Arctic Plateau
The Enemy Inside

I have to admit I wasn’t at all familiar with Gianluca Divirgilio’s works in Arctic Plateau before digging into this release, but I’m quite pleasantly surprised and satisfied with what I’m hearing. The Enemy Inside isn’t a metal album by any means. Once that fact is straight out of the woodwork and looking you in the face, you might wanna take note; but still, mark my words, buckle up – there’s plenty of intensity to go by within a vast majority of those eleven tracks. Gianluca’s vocal approach goes through an impressive panoply of ranges and moods (going from soft nostalgia to downright agony sometimes within the blink of an eye), the rhythm sections can bring to mind the worst of inner dementias just as well as strawberry fields in the July sun, and such mint contrasts are cleverly backed up by some pretty neat proggy jazz fusion bass licks and drumming that doesn’t necessarily go to great lengths to push out of the box repeatedly in this kind of setting, but does, on the other hand, have enough passionate presence to throw some nice shockwaves into this frankly shiver-inducing and rather captivating sound. Divirgilio creates his own type of aggression on an emotional level with this disc. You just gotta focus on how much each note of a couple of those beautifully melodramatic leads speaks volumes about downright desperado to catch my drift proper.

”Music’s Like..” stuns from the get-go. It has this spine-crushing kind of depressive bleakness to it, as much as a certain hint of innocence, and that intelligent mash-up of the two polar opposite mind frames sure knows to move me in its complex but effective endeavor. ”Idiot Adult” dives even deeper into the abysses of downright ad misericordiam with ghostly background leads that are positively haunting, guiding the track into one sudden pit stop that erupts into a gripping and staggering accentuation of the drumming’s ferocity, adding just the right touch of oomph to aptly seal the deal and make this song an essential for fans of the desolate and grim spectrum of the post-rock scene. It truly leaves a mark on the psyche instead of breezing by with nary a trace of personality, and that’s one talent I don’t have trouble believing Arctic Plateau’s been proudly helming on past releases, judging by those first two pieces alone. The short ”Abuse” doesn’t particularly stand out, sounding like an expansion of the previous cut in the nature of its approach, but the all-consuming ”Catarctic Cartoons” is fantastically quenching my thirst for more debilitating darkness. It does possess the tools of the trade to strike deep down under and is arranged well enough to keep the interest on board all through it’s 3.55 minutes of deliciously eerie instrumentation. The absence of vocals doesn’t make it any less poignant.

The title-track sure has its own merit as well. The massively enjoyable build-up around the 3 minute mark leading into Gianluca’s well sustained and interestingly gritty growling (supported by very tempestuous drumming and the song’s memorably grey main lick) has a heavy-hitting impact and closes the track with notable skill, yet again proving that diverse and well thought-out songwriting sure is a forte around these parts. The superb ”Melancholy Is Not Only for Soldiers” has a contemplative depth that reminds me of Solstafir‘s recent works in a less than deniable way.”Loss and Love” goes into more of an accessible and radio-friendly format, and whilst its touch of Radiohead influence sure isn’t despicable, I can’t help but to think it stands apart from the straight-forward direction of the rest of the album. I can say the same about ”Big Fake Brother” that sails on those same waters with ease, but very much without enough strength of character. It’s not until ”Wrong” crawls in that I actually looked up and took notice; it has its fair amount of calculating, quality licks, and a mournful ambiance that absorbs the senses incredibly well, and ”Trensatte” is one kickass progressive and abstract instrumental number that scores points in both the chops and the originality departments with much feel and organic dedication on board.

I’d be lying if I plainly stated that all shoegaze/post-rock acts know to blow my mind. It takes very refined mastery to ace this sub-genre and make a lasting impression, and it goes without saying that Arctic Plateau should get more attention. It’s being earned for damn certain on this album. I’ll gladly have more of this goodness at any time.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Noch
April 30th, 2012

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