NOVARUPTA - CARRION MOVEMENTS
CLASSY POST-ROCK THAT PACKS AN EMOTIONAL PUNCH
You can’t get any more post-rock than an album inspired by, and conceptualised on, air. Yes, the element air. But that is what this record is about. If you think this, along with 20 minute songs, is dabbling with indulgence to the point of arty pretension, then suspend your pre-judgements because Carrion Movements is just under 40 minutes’ worth of tropospheric instrumental post-rock / metal in which Novarupta demonstrate a master-class in how to deploy simplicity to a jaw-dropping optimum. The Swedes are not inventing this formula of sweeping widescreen instrumentalism but their delivery – in which they create a consuming sense of enormity by using uncomplicated and unhurried constructs – is what sets them apart from the beardy pack.
The first song Eurus (Greek god of the east wind) photosynthesises patiently and sparsely with lonely, hushed crystalline picks and lingering background chords reminiscent of the pine forest mystique of If These Trees Could Talk’s earlier work or the horizonless scapes of Red Sparrowes. The song is essentially one elongated progressive build, developing linearly from suspenseful delicate quietude until the dam bursts in the final quarter with a tide of orchestral cinematic bombast of the type Anathema became known for latterly. Yes, you can confidently foretell broadly that the song will be structured as a traditional post-rock summit climb, but Novarupta’s deliberate gradualism is gripping rather than boring and the steady melodic maturation is surprisingly simple and uncluttered yet packs a dramatic punch.
Boreas (Greek god of the north wind) similarly has a long walk-in to reach a high peak, but has a more discordant, brasher aesthetic. It shows the band can make busier music which, at times, is close to ambient noise. It has a looser, harsher chime that is decidedly more post-metal than post-rock. Fuzzier and shimmering with insistent and harder hitting patterns and metallic grating, it rises to a dizzying, shoegazed and prolonged finale. Slightly less focussed and more immersive than the first song, it is out and out post-metal.
Despite the ‘arty’ dimensions of having 20 minute instrumental songs based on air (anyway, why not?), Novarupta have a genuine knack of creating profound and bedazzling panoramic vividness from a fairly simplistic tool kit. Their play is not overly technical or fussy in order to make a big whacking sensory impact. The progressions are relatively straightforward but are good quality and dramatically arresting. The real key, therefore, is the deft touch on interplay and timing that gives this real class, authority and kick. It seems to be a deceivingly tricky move to pull-off successfully as many other acts attempt this style but few control fully. ‘Epic’ and ‘immersive’ are over-used terms in album reviews but both are absolutely appropriate here and Novarupta should rightfully get more attention from creating this music which is as good as any of the bigger names.
Carrion Movements is available via Suicide Records