UnderWerket, Copenhagen, DEN - 20/10
Written by: DR on 08/03/2013 15:32:25
Few debut releases from 2012 can claim to be crafted with as much intent as Australasia's "Sin4tr4". Despite only being seven songs and twenty-two minutes long, it's surprisingly and shamelessly ambitious in its scope. By combining influences from the blackest of metals, post-rock, electronica and even 80s post-punk, it attempts to offset the listener's pre-conceived notions about how instrumental rock music should, and usually would, play out.
'Instrumental' and 'Rock', two very vague terms, are about as specific as you're going to get with Australasia. This is because they have condensed the typical build/release song structure similar to bands such as And So I Watch You From Afar and Russian Circles, resulting in only one of the seven songs exceeding four minutes, and used this as the foundation on which to combine influences ranging from Isis to Joy Division. Usually, their efforts follow a similar template: a period of quiet followed by a sudden explosion of blast-beat drums and metallic riffage, although some of the heavier efforts are not afraid to utilise electronic elements. However, "Apnea", "Satellite" and "Fragile" are a lot more restrained, even poised, displaying a calmer side to the band by offering moments of light to balance the dark surrounding them.
"Apnea" and "Satellite" are well-constructed combinations of bubbling electronics and serene post-rock guitar lines, and the transition from tension-building atmospheres to soft, relaxing soundscapes in "Fragile" is seamless, especially given how the band create the different atmospheres and engulf you in only four minutes. But while those songs do show Australasia's potential, particularly in combining electronic music and guitar music, what makes those songs stand out in the context of this EP is that the more metallic efforts surrounding them are generally quite bland. The heavier songs all have similar sounding periods of 'heaviness', all utilising similar sounding Isis-lite riffs matched with similar blast-beam drum patterns. Moreover, the drums are too tinny and the riffs too anonymous for either to have any real punch. These songs lack any memorability, making it difficult to distinguish between them.
Ultimately, Australasia's main short-comings aren't unexpected for a young band: they haven't quite worked out how to combine their own ideas with their wide-range of influences into a cohesive listening experience. It was unlikely Australasia's ability would quite match up to their ambitions with their first swing of the bat, though. Their heavier efforts are rather tame, but the quieter songs do display their genre-bending potential that could further reveal itself on future releases.
Download: Satellite, Fragile
For The Fans of: And So I Watch You From Afar, Pelican, Mogwai, Russian Circles, Lymbyc System, Cult of Luna
Release Date 14.08.2012
Global Morning Sounds