Nordic Giants

A Séance Of Dark Delusions

Written by: MN on 20/10/2015 19:33:10

The past couple of years ago I got into the post-rock scene where bands like This Will Destroy You, Alcest and God Is An Astronaut featured heavily on my weekly playlists. What is to some people the most yawn-inducing and slow-winded music in the world, is to others, the most inspiring and cathartic of all. Post-rock is often rejected by people who, just like with fast-food, do not have the patience to sit and wait out a slow roast on a Sunday. Despite this quirky comparison, I think it makes perfect sense, post-rock is for people that retain a patient disposition that eventually hope to reach a meditative or at least transformed state of musical awareness and appreciation, just as a gourmet chef may use a sous vide to create astounding dishes. (Google it, I’m not going to bother explaining it). So, in the search for new ventures within this genre, I came across Nordic Giants whilst YouTube browsing, where their video for “Rapture” lifted some eyebrows. Not unlike Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Nordic Giants place a huge emphasis on the aesthetic visual appeal of their live shows and video productions, so the question is which kind of effect will their recent LP “A Séance of Dark Delusions” have solely based on an auditory judgement. Let's have a listen, then.

Nordic Giants start the record off by setting an atmosphere of 80s inspired synths and clean soaring vocals. The song “Elysian Skies” has an almost Vangelis’-like approach (For those who don’t know, it’s the guy who made “Chariots Of Fire” and more importantly “Conquest of Paradise"), the music is hand-tailored to induce some visual imaginary representations. The opener is an introductory queue to “Evolve Or Perish” which utilizes electronic elements a la Kavinsky, but eventually adds piano and some commendable drum work to the mix.

Nordic Giants are off to a good start here with a significant introduction, even using a quote from Michael C. Ruppert from the vice documentary “Collapse”. It is clear that their album is thematically dystopian, alluding to critiques of capitalistic exploitation and themes of evolution and the ultimate depletion of our resources.

“Rapture” is the album's first single and contains the airy vocals of Beth Cannon, that brings to mind Florence And The Machine, but miles more operatic in execution. The song also brings forth a more aggressive instrumental section, where distortion features significantly for the first time. “Give Flight To Imagination” continues in a similar vein with larger than life female vocals, this time provided by Freyja. These first two songs complement each other well but are in danger of becoming tedious as they are hugely similar.

Luckily, “Dissolve” brings in some great male vocals and a more grounded approach. Pianos and electronic elements feature heavily throughout this record, and it is actually a breath of fresh air to have some keys featuring as a dominant component of the music. “Futures Dark” marks a midway point that clearly signals a different direction where the vocals take a different, almost more organic direction, it is nowhere near as theatrical and the use of distorted guitar effects should appease those looking for more cacophony. “Black Folds” reduces the pace and gently leads in a brass-dominate piece, where “A Thousand Lost Dreams” seals the album as one of the stronger tracks that allows for more a guitar-based focus.

Nordic Giants are a new discovery of mine, so my verdict is solely based on this release, which I feel a bit inconclusive about. On one hand, I think the production is seamless and the combination of post-rock's soaring guitars, piano and synths is a refreshing take on a genre that is often very guitar dominated. I must admit that I sometimes feel that this formula was overused and thereby suffers from overkill as a whole. The different vocal contributions are very strong, but the instrumental format tends to repeat itself a bit too much. It is nevertheless, an album with some strong highlights and it paints some vivid pictures. I wouldn’t hesitate to see one of their visual shows if this is the soundtrack.


Download: Rapture, A Thousand Lost Dreams, Futures Dark
For The Fans Of: Moonlit Sailor, Mogwai, Monsters Build Mean Robots

Release date 20.04.2015
K Scope Music

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