Lessons in Post-Rock, Episode One: Red Sparowes

14 Dec

I hate calling it Post-Rock. Not in a self-important “categorization of art kills it” way, I just don’t think it really captures what it is. Other people might call it experimental metal, post-metal, instrumental metal, metalgaze, but I just call it what it is: contemplative experi-instrumental post-metalgaze.

This is part one of six, where I will be examining one band per post. I would recommend using headphones when listening to these bands (or any music for that matter) and, in most cases, cranking it. Sure, I’m probably going to go deaf before age forty, but I will have had half a lifetime of true music enjoyment until then. As with any music, the beauty is in the subtle sounds and melodies. So put on some headphones, you can thank me (or hate on me) later.

Part One: Red Sparowes

Red Sparowes was formed in 2003 with some members of the Los Angeles metal group Isis  (which will not be featured on my list for one major reason: they’re not instrumental) and some equally talented folks from other equally obscure bands.

Two years later they released their first album, At the Soundless Dawn. In 2006 came their follow-up, Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Sun. Some of their equipment was stolen while they were on tour in support of their sophomore album, so they decided to release a live album in order to recoup some of the losses. Their most recent album came out in 2009, titled The Pain is Excruciating, But Therein Lies the Answer.

The music is at once mellow and intense, somehow. The petal steel is a nice touch for the band, used sparingly but powerfully. There are intimate moments that sound as if the band is giving you a private concert in your living room. There are moments that explode with atmospheric reverberation, where multiple guitars overlay to create a dense soundscape that roils from the deepest caverns on up to the firmament. In short, it’s fucking damn good music.

“In Illusions of Order”

One Response to “Lessons in Post-Rock, Episode One: Red Sparowes”

  1. bobdoesthings December 19, 2011 at 12:25 am #

    this is gnarly. Reminds me of Earth a little. Are they on yr list?

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