Our Ceasing Voice

When The Headline Hit Home

Written by: DR on 13/04/2011 19:34:46

"Gradually the lights of the city come to new life, while the random flickering of the large neon sign three blocks away lasts and glances are lost in the distance. The sun slowly descends behind the silhouettes of the skyscrapers, taken over from the approaching night. The orange haze on the horizon is reflected in the windshields of the passing cars, raising the dust, which has been accumulated on the street. Here, between loneliness and hope, stories, which are able to change lives and guide our being exist."

Now I'm not one to start reviews with direct quotes from the press release, but when they introduce the album better than I ever could, why not use them? Based upon the upcoming novel by Sebastian Obermeir (the band's guitarist/producer), "When The Headline Hit Home" is the debut full-length of Austrian quartet Our Ceasing Voice.

There has been a five year gap between their inception and this release - with one EP in between - time that has obviously been spent honing their sound with the intention of putting out a debut like this, as opposed to a rushed record that may lack flow, focus or consistency. This much is obvious, because no debut album should sound like this: so clearly focused on what they hope to achieve and so assured in achieving in it. Throughout its 57 minute run time it flows like one subtly-produced epic composition, rather than eight individual tracks.

Like most post-rock, it is an album of highs and lows. However, Our Ceasing Voice, when playing to 'crescendo-core', are not ones to play it safe. For instance, in "The Only Ones Dead (Are Those Who Are Forgotten)" the guitars in the climax are pushed to extents that render them pratically screaming, which more than redeems for the fairly typical and flat build-up. It's similar with "Passenger Killed In Hit And Run"; there's an eerie, low-key beginning, gradually gaining in momentum as it adds layer upon layer to the soundscape. You're expecting everything to grow get louder until it finally erupts into a wall of sound, and when it happens the effect of it isn't any less crushing.

There's enough experimentation here to keep the listener guessing. The piano-led "Without Even Breathing" follows a similar pattern to the aforementioned tracks, by building and building towards a crescendo that never actually arrives. The magnificent "Highway Lights" wastes no time with drawn-out build up, instead preferring to swell swiftly before calming down to allow male/female vocal whispers to dominate over a lulled soundscape. Naturally, there is a climax, but it is one that is developed by adding intensity in the background, as opposed to noisily ringing guitars.

At almost an hour long, "When The Headline Hit Home" doesn't manage to keep you engaged for the entire duration. The songs discussed above are the first four out of the eight. There's a reason for that: aside from euphoric, Explosions in the Sky-esque closer "Within The Nick Of Time", the second half of the album sacrificies much of the intensity by becoming more spacious, yet noticably less gripping.

What "When The Headline Hit Home" is, though, is an album of haunting ambience; one that at its best has the power to simultaneously devastate and enthral. Post-rock albums so full of character, wonder and beauty don't come by often enough, so no self-respecting post-rock fan should miss it, because Our Ceasing Voice sincerely are something to write home about.

8

Download: Highway Lights, Without Even Breathing, The Only Ones Dead (Are Those Who Are Forgotten)
For The Fans of: This Will Destroy You, Blueneck, Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Listen: Bandcamp (name your price)

Release Date 19.02.2011
Self-released CD / vinyl via Revolvermann Records / digitially via Wiseowl Records

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