Midas Fall
Wilderness


3.0
good

Review

by toxin USER (20 Reviews)
April 29th, 2013 | 50 replies


Release Date: 04/02/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A superb record consumed by its flaws upon repeated listens.

I wish I had heard Wilderness only one time before writing this review. There’s nothing more disappointing than hearing a superb record consumed by its flaws upon repeated listens, but sadly this is the fate subjected to Midas Falls’ latest take on electronic-tinged post-rock. The real shame is that the band has stumbled onto a winning formula, blending guitar-driven post-rock in the vein of Explosions in the Sky with glitchy, almost-trip hop beats to create a beautiful backdrop for their vocalist. Factor in Elizabeth Heaton’s haunting and powerful vocals and Wilderness should be an excellent release, right?

Well, not quite. There’s no doubt that individually, the components of Midas Fall’s sound are superb. The title track sees Heaton, guitar, and even the percussion take turns driving the song forward, each restrained yet simultaneously impressive. In particular, Heaton and the guitar complement each other extremely well to create the record's most pressing build, climaxed with Heaton shrieking “Run” repeatedly, each more impassioned than the previous. Elsewhere, ‘Fight First’ steps completely into the electronic world, with the guitar playing only the faintest lick far in the background, and ends with a thoroughly captivating keyboard solo. The acoustic tremolo picking of ‘Bpd’ builds into a climax of restrained electric guitar and minimalistic electronic beeps, further example of how well the band’s core sounds together. Heaton’s vocals during this climax are overshadowed by the other elements, allowing her performance to feel well-integrated.

Unfortunately, this is rarely the case in Wilderness. Excuse the poor personification but imagine that the various elements of the album---guitar, vocals, percussion, etc.---were tossed into a wilderness of mediocrity, burdened with the task of finding the excellence that surrounds them. Too often the vocals take the lead here and the other elements sit content to follow; the codified lost in the wilderness trope guarantees that our aural protagonists will end up exactly where they began and will repeat the cycle for the next round. Too often the vocals here dominate the supporting cast, and despite the beauty and power of Heaton’s gothic-tinged vocals, she never quite captures the crescendos or decrescendos of post-rock. The majority of tracks follow similar builds in typical post-rock fashion, with Heaton giving melodically indistinct performances. Not only, then, do these tracks, sans ‘Fight First,’ ‘Bpd,’ and ‘Wilderness,’ feel similar, circling past the same structures with indistinguishable performances from Heaton, their beaten path never quite makes it out of their wilderness to the promised land.

Don’t mistake this criticism as a condemnation of the record, however. Listening to Wilderness is a hike through a rainy forest of post-rock. There are small personal gripes one may have with the specifics, and some may take issue with the constant downpour of Heaton’s vocals. But in spite of it all, there’s undeniable beauty to be appreciated here that carries the experience, and the brief cracks of sunshine are genuinely brilliant. Let’s just hope the next time around, the rain is a light drizzle that adds to the atmosphere instead of dominating it.



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user ratings (32)
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3.8
excellent
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Comments:Add a Comment 
toxin.
April 29th 2013


12679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Originally posted at: http://meltingalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/573/

Anyone watching my rating would have watched it fall from 4.5 down to 3.0 (3.2 to be precise). It's really something that you expect to get better as you listen more and get used to the style, only to find it falls apart instead.

Still a solid post-rock release.

Willie
Moderator
April 29th 2013


16073 Comments

Album Rating: 4.6 | Sound Off

You may have finally given me the motivation to finish a review for this ;)

Acanthus
April 29th 2013


9543 Comments


Still not sure what I think of this.

Digging: The Knife - Deep Cuts

toxin.
April 29th 2013


12679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Haha no problem Willie. Did you really not find the vocals as disruptive as I did? I'm interested in hearing your take on it

Willie
Moderator
April 29th 2013


16073 Comments

Album Rating: 4.6 | Sound Off

I loved the vocals. I thought they made the whole album.

toxin.
April 29th 2013


12679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hm, she's definitely a great vocalist but her performances all felt way too similar for my tastes, right down to the dynamics. When she was more subdued though I thought this was excellent.

Ecnalzen
April 30th 2013


6730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I haven't listened to a ton of the genre yet, but so far, I prefer my post rock vocal-less.

toxin.
April 30th 2013


12679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

definitely stay away for now, if you ever want vocal-dominated post rock in the future though this will be a good choice.

Ecnalzen
April 30th 2013


6730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The post rock I have heard with vocals so far are a little bit of Swans, Sigur Ros and Agalloch. I think Killing Joke is also
considered Post Rock, but I don't know if the two albums I have heard are really considered to be in the genre.

Do you listen to a lot of post rock, toxin?

Willie
Moderator
April 30th 2013


16073 Comments

Album Rating: 4.6 | Sound Off

Sigur Ros would fall under post rock with vocals. Killing Joke is considered Post Punk, but not post rock. Agalloch has some post rock influence, but not really post rock either.

Ecnalzen
April 30th 2013


6730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I knew Killing Joke was post-something. The Agalloch album I have heard is The Mantle. Its like a mix of folk, death metal and post rock if I remember right.

So pretty much just Sigur Ros then, lol.

toxin.
April 30th 2013


12679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah Sigur Ros would probably be the closest thing but even then the vocal styles of the two are a lot different, in terms of sound (minus vox) this is definitely more like Explosions in the Sky (whose stuff I usually quite enjoy) than Sigur Ros though.

I wouldn't call myself a huge fan of the genre (doesn't show up on my pie chart, at the lesat) but there are quite a few post-rock albums I enjoy.

Ecnalzen
April 30th 2013


6730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I got suggested an Explosions in the Sky album, but I haven't gotten around to listening to it yet.

toxin.
April 30th 2013


12679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place is a great album and the 2007 album has some ardent fans

Willie
Moderator
April 30th 2013


16073 Comments

Album Rating: 4.6 | Sound Off

I don't like much post rock and I thought Explosions in the Sky was boring. I would suggest God is an Astronaut.

toxin.
April 30th 2013


12679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It encompasses the genre well as an entry rec but I can see where you're coming from.

Ecnalzen
April 30th 2013


6730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well, the stuff I have heard that I really like so far are Jizue, Toe and Gifts From Enola. Jizue and Toe are kind of jazz/post rock fusion, but GFE are straight up post rock as far as I know. All 3 have a very small amount of random vocal stuff in a few songs, but for the most part, their music is instrumental.

I'll check both bands out though, thanks. I have been wanting to try out more from the genre.



GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2013


6180 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

forgot about this album, but i do remember it being really good when i heard it how many ever weeks ago

toxin.
May 8th 2013


12679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Ecnal, I've actually never heard of any of them. But yeah no prob hopefully you enjoy it!

@Gnarly, yeah I dunno, I thought it was fantastic until I listened a bit more critically. I'm probably in the minority here ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Ecnalzen
May 8th 2013


6730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You might check em out toxin. Jizue is especially good.



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