Mouth of the Architect - Quietly Review
by Mark Hensch
The silence is deafening on Mouth of the Architect's latest effort Quietly. Listening to it is like hearing two separate albums. If I could separate the two, the first album would sound like mammoth, spacial sludge while the second album would be stark, chilling ambient. Quietly is heavy then not just in terms of volume but in terms of feeling – for every crushing riff, there comes another point in which one's soul is crushed by a moment of soft regret.
As might be imagined, this situation creates a challenging listening experience. Quietly is a dense and long-winded album, the likes of which requires plenty of patience. For those willing to slip into its defeated, nihilistic atmosphere, the journey is a chilling one. Much like their compatriots in ISIS, Explosions in the Sky, and Burst, Mouth of the Architect craft poignant bursts of delicate melody contrasted with gargantuan power. The album's dynamics are equally fluid, with opposing emotions like hate and love, joy and sorrow, passion and apathy frequently coming into conflict. The end result of this is an album like a beam of light, oscillating between piercing and softness in the darkest of nights.
The album's title track is a good example of this. "Quietly" begins with hollow chimes, the likes of which induce soul-rattling chills. Out of this coldness emerges a shimmering guitar line, as reminiscent of ISIS as it is of Agalloch. By this time, "Quietly" has worked itself up into a ball of loud, trudging riffs, the likes of which are both elephantine and trance-inducing.
Following this is "Hate and Heartache," an ominous tune which twists a single set of transparent notes into a churning maelstrom of angst. Plodding and massive, the song's gut-wrenching lyrics reflect the malaise of existence while being backed by a huge wallop of atmospheric crunch.
"Generation of Ghosts," meanwhile, drifts by on ethereal hums before crashing into the Earth. The debris from this collision is beautiful indeed, with celestial notes floating into space as Made Out of Babies' Julie Christmas croons and sighs. The icing on the cake, however, is undoubtedly the psychedelic guitar squaws which close this epic cut.
Last but not least in the notable songs department is "A Beautiful Corpse." This song sways with vast grandeur, its slow-tempo both immovable and planet cracking. Never once sinking into the band's quieter moments, "Corpse" ends with a chorus of glacial howls, the likes of which is gloriously erased by a feedback loop.
Though heavy metal has already reached the stratosphere thanks to artists like Neurosis and ISIS, Mouth of the Architect provide a solid addition to the post-metal genre with Quietly. Though at times a bit long-in-tooth, the album is generally a powerful and reflective work of music. At the end of the day, an album like this illuminates that the subgenre is not done growing just yet.
Mouth of the Architect's Quietly
Hate and Heartache
Guilt and the Like
Generation of Ghosts
Rocking Chairs and Shotguns
A Beautiful Corpse
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Mouth of the Architect - Quietly
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