Although I rarely review music on this site that truly and seriously rocks out, I've always just a wee bit of metalhead in me that would sometimes show its face and I would find myself rocking my head back and forth (minus the flowing mane). When I was a younger chap, I wore out cassette copies of both Appetite For Destruction and And Justice For All... but I suppose that I've mellowed in my age a bit because a lot of current stuff just doesn't quite do it for me.
I've given Isis and other bands a chance, and often love the soundscapes that they create, but for some reason it's hard for me to get past the screamed vocals. I happened upon Pelican one day while hearing it play while record shopping. As thunderous wave after thunderous wave of huge guitar and rumbling rhythm section unfolded, I kept expecting to hear some sort of pained guttural yell come into the mix, yet it never did. I snagged the first EP from the group and while spinning it found my inner metalhead was much pleased.
The group released a full-length just about a year ago, but they're already back with this newest EP and it's both more of the same and a big step forward from the group. "March Into The Sea" is the only new track from the group on the EP, but it clocks in at over twenty minutes and contains just about everything that's great about the group. The track opens with huge, sludgy riffs before slowly brightening just a bit for a breather about a quarter of the way through. Just as you catch your breath, they crank things up again and lay waste with another juicy breakdown that's hard enough to stand with just about anyone.
Showing they have a sensitive side, it's the second half of the track where the group shows just what they're capable of as the track blends seamlessly from the earlier thundering riffs into strummed acoustic guitars, piano, and feedback drones that close things out without ever sounding forced. The track reminds me of what Explosions In The Sky might sound like if they decided to incorporate metal influences into their sound. The second track on the release is a remix of "Angel Tears" from Justin Broadrick that takes some of the massive riffs from the original and stretches them out into a twelve-minute electronic-touched chug-fest that never really changes that much but somehow manages to still feel in motion (albeit slow). If you like heavy music and don't like to deal with the vocals, you must seek out Pelican. They're well on their way to breaking some misconceptions people have with their genre (and possibly more).