Of Mice & Men
The Mo Club, Southampton, UK - 16/4
Written by: DR on 15/08/2012 18:47:56
After a lot of touring and slowly releasing EPs since their inception in 2003, Labirinto were gradually building up to the recording and writing of their debut full-length, "Anatema", and only released it in 2010. A fairly ambitious project with the idea being to make every song over ten minutes long, it took two years to create, and though I'm two years late to it, it's a release that post-rock fans shouldn't have missed out on.
Unashamedly post-rock, you can trace Labirinto's main influences back to the post-rock gods that are Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Mono, right down to the long song structures and long build ups leading to epic crescendos. However, as opposed to ten-minutes of long, drawn out build ups deliberately culminating with a wall of sound crescendo, the compositions Labirinto create are not purposefully climactic; instead, they feel like the result of sweeping layers, poised instrumentation that creates tension, and the ever-changing dynamics in the songs.
There's not a great deal of variation throughout "Anatema", because you know that each song is going to end up with a 'release' of some sort. While the crescendos are actually nothing ground-breaking or even special, the art of "Anatema" is in build ups that precede them. In order to keep you hooked long enough to make it to the final 'release', everything before must hold your attention. "Flagelo", for example, is an excellent acheivement in that the first half is driven by slowly plucked guitar riffs - it's simple, yet it's so gorgeous that it hypnotizes you. The orchestral snaking of "Reverso" is nothing short of sumptuous; the banjo strings at the start of "Chromo" prove that Labirinto can utilise a wider pallet of instruments and hold your attention; the acoustic bridge in "Huo Yao" connects both 'loud' sides of the song and draws you in completely for the most note-worthy crescendo on the entire record.
Though it doesn't reinvent the genre, or even try to, that's not the point of "Anatema". The point is that, after a long time spent touring and releasing EPs, slowly working up to this, they could finally perfect their sound over the course of a full-length release. With "Anatema" Labirinto have created a consistent, precise and stunningly assured post-rock album.
Download: Huo Yao, Flagelo, Reverso
For The Fans of: Blueneck, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mono
Release Date 27.08.2010
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