up whichever side of the production desk they’re on. Though no longer featuring The Ocean’s Robin Staps on rhythm guitar, Earthship still make a heavy racket as a three-piece, doing so for the first time on ‘Iron Chest’, the follow-up to 2011’s keenly received ‘Exit Eden’. Former The Ocean drummer Jan Oberg, handling guitar and vocals, again leads his charges, the line-up now completed again with Dennis Boettcher, and Jan’s wife, Sabine, on bass.

Iron Chest’ plunders three punchy tracks possessing plenty of bounce and melodicism, before the post-sludge of ‘Boundless Void’ turns up, eventually erupting after a submerging into a gloomy riff, plowing back with another crunching riff to reinject the aggression into their sound. Aside from that track and ‘Shattered’, ‘Iron Chest’ follows a fairly safe pattern that won’t thrill too many hoping for them to dip their feet in the water a bit. That said, Earthship know how to crank out some whiplash-inducing riffs (‘Silver Decay’, the title track in particular)

Earthship – Athena

Earthship’s sound is recommended for fans of Iron Monkey among other acts – I didn’t initially see the resemblance but their tendency to rock out while they attack is akin to the Geordie legends, though nowhere near as vicious. Though not as prominent as before, the progressive and occasional technical flair do glimmer through the largely straight ahead approach. ‘Iron Chest’ isn’t the most spectacular album you’ll hear a, but it’s a quality romp through ten tracks of modern day headbanging sludge metal retaining its own identity (as opposed to the NOLA-inspired sound that so many converge upon). Sludge can so often be all about misery and woe – Earthship’s message is far more exploratory, seemingly based on the nautical – a different approach certainly, but a more refreshing one for that.

That alone ought to boost the Germans’ profile a little more – by now they really ought to be better known than just another Ocean side-project. Its too early to tell whether time will change that, but ‘Iron Chest’ is perfect for letting off some steam and a welcome, if not necessarily upwards, return from the trio.

Peter Clegg

Iron Chest’ is released on Monday October 15th. Pre-order it here

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EF – Delusions of Grandeur

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EF
Delusions of Grandeur
Pelagic

EF are a post-rock quintet from Gothenburg, Sweden, who since 2003 have released three studio albums and undertaken numerous tours as they spread their name. This, their latest EP, is the first for their new home at Pelagic Records, and is but a taste of what EF have to offer.

The powerful yet delicate title track is a terrific way to get this release underway – a three track EP can often be short on content, but at nearly eight and a half minutes EF do more than just flesh out the sides and the construction is so, it doesn’t drag either, piano driving the electrical section through the track. As far as post rock goes, its not straying too far from the template, but they seem to have it sussed in knowing when to apply the emotional pressure, to build it up and release it with powerful crescendo. The instrumental ‘Fem’ keeps things ticking nicely up to the closing track ‘I’ve Never Felt This Way Before’; a fine example of storytelling, telling the story of a group of boys who stumble before a mortally wounded foal, with one deciding to do the right thing, comfortable with the punishment that comes with it. It draws you right in, every bit as captivating as textual fiction, and topped off with a haunting and rising finale that rounds off a perfectly paced sojourn.

Cliched as it sounds to say fans of band X and Y will like this, the truth is that this will most appeal to people into Mogwai, Sigur Ros, Explosions in the Sky, etc., but I’d like for more people to open up to this sort of music once in a while. EF now seem perfectly poised to build on this EP when they deliver their first album for Pelagic, continuing here with a career arc still rising and yet to dip.

Pre-orders are available for ‘Delusions of Grandeur‘, and EF have a series of European live shows in the offing, which will be listed below. Step on it and prepare to be mesmerized.

Peter Clegg

EF – Delusions of Grandeur pre-order teaser

Upcoming shows:

Sep 28, 2012 – Lille, L’hotel de la Musique
Sep 29, 2012 – Paris, L’International
Sep 30, 2012 – Düdingen, Bad Bonn
Oct 01, 2012 – Zürich, Hafenkneipe
Oct 02, 2012 – Stuttgart, Juha West
Oct 03, 2012 – Frankfurt, Ponyhof
Oct 04, 2012 – Leipzig, Moritzbastei
Oct 05, 2012 – Berlin, Cassiopeia
Oct 06, 2012 – Bielefeld, Forum
Nov 01, 2012 – London, Kings Place
Nov 02, 2012 – Birmingham, Vagabonds

Buy/pre-order ‘Delusions of Grandeur‘ here (10″ vinyl) at this location: http://pelagic-records.com/vinyl/

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