Vancouver
The Moment

The Swiss have really latched onto the droning ambiance and ebbing builds of Isis, Cult of Luna and Neurosis with the likes on Zatokrev, Overmars, Impure Wilhemina and Vancouver (which features members of Impure Wilhemina) making a name for themselves on home shores. Signed to the usually grindcore and death metal based death metal Deepsend (but licensed from Division Records), how will Vancouver fare? Pretty well I’d say.What makes Vancouver a little different is there immediacy; rather than deliver stretches of ambient interludes or lengthy introductions, Vancouver often dive straight into their lurching dissonance and staggered angular riffage and keep them relatively short to boot for those like me with ADD. The first two songs, “Maraschino” and “The Ninth Hour” get straight to the pained screams and rumbling heaviness with a sort of Burnt By The Sun cerebral discordance. It’s not until “Damocles” that Vancouver unveil their more introspective side with a spatial drone and acoustic track, and even then its only 3 minutes long. The ambience drifts over into the start of “Apollo” before the thoughtful soundscape is rudely interrupted by the crushing riff that explodes 30 seconds in. I hear some Burst and France’s Comity (without the chaos) in the bulk of Vancouver’s songs with a sturdy pace yet dreamy swathe to their noise. The short but effective cello piece “Exosphpere” is superbly implemented as a well timed and haunted break in the throbbing noise before the lumbering and aptly titled “A Valid Gait” saunters into view with a the album’s longest track (a thankfully mere 6 minutes)

What I enjoyed about the album other than its exceptional heaviness and quality was that it’s an album designed for my short attention span. As much as I like the likes of Isis and Co., the meandering drawn out intros and interludes lose me, especially when I’m looking for a quick dose of heaviness on my car on a short drive, and although The Moment is still an album that requires listening as a whole to fully appreciate it, it requires less effort. Even the purely ambient “Altamon” is short a succinct allowing you to get straight to the heart of the album and absorb the punishing likes of the willfully ominous “The Detachment”.

Unfortunately, the album ends on somewhat of a sour note with “The Portrait”; a clean song ballad of sorts that would have been better served as an instrumental. Still, as an overall debut effort, this is a damn good example of a growing genre, and the Swiss have a knack of nailing it down perfectly and shows Deepsend is spreading their wings a bit as a label.

Highly recommended.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
September 3rd, 2004

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