In Dead Cities

Written by: DR on 13/10/2010 19:50:52

Next in my queue is "In Dead Cities" by Swedish band Kausal. Somewhere in a Swedish city, "anonymity leads to loneliness", and that's the sound they aim to create. As this is their debut album, this trio will no doubt be trying to create some buzz with it.

If you're a fan of the heavier, less spacious side of post-rock, or the lighter side of post-metal "In Dead Cities" may be right up your alley. Although, it's not so much "heavy" as it is dark, or at least it tries to be. They've gone about this by creating eight songs of a lifeless, dead atmosphere via drone-y chord patterns, which are left rather uncomplicated throughout. The album feels rather unambitious, and after the opening few songs when this approach is at least interesting, it gets tiring - a direct sympton of their unwillingness to experiment more. The songs generally run through into the next, rarely changing in character, or pace for that matter. You get the impression that is what they were going for, however, in certain songs you could probably count the different chords used on one hand.

There is hope, and it comes in the forms of "Evac" and "That Will Make Sense Tomorrow". It's still early enough in the album for the vocals to offer something to intrigue, some respite from the continuous drone of the guitar. Even after repeated listens the contrast of the guitars with the (early) Radiohead-inspired vocals in these songs continue to work, and remain the highlights of the album.

Track seven, "Rising Cities", attempts a crescendo, of sorts, but it takes almost eight minutes of uninspiring musicianship to arrive, so when it does, your mind is probably elsewhere. I can't declare it a successful endeavour to end the album on a positive note; instead, I'll say that they discovered distortion too late, when songs beforehand were crying out for something like that to give personality to them.

In conclusion, "In Dead Cities" is worth an average grade. Yes, it has a couple of songs that you may enjoy, but the rest is more likely to underwhelm. It's not as if it was well-executed but unoriginal; it'd be fairer to claim that the ideas of trying to recreate the lonliness of a city and the concept of recording improvisations are both nice, but the execution is lacking.


Download: Evac, That Will Make Sense Tomorrow
For The Fans of: Ioseb, Toundra, Exilym
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 03.05.2010
Version Studio

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