This Will Destroy You
Tunnel Blanket


4.0
excellent

Review

by Eli EMERITUS
May 9th, 2011 | 89 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: In trimming the fat, This Will Destroy You have made the most beautiful and captivating release of their careers.

There’s a moment at the outset of Tunnel Blanket, one which deconstructed all pre-conceived notions of the band This Will Destroy You. A small moment, mind you, but a profound one nonetheless. From the opening seconds of “Little Smoke,“ the band creates an atmosphere, and one filled with an airy sort of enveloping beauty. It’s lulling, truly, as the unassuming ambiance entrancingly comforts, displaying a much more minimal band. However, a few minutes in , This Will Destroy You tear the carpet from underneath the listener’s feet with a raw, aggressive, and abrasive eruption in sound. It’s profound in that it’s fantastically unexpected, as the graceful ambiance gave no determinate of what was to come. This simple moment is precisely what makes Tunnel Blanket such an ineffable joy to listen to, but even more so, it displays a band stripping themselves down, and in that state, finding some long dormant inspiration.

You see, This Will Destroy You have been around for a number of years, releasing a full-length record, as well as a few EP. Yet the band has never really achieved anything too worthwhile, as every release has sort of felt insipidly uninspired. Sure, Young Mountain was pretty, and hell, in some instances it was even exceptional. But deep down, everything they’ve done has been an emulation of bigger, more creative acts before them. It was odd, really, as their debut, This Will Destroy You felt like a band “going through the motions,” even though they hadn’t really set any motions to actually go through. It’s like the band, ever since their inception, as been on auto pilot, never investing their hearts and minds into anything. But more importantly, This Will Destroy You have been gloriously dull, doing little if anything to captivate their listeners.

Tunnel Blanket, the band’s second proper album, sees a dynamic shift in sound, and ultimately, gives them a striking intrigue they’ve so long gone without. It’s strange, in a way, that in removing so much, they’ve actually gained. After all, sweeping movements and crushing climaxes aren’t all too common, as ambiance and subtle passages make up the bulk of Tunnel Blanket. It’s beautiful, for the most part, with the graceful timbre and pretty stings adding a lot of loveliness to the overall sound. Yet the album has a darker side as well, as ominous chords and crashing melodies add a bit of chaos and dissonance to the beauty. It’s a fascinating dichotomy, especially when the two converge into a frenzied and unconstrained mess. It’s far less guitar heavy, with the bulk of the album seeing a dynamic shift in the direction of ambiance. The band have been toying with this sound for a little while, so the emphasis isn’t exceptionally unexpected, but the dramatic altercation is surprising nonetheless.

Regardless of the overall change in sound, Tunnel Blanket sees This Will Destroy You seemingly impassioned, and each of the eight tracks is much stronger because of it. Each piece has an atmosphere all its own, which makes everything wonderfully unique. “Black Dunes” manages to be the album’s most crushing, featuring a suffocating and dense build which leads into an oppressive sonic assault. There’s multiple melodies layered upon one another, and the ambiance that dominates the record adds an interesting glow to the entire piece. The drummer pounds away furiously, sounding much akin to a thunderstorm, whilst the rest of the band sounds barely recognizable behind the torrent of sound. It’s a provocative and powerful song, which is only made more so in contrasts to pieces like “Glass Realms” and “Killed The Lord, Left For The New World.” “Glass Realms” could be seen as tone of he album’s strictly ambient song, as it’s really void of any other sort of influences. It’s a light song, as it drifts along somewhat aimlessly, with timbre and static make up its bulk. The sound brings to mind Stars of the Lid, as it’s very much in the same vein. “Killed The Lord, Left For The New World,” on the other hand, is a much different tune. While it does feature a fair amount of ambiance, it displays an almost playful segment with an acoustic guitar, drum, and child like vocals. It’s pretty, and serves for a nice change of pace, giving a light and organic reprieve from the dense and oppressive sounds found on the rest of the record. Yet for all of the oddities found on Tunnel Blanket, “Communal Blood” comes in to show that This Will Destroy You haven’t quite shrugged of their post-rock tendencies, as the track feels as if the band took a page right out of Mono’s book. Grandiose and bombastic, the crashing cymbals and tremolo picked guitars give a very big sound to a very big sounding song.

Unfortunately Tunnel Blanket isn’t perfect. While largely an enjoyable experience, the album suffers from inconsistency, namely add the hands of filler. There are moments in tracks like “Hand Powdered” and “Black Dunes” that felt like they could have used a bit of polishing and editing. The lulling moments are wonderful in their own right, but at times it can’t be helped to think that they would have fared better with a little more zest. Yet the biggest contributors to the problem of inconsistency are the two tracks “Osario” and “Reprise.” Both are nice ambient interludes, but really offer up little else. They’re meant to give small breaks between the bigger, more demanding songs, but they feel more like after thoughts than anything else.

Tunnel Blanket is an outstanding achievement, especially when taking the band’s track record into account. It’s a gorgeous experience, and one which makes for one of, if not the strongest post-rock releases of the year so far.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
May 9th 2011


10594 Comments


This saw a European release today.

However, I've been listening to this and loving it for over a month now.

Tyrael
May 9th 2011


20876 Comments


Snowball! Pos.

Digging: Darkspace - Dark Space III I

lancebramsay
May 9th 2011


1585 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

the glitched out ending of Reprise is fantastic good sir

letsgofishing
May 9th 2011


902 Comments


Oh shit, I have to check this out

lancebramsay
May 9th 2011


1585 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Woah, it is Fitz!?!! Where ya been dood?

Beauville88
May 9th 2011


221 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I love, love, love how we have contrasting opinions about this. I agree that it mostly comes down to your personal level of enjoyment of ambient pieces.

Good job, man! Pos for sure.

aok
May 9th 2011


4421 Comments


some of the phrasing is a little awkward -- in the first sentence, for example, i don't think that 'and' should be there. your talents as a writer are definitely evident, but this feels more rushed than your last one.

cheers either way --> minor criticisms for a reviewer that's been on fire recently

Digging: Aphex Twin - Syro

Xenophanes
Emeritus
May 9th 2011


10594 Comments


Yeah I took the 'and' out, and thanks for the kind words, man. Tbh, I wrote this in like 20 minutes about 2 weeks ago. It was rushed but it felt pretty good to just pound one out like that (er..). I can see where it reads awkward at times though, I'll go over it again : /

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 9th 2011


23816 Comments


"minor criticisms for a reviewer that's been on fire recently"

I thought that said "from" not "for" at first I was like woah chill out mister ego.

anyway, good review. this sounds like I'd probably like it a lot, guess I'll give it a shot.

balcaen
May 9th 2011


3183 Comments


man, can't say i agree with you at all, but this is a great review imo. good job

wish this album was as interesting as the cover art

Xenophanes
Emeritus
May 9th 2011


10594 Comments


Omg bal!?

Thanks : ) , but maaaaaaaaan, a ONE?

balcaen
May 9th 2011


3183 Comments


it's exaggerated, i should probably revisit this as to not singlehandedly kill the rating... it'll probably still be a 2 or a 2.5 at the most. not as if i was expecting Young Mountain part two, but something about the stylistic shift just rubs me the wrong way when this album could've been great had they kept elements or their previous works.
this is pretty underwhelming imo... i had to actually focus to pay attention to the music in order to try and hear anything i thought was of interest... there IS such as thing as being "too ambient"

Xenophanes
Emeritus
May 9th 2011


10594 Comments


Imo it really works for them, and yeah, a couple of the tracks sort of kill the pace. Still, I like that they changed what they were doing, because they started to stagnate almost immediately.

FourSquare20
May 9th 2011


320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This is a vast improvement over their older stuff if you ask me. Little Smoke is the best thing they've ever done.

Tyrael
May 9th 2011


20876 Comments


Yo balcaen you obviously still need to learn 2 balcaen, fast

balcaen
May 9th 2011


3183 Comments


dude you like black metal, don't tell me what to do srs

Tyrael
May 9th 2011


20876 Comments


Lol epic insult! I was just joking around...

balcaen
May 9th 2011


3183 Comments


it's a TWDY review, no fucking around!

crazyblinddude
May 9th 2011


3389 Comments


Oh yeah sweet review. I had a feeling you'd be the one to review this.

I listened to this a while ago, so I'll have a give it a spin tonight or fairly soon.

Tyrael
May 9th 2011


20876 Comments


Got it. I still think that giving it a 1 is a bit harsh cause thats what people give to the likes of brokenCYDE etc...



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