The Fire in our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw

Hydra Head
rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Last Day of Winter
02. Autumn into Summer
03. March to the Sea
05. Red Ran Amber
06. Aurora Borealis
07. Sirius

I remember hearing all the hype about PELICAN's 2004 debut full-length album, "Australasia". "How exciting could an instrumental album really be, regardless of riff heaviness and earth moving rhythms," I asked myself. Well, I finally broke down and bought the damn thing. Still carrying a healthy level of skepticism, I spun the disc…and kept on spinning it. It's now one of a select few that I still play to this day. Once you get sucked in, lamentations over the lack of vocals quickly vanish. The music of Chicago's PELICAN will overtake you, that is, if you appreciate fine musicianship and the painting of vast landscapes and mountainous terrain with guitars, bass, and drums.

Then came the "March into the Sea" EP, which I unfortunately haven't heard, followed by the new full-length, "The Fire in our Throats will Beckon the Thaw". This time, the question became one of whether "Australasia" would turn out to be an anomalous experience, the feeling of "been there, done that" replacing awe. Nope, "The Fire in our Throats…" offers a whole new level of intrigue.

The music of "The Fire in our Throats…" not only conjures visions of earth's explosive creation, but also the blending of pristine beauty with nature's unforgiving wrath. It's powerful stuff. You may experience altogether different visions, or maybe I just need to reduce my prescribed dosage. Regardless, the disc's seven tracks demonstrate PELICAN's confidence in moving ever forward into new territories. Mammoth riffs hitting with hurricane force now meet lighter six-string winds. Calmness amidst the rumble can be found throughout the disc. One untitled track consists only of acoustic guitars. The main melody on "Autumn into Summer" is most delightful, the guitars of Laurent Lebec and Trevor de Brauw working together so effortlessly. Reduced from the 20-minute version on the aforementioned EP to a mere 11:37, "March to the Sea" is perhaps the hardest driving tune of the batch, ultimately turning into a gloriously amplified jam.

The one constant here is compositional excellence. Make no mistake though, "The Fire in our Throats…" is a heavy rock album. The band just paints with more colors and uses a bigger canvas on this one.

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