Post Rock is a very hard genre to write about and to actually discuss. What could be considered beautiful and inspiring to one fan could be considered generic and merely solid to another, albeit not bad. You don’t actually get that many ’bad’ Post Rock albums full stop to be honest, it’s a genre where an old cliché applies to extremely well. ’Easy to learn, hard to master.’ Or something along those lines, either way, the main problem for Post Rock bands is not to make their music ’good’, so to speak, but to make it really good, that’s the only way to get attention in this genre.
So, how does SHADOWCAST SUN try to do this then? Well, let’s have a quick run down as to what this CD supplies us with: Beautiful little sprinkles of melody, crashing climaxes, surprisingly sudden guitar introductions, and an often paranoid and haunting atmosphere. There’s only one feature there that will really have a Post Rock fan take attention, and that’s the atmosphere. There is an aura of unease that creeps upon “Void” which makes it slightly more interesting that it would otherwise be, best shown on songs like “Catalyse”, “Compulsion To Stale” or “Panicked Release”. Each of these songs achieve this mood in different ways, “Catalyse” has a very cold and paranoid melody running through the heart of the song, which is then further accentuated by heavy guitars in the final climax. “Compulsion To Stale” is a completely different affair, with heavy guitar riffs being the focus of the song, pounding away in the foreground while enchanting melodies dance around behind it, occasionally bringing themselves to the forefront. “Panicked Release”, on the other hand, foregoes the use of heavy guitar riffs, instead relying on its hypnotising melodies and smooth bass lines to draw the listener in.
On the whole, SHADOWCAST SUN forego the obvious form of beauty and instead try to make it something a little more sinister and deep. What this manages to do is to really draw the listener into its atmosphere, making those crashing climaxes all the more delightful and powerful. A personal highlight for me is the epic “Without Form”, simply for its HUGE climax at the end of the song, which brings the volume and intensity up to at least three times more than before.
Unfortunately for SHADOWCAST SUN though, “Void” is still hopelessly outshined by some of the other Post Rock albums released this year. PG.LOST, SLEEPMAKESWAVES and FOLLOWED BY GHOSTS have all released albums that are on the whole much more powerful, moving and memorable. Still though, “Void” has an interesting premise, and a reasonably good execution. A clearer production would do it a lot of good, and maybe a couple more ambitious songs, but it’s a good start from a promising Post Rock unit. I actually enjoyed this release, but there was nothing to make me come back, nothing to really make me sit up and listen. SHADOWCAST SUN have fallen into the trap a lot of good Post Rock bands do, they’ve made a good album, but it’s not exceptional. It seems like a harsh complaint, but that’s Post Rock for you.