Sprawling melancholia and metallic anguish collide on Shallov‘s sophomore full-length, Concrete & Glass.
The integration of screamo with elements of post-rock and post-hardcore has spawned quite a few critically-acclaimed acts over the years, including Envy and The Saddest Landscape to name a few. Shallov is yet another band to adopt this emotionally-charged sonic amalgam, and while they do not offer anything drastically different than their contemporaries, these Slovaks earn major props for possessing a tremendous amount of heart and gut-punching songwriting chops.
Following 2014’s No Place for Two, Concrete & Glass shows Shallov returning with improved production and more dynamic songs. This 30-minute excursion into incendiary angst and despair begins with the nearly 10-minute “I”, which weaves back and forth between icy post-rock and propulsive screamo. The instrumentation is fierce and frenetic throughout this track. The guitars unleash high-octane riffs that morph rapidly from concussive post-hardcore chord progressions to more complex, spiraling arrangements. The metallic bass lines converge with frantic drumming to create an equally intense rhythm section, while everything is propelled by throat-searing, distraught vocals in which the pain can be felt with each syllable.
“II and III” make up the meat of the record and provide some of the more potent moments to be found on the release, and in Shallov‘s discography in general. “II” is an atmospheric, melancholic track that refuses to skimp on its serenely melodious nature even during its more “aggressive” moments. The instrumentation crafts intertwining, glacial melodies that cycle between being gossamer thin and atmospherically heavy, but never losing its sense of beautiful fragility. “III” is more of a slow-burning composition as it conjures tension-building clean sections that crescendo into post-hardcore stampedes. Its driving rhythms charge hand-in-hand with tremolo-picked riffs during the song’s more intense moments, but always eventually meld with layers of ethereal sound.
“IV” concludes Concrete & Glass on a high and heavy note. Despite its occasional clean breaks and slow-building, melodic sections, “IV” is consistently sonically and emotionally heavy throughout. The seven-minute stormer rushes out of the gate pummeling the listener with furious, yet somber chords and concussive drum work that briefly detours into calm, post-rock territory before launching into full-speed screamo yet again. This tear-soaked rampage continues to push forward without yield, gradually accumulating layers of airy ambiance as it progresses, steadily building to a climax of epic and sorrowful proportions.
Shallov’s take on the screamo-meets-post-rock style is not a new one by any means, but that will not stop listeners from being totally enveloped in its compelling songwriting and authentic passion.
Release Date: February 10, 2017
Favorite Tracks: “I” and “III”
For Fans Of: Envy, The Saddest Landscape and City of Caterpillar