Review Summary: One of the brightest stars in modern experimental rock.
One of the brightest stars in modern experimental rock is the Australian constellation Closure in Moscow. Received with critical acclaim, the band's debut EP 'The Penance and the Patience' burst into the ambient post-hardcore scene with a new standard in subtle songwriting. A full year later, 'First Temple' builds an atmospheric layer over the sound they developed on their EP. This layer blankets some of the sharpness from 'The Penance and the Patience', but that's not to say that the band has lost their heavy edge. 'First Temple' is shrouded with a more mysterious and antiquated vibe, and the instrumentation reflects this mood. The peacefulness is contrasted by moments of intensity, and the constant oscillation of temper is what sets this record apart from its peers.
The atmosphere is powerfully evident from the first track, 'Kissing Cousins.' Closure in Moscow's stunning technical ability underlines this track, hopping from jarring guitar chords to bongos in the space of seconds. Lead singer Chris De Cinque has amazing vocal chemistry with guitarist and backing vocalist Mansur Zennelli, a chilling piano outro cementing their command.
'Reindeer Age' starts off beautifully and tenderly, resounding guitars dancing around Cinque's voice. Before long, the four-minute deluge fades like clockwork into 'Sweet#hart,' which begins in a similar fashion - twangy strums summon the full fury of the band, featuring the use of higher vocal ranges and a catchy-as-all-hell chorus. The track boasts a brilliant roller-coaster song structure, sure to sway crowds in live settings.
The technical fury of 'Vanguard' screams Fall Of Troy and The Mars Volta. Everything about this track is fast-paced and furious, the chorus making use of the sweeter vocal ability of Cinque and Zennelli. Jittery techno flits around Zennelli chanting: "It's coming, it's coming." As abruptly as it began, the song brakes immediately to a halt. 'A Night At The Spleen' takes its place, starting slowly, building into enormity. The power of their hooks really show their flair in this song, an uncompromisingly catchy tune that plays on its atmosphere, to create one of the stronger tracks of the album.
First Temple is an album in motion, to say the least. Tracks like 'Afterbirth' continue to showcase the brilliant experimental instrumentation of the band, as if they are masters of any instrument they reach for. The band carries ambiance quite well - every track is soothingly coated in a muffle of haze and soft echo. 'I Couldn't Let You Love Me' is a very Thrice-esque instrumental track, soothing and distant, and leads nicely to the final song, which ebbs and flows into a sea of static.
All in all, this band has done well to release an album that does well to represent the potential the band possesses. First Temple is a fantastically catchy and moody album the will appease old fans, and garner new ones. An album that perfectly frames the artistic talents of Closure in Moscow, 'First Temple' shows that you don't have to be draped in stars and stripes to make cornerstone rock.