Exit Music Review SectionMusic Review Navigation Menu

The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw
(Hydra Head)

Pelican burst onto the scene a couple years back with their brand of sludgy instrumental heavy metal. After releasing a self-titled debut EP and the Australasia full length, they came back earlier this year with the March Into The Sea EP, on which they encorporated a cleaner sound and a wider variety of dynamics into their overall style, including a long passage of acoustic guitar and drone that worked well to balance out the thunderous opening of the long track.

The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw is the second full length from the group and finds them picking up where they left off on the EP from earlier this year, offsetting their massive riff passages with quieter moments. Tracks still twist and turn in complex ways, coming across at times like math rock gone metal, but unlike many math rock artists, Pelican mostly finds ways to weave their tracks together in a way that don't leave the listener hanging on constantly discarded elements.

With seven tracks running almost an hour in length, the group breaks things down in a fairly basic way in that tracks are either long guitar workouts or shorter, quieter tracks (with a little bit of overlap). Four tracks on the album average about ten minutes apiece and its "March Into The Sea" that still works the best of all of them with some truly inspired changes and some of the heaviest moments of the entire release with blistering guitars, double bass-kick drumming and crashing cymbals that rain down from above. Interestingly enough, the track is a lot different than the EP version of the same track, removing the long, more meditative second half of the original and replacing it with one more brutal blast of guitars.

Both "Red Ran Amber" and "Autumn Into Summer" both provide a multitude of delights as well in their long runs, the latter opening with some warm guitar harmonies before cracking off into some severe guitar pyrotechnics while the former works almost in reverse of that, opening with dense waves of wailing guitars before settling down into a subdued middle section. Oh yeah, then it rocks like a rowboat in a hurricane before finally coming to a close.

As mentioned above, the group gives the album some dynamics by mixing in some shorter pieces, and "-" is one of the highlights as heavy-strummed acoustic guitar mingles with simple shaker percussion while "Aurora Borealis" reminds me of the reverb-heavy open-expanse guitar work of Lift To Experience (minus the vocals, obviously). Although the group has managed to explore even more new territory in a genre that's been mined by many artists (fans of everyone from Explosions In The Sky to Godspeed You Black Emperor would probably find things to enjoy here), The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw still doesn't feel quite like the cohesive and groundbreaking statement that it could be. If they can somehow marry the two parts of their sound together even more (as they did more on their original take of "March Into The Sea," which as mentioned above isn't on this release), it will help separate them even more from the pack.

Rating: 7.5