Saturday, March 23, 2013

Some thoughts on Naal's Wilderlands

Naal's "Wilderlands" is an interesting proposition. Post-rock, ambient drone, guitar drone and even growling metal are all explored on this release … but rather than bring all these parts together he explores them separately … which makes for a rather odd listening experience. Please don't get me wrong, it is a delightfully odd experience and one that points to great potential for the future.

Naal is a talented musician and he certainly demonstrates this talent on "Wilderlands", a five-track 49 minute self-released album.

His opening track - "Through The Glades" - is the utmost in post-rock perfection. It is one of the most gorgeous of guitar-led soundscapes I've heard in a while … very Lowercase Noises-esque.

We are then taken on a long drone journey entitled "The Halls Of Waiting". This is a full-on drone … not a post-rock 'incidental soundscape' that finishes a track … but seriously long-form ambient soundscape and I like it ... albeit I'll admit I needed to be in the mood for it.

The third track - “The Gate” - is another slice of deliciously instrumental rock music ... less post than the first track but as good, if not better. The track really stands out as a result of the infectious melody and upbeat movement that sits to the fore. I really like this track. There is something about it that really connects with me.

The penultimate track - “Wilderlands” - is a fuzzed-out, sludgy rockfest of a track ... really guttural but with a utterly delightful guitar piece that complements the main rhythmic grunt ... a melodic counterbalance to the grungy guitar. This track really works for me and it is rather disappointing when it finishes.

Albeit it doesn't *really* finish but moves into an 18 minute guitar-fuzz laden drone piece entitled “Under the Mountain” which features, in places, some additional commentary from Naal (I think). To be honest, I think this track is the weakest on the release ... it doesn't really do anything to what is an otherwise tight EP. I love drone but this doesn’t do anything for me.

All in, I really liked this release - I see real promise in Naal and look forward to hearing more from him. My advice to him (if I may be so bold) is to stick to the post-rock / metal soundscapes ... these are very, very good ... and take it easy with the drones, they aren't to everyones taste.

Please take the time to have a listen (below) and, if you can, support truly independent music by buying the EP.


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