Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tidings - Tidings (EP) (2012)

We've all done it. In your car, on the train, on the plane; we've all been there. You lean your head against the window and for a few glorious seconds, the world around you is a feature film, centered on you. In your head, you construct the perfect soundtrack for that perfect moment. For Tidings, a four piece post metal project from Edinburgh, UK, it would seem that every scene is the perfect fit for their own unique style of instrumental metal. Hidden within each track is a cinematic quality that lends itself so well to any daily event, that you can probably see it all right now. And while the beautiful combinations of heavy and light that do battle here may have you thinking your life has become the next "Hobbit," it may, indeed, be best for you to leave the film-making to the professionals.

There is something eerily familiar about the opening to "Proteus," as if it was ripped from a song in another life. But with two guitar melodies layered atop a tom beat, the imminent explosion seems so close, yet so far away. When the first wave of hastily played distortion comes crashing down, you realize you may have not been prepared at all. It's how the band dial back that aggressive that makes the track so successful, keeping you afloat between flourishes of cymbals and blaring guitar chords. Caught in the middle of the building waves is a delicately constructed skyscraper of guitar melody; it rises from the ashes time and time again, climbing higher and higher each time, anchored only by the resounding thump of a kick drum. It becomes more intricate as time goes by, adding the most subtle touches here and there. But like a sandcastle on the beach, it is only a matter of time before the tide rolls back in and lays waste to it all. And so it happens, right around the eight minute mark. With a shift in tempo and tone, and a slight loss of precision, it all comes to a head in a matter of minutes. Complete with a pouring outro, filled with sound and fury, ringing feedback ends it all.

Only slightly shorter, and no less ambitious, "The Oxygen Tank" shares very little in common with the previous effort, minus the humble beginnings from which it rises. Each movement brings another piece to the party, as if scoring a blossoming epic film. It takes more than three minutes for the tracks main guitar line to settle into place, which, depending on your viewpoint, is either too long or not long enough. It all seems so basic when you hear each individual element on its own, but the way they unite is refreshing. This is more about imagery than anything else, choosing the serene guitar melodies to a raucous breakdown. It isn't until nearly three quarters of the way through that the first signs of life emerge, as a echoing set of cymbals ring in the background for seemingly endless periods of time. But what it leads to is incredible; a triumphant, albeit slow, conclusion punctuated with an ethereal, light guitar outro.

When a title says so much in so few words, it increases the pressure to deliver. On "Finding A Way Out Without Running Away," you feel as though you have been launched head first into a story, but you are missing all of the details. What follows, then, is a song that bears the weight of great responsibility. In a nearly ten minute framework, it not only manages to get you up to speed, but almost make you feel as though you were there the entire time. With each pat of the tom, every flicker of a clean guitar chord, the band are inviting you in. There are heavier moments to be had, like the initial blitz at the three minute mark, that remind you the sheer power of a distorted chord. Not lost here is the bass line, one that really drives things to and from the destination. It could be described as "smart," for both finding a niche and knowing when it can stand out from the rest of the mix. With nearly thirty minutes behind you now, there is a lingering feeling that it has all been building to one moment; a single event that will tie all of the pieces together. In a few slamming chords, a flurry of crashing drums, it all starts to make sense.

Music has always been, and will continue to be, a very personal experience. You hear what you want to hear, and you interpret things the way your mind tells you to. So when listening to Tidings, don't be surprised if your listening experience is completely different than your friends. You might envision an indie film, with this set of three tracks as the main score, whereas he or she may see an epic movie about dragons and knights. Hell, it may just be the soundtrack to your drive home from your day job. Either way, it all works. That added cinematic element is what makes this EP special, and will keep you reaching for it time and time again.And the fact that it will remain open for interpretation, with no lyrical content to cloud your unique vision, it is sure to grow ad evolve right along with you.


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