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Gespenst: The Bloodline

Post-rock is always a tough nut to crack. Its inherent emphasis on abstract structures and jigsaw puzzle construction usually polarizes listeners into two camps: those who find affective brilliance within the intricate musicianship and those who are utterly bored by the often repetitive sequences. Fortunately, on its newest release, The Bloodline, Gespenst crafts masterful compositions that just about anyone should feel fit easily into the former category. Honestly, this is some of the most emotionally engaging music I've heard in a long time, and the fact that each piece offers something special (without ever including vocals) is great.

Interestingly, the group is quick to declare, "We're not a band; we're brothers." Founded in 2009, Syahmi and Zuhair Rawl describe themselves as a duo "known by their minimal riffs and sounds but presented in a big and cinematic style." According to them, "Every note and riff in each song has its own emotion and shaped by ambient sounds and heavy soundscapes." Their influences include Khoma, Mono, and Maybeshewill, and I'd wager that fans of 65daysofstatic and Godspeed You! Black Emperor will find plenty to like on The Bloodline.

Although the album is relatively short (less than forty minutes), it's packed with poignant, heartfelt sentiments, as well as a plethora of fascinating ideas and impressive dynamics. Opener "Silver Lining" begins with ominous cellos before incorporating reserved percussion, profound orchestration, and minimalistic guitar lines. It builds wonderfully until its somber and reserved conclusion. As for the rest of the album, it contains variations on this approach. One second, a guitar line is piercing your heart, and the next, a sudden piano interlude is declaring picturesque longing. Intertwined within these elements are bold percussion, dreamy effects, and arresting orchestration. It's a wonder how the duo can compose such intricate pieces while still maintaining accessibility and universality.

The Bloodline is a masterful release; its countermelodies and dynamic expertise ignite our most delicate feelings, such as of longing, regret, and nostalgia. It's obvious that the Rawl brothers went into exhausting detail to ensure that each note and timbre is perfectly placed. All in all, there's no doubt that with the right memories in mind, this album will move you to tears, and I for one can't wait to hear what Gespenst does next.

Track Listing
1. Silver Lining
2. The Bloodline
3. Memoir
4. Departure
5. Leaving the Light
6. September
7. Vermissen

Added: July 26th 2012
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2337
Language: english

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