O'Brother

Disillusion

Written by: DR on 22/08/2013 07:59:38

Even in their short career so far, O'Brother have proven themselves as a band on a level above most of their contemporaries. On "Garden Window", their debut LP, they masterfully combined the power of metal, the angst of alternative rock and the beauty of post-rock to form an album so assured and cohesive, even as it tackled the different corners of rock music, that it still stands as one of the genre's best releases in recent years. Two years on, and this Atlanta, USA-based quintet with a knack of genre-defying are back with "Disillusion", yet another step in their progression as they search for the perfect balance between destruction and serenity.

"Garden Window" was a colourful and versatile record, and the album artwork reflected that. "Disillusion", as evidenced its artwork, is considerably bleaker, but not necessarily any less subtle. And that's what to expect from the album. Where its predecessor ran the gamut in terms of textures, this LP sees O'Brother focused more on expanding their love for thick, sludgy metal in the vein of Isis and Alice in Chains, and then creating beauty and vulnerability within this landscape through gorgeous progressive atmospheres and Merritt's wonderfully intense vocals. Their sound is even more controlled and exercises a greater degree of song dynamics; the lyrics are less obvious, and the vocals blend more into the music for a greater orchestra of sound.

Opening one-two "Come Into The Divice" and "Parasitical" executes the duality between the heavy and the soft to great effect; the former offers airy, seductive melodies and Merritt's most angelic and alluring vocal performance to date, and then that soundscape is torn into by the latter as it gathers momentum through its thunderous riffs until it uncompromisingly releases walls of devastating sound. "Context" continues like a sonic earthquake, with its powerful riffs juxtaposed by Merritt's soaring croons offering little reprieve. "Perilous Love" is guided through majestic texture and tempo changes by Merritt's most versatile and enchanting vocal performance to date, and "Path of Folly" is a creeping masterclass in creating haunting atmospheres through impeccably layered instrumentation.

O'Brother have always been a band that rewards patience. It took them five years to release their first LP, and when it did arrive it was over an hour long and incredibly dense, but it was also incredibly rewarding. "Disillusion" is another record that requires patience from the listener before it reveals its rewards. "Oblivion", a nine-minute descent into madness right in the middle, epitomizes this. The tempo is sluggish, and the song lacks any recognisable energy, but the descent is so astutely captured and told that you'll be mesmerized as the song burns towards its climax. The title-track, another nine-minutes, creates soundscapes so delicately poised in its opening that Deftones would be proud of them, before steadily building towards its capturing explosion.

They are only two albums in, but O'Brother have already begun to secure their status as one of the most creative and rewarding rock bands of the moment. "Disillusion" marks a refinement of their darker sound, focusing more on creating subtlety and textures that reward over repeated listens as you expose yourself to it. It is a record engaging from start to finish, seamlessly marrying their love for crushing metal music and progressive soundscapes, capturing aggression and beauty with equal deference in a manner few bands are capable of. Although it lacks the immediacy and versatility of its predecessor, once you give yourself over to it, you'll be rewarded with a record of such immense power that it will utterly floor you.

Download: Come Into The Divide, Disillusion, Absence
For The Fans of: Deftones, Isis, Alice in Chains, Thrice, Mogwai, Muse, Radiohead
Listen: Facebook

Release Date 20.08.2013
Triple Crown Records


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