Mouth of the Architect
Quietly

“Post-rock” is always a genre I’m reluctant to throw around because of its inherent “what the fuck genre is that?” status. For my part, slapping “post-rock” anywhere near or around a band has many times put them in listener’s purgatory, and I have shoved numerous worthy post-rock bands aside prior to hearing their albums that I can explore other better-defined (or pigeonholed) bands that probably didn’t deserve the time. Isis comes to mind, Pelican’s another, and Mouth of the Architect makes three.

Indubitably, Mouth of the Architect is not as gripping as the former two in my above statement, probably due in great part to MOTA’s unequivocal aping of Isis. Quietly, and for that matter any other post-rock release, is liable to come under great scrutiny for sounding remotely like Oceanic or Panopticon because the genre hasn’t quite hit the “we’ve done everything this genre has to offer” mark (give it about twenty years; we’ll have ‘proto-post-rock’ by then, just you wait and see). We’ve all heard the argument before: “well, this is good, but THOSE GUYS are great.” Well, “THOSE GUYS” happen to be Isis in this case, for better or worse.

MOTA’s a little deceiving early on, what with light, melodic guitars and keyboards, only to follow with blunt force sludge bass and drums. It’s like a pretty girl (or boy, whatever tickles your fancy) seduces you their way with a wave of the finger, and once you get there, they sock you in the mouth with equal amounts brevity and bitterness. Such is the case for most of the songs, save “A Beautiful Corpse,” which waylays the niceties for the meat-and-potatoes ball-busting sludge, and a couple of interludes sans testicles entirely, though “Pine Boxes” actually makes for one of Quietly‘s most touching moments, rather than one of its most denigrating. When vocals are present, they reverberate through your stomach for a moment; this is especially true of Julie Christmas’ guest appearance on “Generation of Ghosts,” acting as something of a good cop/bad cop vocal approach to Jason Watkins’ mighty roar.

I’m still not sure what “post-rock” is, but Quietly was good enough to keep my attention with nary a blast-beat in sight, and that’s saying something.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kris Yancey
December 1st, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: sandwiches

    I think this is a fantastic “post metal” or “neurisis” style cd. Easily in my top 10 for the year along with cult of Luna’s eternal kingdom. I’m not really sure how a bastbeat reference made its way into this review but it seems.. completely unwarranted. Maybe someone with a more in-depth understanding of this (whatever you wanna call it) genre should have reviewed this one. I hardly think it’s just another entry into this style, but more a standard by which releases of this style should be judged.


  2. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Dark Tranquillity doesn’t ape At The Gates just as MOTA doesn’t ape Isis. They’re just in the same genre. If you need blastbeats to keep your attention maybe you weren’t the reviewer this band needed. I’m not saying that as an insult, I just mean it like this: give the black metal to Grim and give the death/grindcore to you.


  3. Commented by: Yancey

    Well, to be honest, Erik needed someone to review the album, and I happened to have it. I’m not the foremost expert on post-rock by any stretch, and death metal’s definitely my forte, but I don’t think that should discount the fact that I liked it or not. Because, y’know, I did, and I usually don’t like this kinda stuff. That’s what the blast beat comment was meant to be: self-admitted inexperience with the genre, but ultimate satisfaction from this release despite said inexperience.

    Still, I’m hearing a ton of ‘Oceanic’ stuff on a couple of these songs.


  4. Commented by: gabaghoul

    I dunno Cynic… I think he liked it.

    Given that I have had Eternal Kingdom on repeat for the last three hours (great background music for PuzzleQuest), I think I’ll have to check this out.


  5. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Well yeah, it seems he did but I find this to be a landmark release in the genre. I guess I expected a gushing/cream-panties review. :(


  6. Commented by: Stiffy

    Never really liked the “post rock” thing. I do enjoy this though.


  7. Commented by: Redstar

    Perhaps one reviewing a genre of music that is unfamiliar or even unliked and coming away somewhat impressed speaks favorably upon the record being reviewed.

    I like to hear the opinions of all people. Is there anything more fruitless than a record being reviewed by a total fan-boy?

    Good review Yancey.


  8. Commented by: Shawn Pelata

    I think its a good thing when people review albums that are outside thier general listening habits…especially when they come away impressed and inspired to dig deeper into the band.

    Speaking of which, I want this album now…


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