Written by: PP on 23/03/2011 21:05:40

Lands are an ambient progressive hardcore / post-metal band from nearby my old University: Reigate, Surrey, UK. They formed in late Autumn 2010, and within the span of just a couple of months wrote five tracks and 26 minutes worth of music that they've self-released under the title of "Subtitles", a nondescript release containing songs simply titled as "I", "Interlude", "II", "III", and "IV". The music, however, can unfathomably be referred to as that; it is everything but nondescript.

The basic idea is to have layered melodies contributing to progressive buildups that lead to beautiful climaxes of crushing melody that overwhelms the listener. Fear not, Lands proceed to the point fairly quickly in each song, so you're not left waiting for several minutes before their soundscapes begin to flourish. Many of the tracks start with serene, eerie melodies that shortly meet barrages of extended, open-ended heavy chords and thick screaming (think the prog-hardcore of Dead Hearts here). This contrast of beautiful and heavy is upheld throughout masterfully by the band through a number of small tricks. One, the vocalist, despite screaming his lungs off at all times, has opted for a slower, prolonged approach to his style, allowing for a touch of melody in his delivery. He really deserves a ton of credit for his work on the EP. Two, there's always an element of beauty and optimism on the background brought by the guitars, which combine the layered melodies with lots of distortion and open chords/riffage to achieved that extended and progressive feeling to them.

In many places, the listener is left wondering if this is how Misery Signals or Poison The Well would sound like if the former added a hint of post-metal to their progressive hardcore stance, and the latter would reduce the amount of traditional instrumentation. Lands, by all counts, have achieved just that: intelligent, intricate soundscapes that progress further than just a couple of minutes, oddly reminiscent of post-rock/metal hybrid outfit Envy, but not enough to warrant a full on comparison. In any case, "Subtitles" has to be one of the finest self-released debut EPs I've heard to date. It must be heard.

Download: Complete EP for free
For the fans of: Dead Hearts, Misery Signals gone post-metal, Poison The Well
Listen: Bandcamp

Release date 22.11.2010

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