Encircling Sea
A Forgotten Land


4.0
excellent

Review

by geasoftime USER (1 Reviews)
April 6th, 2013 | 44 replies | 3,202 views


Release Date: 01/01/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Encircling Sea release the most thorough and organic post-black metal album to date.

7 of 25 thought this review was well written

Encircling Sea is an black metal band hailing from Melbourne, Australia. If they were a Californian band, they would be called "Cascadian," but they aren't and so they're going to have to settle for atmospheric black metal. Their first two albums, Ecru and I, were sprawling hour long affairs that incorporated ambience and drone with black metal. There were fleeting moments of brilliance on each album, but I would often find my attention wandering and eventually I would turn them off in favor of something less long-winded.

A Forgotten Land is a major improvement over their previous work and this is the mark of a band in full blossom. They have finally deviated from their traditional sprawling LP-length track and separated the album into four acts: Yearn, Transcend, Become, and Return. Don't let that mislead you, however. You're still going to have to contend with lengthy compositions, but it seems somehow less onerous to listen to four twenty minute tracks instead of one sixty minute track. I'm sure that the improved songwriting has something to do with this phenomenon.

What makes Encircling Sea so great is how they are able to do so much with so little. Yearn begins with a simple drum pattern - crash, snare, bass - over and over again, with an eerie distorted synth quietly building atmosphere in the background. When the guitars arrive, they follow the same ideology. The same chords are played over and over, and the drums hold the same pattern until the tension builds and begs for release. Then, the drums explode into life and the pace picks up. Already the atmosphere is wrought with energy - haunting yet victorious. As Rob Allen's anguished screams emerge you begin to realize that you are listening to something very special.

Encircling Sea introduce an element, and then they slowly and progressively introduce another, then another, until the atmosphere reaches a crescendo and in this they have embraced the post-rock tradition. They have crafted each track so masterfully that the twenty minutes pass as if they were five. Each piece fits perfectly into the next - no, each piece demands the next progression. Begs for it. I know post-black metal is an objectionabe term to some, but Encircling Sea have certainly made a strong case for the genre tag.

Acoustics, female vocals, violins, and electronic components all make an appearance throughout the course of the album. Allen screams, chants, and sings. The guitar plays neofolk, progressive rock, and black metal. The drummer plays simply and hypnotically to complex and furiously. The end result is truly beautiful.

Recommended for fans of Altar of Plagues, Fauna, and Wolves in the Throne Room.


user ratings (21)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
DirtyDan
April 6th 2013



147 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is the first time I had heard of this band and I am completely blown away. They seem like a mix between Agalloch and WITTR and its amazing. Any idea where I can get this album?

geasoftime
April 6th 2013



1139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Their label is just finishing pressing a second batch of CDs. The first run sold out. Their labels are sickmangettingsick.records and Replenish Records.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2013



6736 Comments


This the one you rec'd me? Ill check it out cause i love local talent.

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2013



8591 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

They seem like a mix between Agalloch and WITTR and its amazing.


this doesn't sound anything like agalloch at all. like, no resemblance whatsoever.

review is very conversational and not too detailed, either. you describe the first 3 minutes of the album and then just kind of stop describing anything and if you ask me as well it's pretty inaccurate:

Encircling Sea introduce an element, and then they slowly and progressively introduce another, then another, until the atmosphere reaches a crescendo and in this they have embraced the post-rock tradition.


that simply isn't true, that's not what they're doing with the song structures at all

so basically you have described 3 minutes of the album and given it arbitrary genre tags

the review is a nice start but you really need to explore and describe the album a lot more

the album's pretty good but it's far too minimalistic and long-winded to really come out with something special, plus there's no reason track 3 should be 10 minutes long

Digging: Lantlos - Melting Sun

Keyblade
April 6th 2013



13296 Comments


this is pretty dece. i agree tho they sound nothing like agalloch

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins

geasoftime
April 6th 2013



1139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I have trouble describing music, since I've never handled an instrument in my life. I really just wanted more people to listen to this. However, the genre tag isn't arbitrary because it gives the reader a sense of what the album is like.

It seemed like when you said "either" that you were saying that I had compared this to Agalloch. I didn't, but I wouldn't object to someone drawing that comparison. Agalloch rules, so if Dan wants to see Agalloch in this, I support it 100%.

Anyways, I'm flattered that you've changed your rating from a 3.5 to a 3.0 after reading the review. If Noctus gives something a terrible score, you know it's fantastic.

Vakarian12
April 6th 2013



3576 Comments


bookmark'd. Damn it Melbourne has some fantastic bands

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2013



8591 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

you don't have to know anything about playing an instrument to describe an album. that's ridiculous. i'm willing to bet a decent amount of the best reviewers on this site don't play an instrument.

also thanks for being a dick in response to my constructive criticism. i changed my rating not because of the review, but because i forgot to earlier. also on what world is 3/5 a terrible score? i could have easily just negged your review rather than actually telling you what i felt was wrong with it. instead i took the time to read your review and tell you what i thought. thanks for warning me not to offer you that courtesy next time.

also my comment about agalloch was aimed at dan, not you.

Tyrael
April 6th 2013



20442 Comments


talk about butthurt

geasoftime
April 6th 2013



1139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Jesus. The comment about your rating was a joke. Not even an original joke. Other people on sputnik have said that before me. Sorry if it came off as seriously offensive. If I said that to you irl I would have been grinning while saying it. I guess my sarcasm translates poorly.

Ignimbrite
April 6th 2013



5228 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

For a first review, this is pretty good. I'd critique, but Noctus pretty much covered it.

zaruyache
April 6th 2013



4860 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Noctus is pretty much spot-on with his criticism. The idea behind this band is good, but it just kinda seems boring. Not bad, but maybe a little long-winded and a bit too similar between tracks.

Digging: Paramnesia - Paramnesia

CaptainDooRight
April 6th 2013



26557 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

nice review bro, Pos'd

I should prolly give this a listen

Digging: Deniro Farrar - The Patriarch II

solongatlast
April 6th 2013



190 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haven't given this the deepest listen yet, but it's definitely not going much higher than a 4. Pretty good stuff though.

Nice review.

Digging: Stampede to Timberline - You Were my Coldest Season

zaruyache
April 6th 2013



4860 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Individually I think the pieces are pretty good, but as an album it's kinda... eh. Not that it's bad, but it *could* have been much better.

YankeeDudel
April 6th 2013



9292 Comments


heard a couple songs off this and didnt seem too special. twas iight

Digging: Ravi Shankar - Three Ragas

PortalofPerfection
April 7th 2013



267 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is pretty good so far, I don't feel the long-windedness that everyone is talking about, but I also don't feel any kind of real build up/crescendos, at least not any that have a noticeable or lasting impact.

Digging: Black Drop Effect - Injecting Pain

geasoftime
April 8th 2013



1139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't think it's long-winded either, but that seems to be a common point of contention about the album. The strange thing about it is that I have a crazy short-attention span when it comes to music. Some days I can't get through an album at all. I didn't have that problem with ES, and considering the length of the tracks, that's pretty miraculous. I think the songwriting is phenomenal, honestly.

Maybe I was wrong about the whole post-rock thing. It seemed to me that the atmosphere would really build and build until Allen's coarse vocals would show up, and that they expressed crescendos themselves. I think maybe that I am too enchanted with the atmosphere of the album. I'm content with my delusions in any case.

geasoftime
April 8th 2013



1139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

(double post)

oltnabrick
May 9th 2013



29282 Comments


great review!

Digging: Ju Sei and Utah Kawasaki - ??????



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