Sunday, December 18, 2011

City Of Ships - 2011 Minor World

Band : City Of Ships
Album : Minor World
Release Year : 2011
Genre : Post-Harcore | Post-Metal | Progressive | Experimental
Tracklist :
1. Clotilde
2. Subrosa
3. Low Countries
4. Tantric Engineer
5. Darkness at Noon
6. Easy Way / Hard Way
7. Celestial Navigation
8. Sweet Delirium
9. Chainman
10. Low Lives

City of Ships place a stronger emphasis on abstract atmospheres this time around, and for that reason, Minor World sounds less sonically bleak than Look What God… Tracks like “Sweet Delirium” and the beastly closer “Low Lives” begin with airy passages that reappear several times throughout the songs, and “Darkness at Noon” sticks with a single, aloof texture for all of its five-and-a-half minutes. In other places, the atmospheres simply play supporting cast, like in “Clotilde,” where they give the climax its intensity. I don’t think it’s much of an argument whether or not this is a good direction for the band to take, because it is. All these sections are beautifully written and executed, all powerful reminders we’re listening to a band that wields top-notch musicianship (no hyperbole intended).

It goes without saying that the album’s muscle still lies with its heavy parts. Fellow staffer Blake Solomon described Look What God… as “the sound of a band who would shoot their own fathers to make this music thing work.” That’s very much still applicable here. They haven’t lost any of their trademark sound. For newcomers, that means sludgy, dissonant guitars, macabre moan/screams and drums that tick ominously. But you only have to listen to the sawing riffs in “Tantric Engineer” or “Chainman” to realize they’ve since gotten gruffer. Badder, even. Or “Low Countries” and “Celestial Navigation” to realize they’re combining melody and ruthlessness more expertly than before. In some ways, this is City of Ships 2.0: There are plenty of improvements to ooh and aah about. -Matthew Tsai

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