Review Summary: One of the best albums of the year, Young Mountain is proof that post-rock is not dead, but it requires a polished and precise sound. This Will Destroy You produces that sound perfectly.
It was a cold November evening. It was Chapter Championships, and my marching band looked to defeat everyone at the competition. I stood upon a hill, looking down at a small football stadium that seemed randomly placed in the middle of a Pennsylvania town in the middle of nowhere. As the sun began to set, I looked down on the field, knowing that in less than an hour, that would be my stage. The stands only went up about 8 rows, and hardly anyone sat in the stands. We were the second band on, so not everyone had arrived at the time. But that didn’t matter; I knew that myself and the marching band would go out and touch everyone, no matter how few, in the stands. That feeling, the contained intensity that builds up, ready to be released at any moment, perfectly simulates the music of This Will Destroy You. Young Mountain isn’t innovative or groundbreaking. Most of this is really a polished version of what post-rock bands have been doing for years. It has the typical growth of a whisper to a scream. The band utilizes a mostly guitar rock outfit, although they throw piano, electronic drums, violin, and other various instruments along the way. They could be likened to a more concise and accessible Godspeed You! Black Emperor. They sound more like a rock band, they play listenable song lengths, but they still build to climaxes as heart-wrenching and epic as Godspeed.
I could go on about how fantastic the sound is, but that’s not really the concept to grasp here. It’s only 36 minutes and considered by some an EP, but nothing has ever captured the essence of that intensity I felt before the competition described earlier. How fitting that the album starts with a song entitled Quiet
. As it begins with beautiful piano strikes, the rest of the band lies in wait. It is a perfect representation of the tension and release tactics used by the band. Amazingly, the song only uses one chord progression and one main drum pattern throughout the entire song, yet the variation in intensity and sound is incredible. There is no hint of changing tempos; the drummer plays like a human metronome. But where Quiet
was the build of a controlled yet relentless intensity, The World Is Our ____
is more the contemplation of what to do with an opportunity at hand. This Will Destroy You, in addition to their nearly flawless execution of their music, creates excellent titles for their music, giving the listener something to think about. It adds to the story I imagine through the music of This Will Destroy You. The World Is Our ____
is more drawn out than most of the album, until a final realization and climax at the end of the song. Faintly, the main melody plays under the wall of sound but with more confidence, symbolizing the finality of the decision to make the best of opportunity.
Still, as the story goes on, the music changes to accompany the mood. Grandfather Clock
is a short track that is more electronic based. They created the main drum beat through various electronic blips and beeps rather than a typical electronic snare. The rapid style of the beat gives a sense of motion to the song although the rest of the melody is more soothing and calm. Happiness: We’re All In It Together
brings a violin into the mix and adds just another melody to weave into the music. Although the song may be the longest and most drawn out of the album, the entire album is actually building to its final moments. There Are Some Remedies Worse Than the Disease
ends at the album’s heaviest point. It follows a superb build led by percussive accents. The final sound is the final release of the intensity built up throughout the album. Nothing is distinguishable, but it all creates one dense and full sound. Out of control yet together, the final sound is worth the wait.
Young Mountain is a story of capitalizing on opportunity. With that being something I strongly believe in doing whenever possible, it serves as inspiration and accompaniment to how I live my life. But more than that, This Will Destroy You’s debut is proof that the typical post-rock sound is not yet old and worn out, it can still be done well and enjoyably. Crammed into accessible song lengths, the band plays with a confidence and aura that most post-rock bands do not possess. The band, especially the guitarists, plays with a little more confidence and a little less contemplativeness. But Young Mountain is just that, a monumental achievement that still has somewhere to go and somewhere to build. They are a young band with a lot of potential and talent, and they certainly produced one of the best albums of the year.
The World Is Our ____
There Are Some Remedies Worse Than the Disease