Souvenir’s Young America
An Ocean Without Water

While no instrumental metal expert or aficionado, I really enjoyed my first exposure to Virginia’s oddly named Souvenir’s Young America. Though superficially they play an expected form of lush, instrumental post rock a la Tides or Pelican, the very subtle injections of an almost Ennio Morricone-like Old Western undercurrent make the affair sound like a group of Cowboys out under the stars telling tales around a campfire while listening to Isis or Neurosis-and it’s pretty captivating stuff.

Amid the mid range length throes of shimmering, interpretive and rather laid back, introspective hues of layered instrumental tides, deft injections of harmonica’s, cellos and almost drawling acoustics give the album a deeper sense of emotion on top of the expected ebbs and peaks of the genre. The songs, while long, never veer over the 8 minute mark and perfectly deliver a sense of ebb, build, peak and come down in succinct, never overdrawn fashion.

Arguably the most relaxing and smoothly atmospheric and low key of the instrumental metal records I’ve heard, the subtle above additions make for a dreamy, expansive listen with hardly any aggressive and urgent bursts. Tracks like “Mars Ascendant”, “Blood Does Not a Father Make”, “Invocation in the Caldera”, and just flow with a almost care free, escapist sense of dreamy, ambience that imbues dusky, multi hued sunsets rather than crescendos of mountainous riffs.

An Ocean Without Water is a pleasure to listen to, and the ultimate relaxation album when I want to listen to artfully crafted metal that doesn’t get my blood pressure up.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
November 5th, 2007

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