By Seven Nautical Miles
Like six post-metal Viking Kings wandering in search of their riff Valhalla, Seven Nautical Miles' debut album is a densely layered, dark and brooding affair in the tradition of all great epic post-metal bands - namely, that crushingly heavy, glacial guitars are interspersed with delicate light arpeggios that glimmer like the aurora borealis (ok, enough Viking/Scandinavian clichés). But don't be scared that all songs descend into twelve-minute marathon beard-stroking sessions - there's a lot of clever structure and instrumental interplay that keeps the songs fresh.
Admittedly Seven Nautical Miles stick to the well-visited "quiet/LOUD" dynamic that is de-rigour for this genre, however they know how to mix the two well without leaning too heavily on either approach. Opener "Crane" sees an intricate, barely audible guitar build into a great crescendo in the vein of "Xmas Steps" by Mogwai. Drums rarely rise above a pedestrian tempo throughout, seemingly intent on supporting the cut and thrust of the three guitarists at work on their epic quest. Out of the six tracks, "Take Me Away" is the most impressive, combining duelling metal riffs and vocal growls with sedate layers of reverb guitars.
Although Seven Nautical Miles may not be quite as ambitious in style and execution as contemporaries such as Russian Circles, they offer an ambitious approach to the post-metal genre that at times is captivating and a delight to listen to.