The Great Upheaval

Written by: LF on 20/10/2014 13:45:30

As some of you might know, Kuato is the name of an alien character from a classic Schwarzenegger film, but what you probably didn't know is that it is also the name of a Canadian experimental post-rock band. The five-piece cover drums, bass and three guitars and this year they have released their fairly dark and big-sounding debut album.

Starting with slow, layered guitars, the first song "New Home" slowly builds the album into existence, and while the pace of the album never picks up to anything completely explosive, the songs grow louder and more ambitious until they culminate in the dramatic title track, "The Great Upheaval", which ends the album. The compositions that worked out the best for me when I first started listening were for some reason also the longest ones. I'm thinking mainly of "Groundwork" and "Black Horizon" that both build up their respective moods fairly well. The first and best of them, spanning almost nine minutes, sounds almost majestic due to its slowly progressing riffs. It travels from an all-embracing melancholy to a somewhat more energetically optimistic feel as the pace picks up and the soundscape is filled with delicate guitars on top of some pretty noisy drums. The second is more rhythmic and slightly darker overall but compared to "Groundwork", it seems like it's just stalling a lot of the time without moving anywhere.

What is even more unfortunate though is that both these tracks are rather unremarkable in the bigger scope of post-rock as a genre and most songs off the album just sound too much alike without being distinguished by remarkable riffs or evolutions that my mind can latch on to. True enough, a track like "Red Sand" is slightly more firm in its pace and structuring of sounds, and the wonderfully disharmonic "Ripped from the Soil" manages to twist the overall mood of the record for a while, but the overall sound of it gets very similar very quickly and doesn't manage to break free from this again.

The album does have a certain kind of sleepy heaviness to it that I like and the mix is also spot on for a record like this. If you find yourself in need of some new, moody post-rock to provide some background atmosphere for your day, there are definitely worse releases you could put on. But while it all sounds fairly solid, it just doesn't manage to give me any new or intriguing experiences, but I do suspect that the much bigger sound of a live setting would suit the band's compositions very well. "The Great Upheaval" has been a rather anonymous record for me through every listen I've given it but we have yet to see if Kuato can experiment their way to a more personal sound in the future as the building blocks for bigger things are certainly present.

Download: Groundwork, Red Sand, Ripped from the Soil
For The Fans Of: Mono, Pelican, Caspian, Explosions In The Sky, Kerretta, Russian Circles
Listen: facebook.com/kuatoband

Release date 24.06.2014

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