Sigh. Big, drawn-out, unnaturally loud sigh.
No, I’m not lamenting because “The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw” is a bad record. No nee no no no no, far from it. In fact, it’s quite a good record. It’s flowing and celestial, proficient and professional. What I’m worried about is how hard this review is going to be to write. PELICAN has always had heavy rotation in my player due to their unique delivery of slow, droning and lumbering riffs mixed with subtle melodic flourishes. The band often got compared to Post-Rockers such as EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY or MOGWAI, but one thing always set PELICAN apart: the heaviness. Whereas those bands were Post-Rock, PELICAN were Metal. Of course, I emphasize the word “were,” which is why this review is so difficult. PELICAN have gone and significantly changed their style, but still released a quality record.
Yup, the band has exchanged their lumbering heaviness for lots of Post-Rock noodling, this time making them sound almost exactly the aforementioned EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY and MOGWAI. When the riffs are there, they are huge, but they are few and far between. The whole record is much more up-tempo than the band’s past work and the droning repetitiveness has been replaced by increasingly-layered crescendos. All of these factors go together to give “The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw” a much different feel than the band’s first full-length “Australasia.” Whereas the first record was a pitch black pool of sludge, this one is much more colourful and…well, sparkling. “Australasia” had a marching, foreboding feel to it, whereas “The Fire” is much more expansive and organic.
I can’t emphasize this enough, though: the music here is really good. “Last Day Of Winter” starts out with an incredible and infectious guitar line before going into the biggest crescendo you’ll ever hear and “Autumn Into Summer” spends the last half of its life pounding you into submission with awesome double bass below riff after riff. “March To The Sea” is much the same as “March Into The Sea” released earlier in the same year and is probably one of the most intense and ferocious pieces here. Continuing in the tradition of “Australasia,” there is an untitled acoustic number, though this one is much less sombre, more upbeat and perhaps even folky. “Red Ran Amber” starts out like vintage PELICAN before settling into lots of noodling, eventually to return to a huge ending. “Aurora Borealis” and “Sirius” flow together seemlessly to end the album on a good, but definitely Post-Rock note.
So yeah, it’s a good album, but is it enjoyable? Well, that all depends on your tolerance for Post-Rock. Personally, I don’t like Post-Rock at all, so this album is a huge disappointment after “Australasia.” Nevertheless, it’s a really good record and if you can enjoy the new direction of the band this album might just blow your mind. In my rating below, I’ve tried to take both of those viewpoints into account, but I’m still not satisfied with the rating. After all, it might grow on me, but then again, part of the awesomeness of “Australasia” and the “Untitled EP” is that they grabbed me by the throat instantly, planting images of continental drift and massive battles of orcish armies into my mind on the first listen. At this point, “The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw” only brings to mind the image of a bunch of guys in tight clothes noodling away on their guitars, occasionally remembering their former greatness.
There are no links to mp3s or anything that I could find, but you can head over to the band’s website to listen to some samples through an e-card. (Online October 19, 2005)