Review Summary: Let it Grow through the harsh winter and find the will to carry on
Before I start this review I want to comment on the generally accepted opinion that Post-metal is usually pretty formulaic. In the mid 2000's, it was at its prime with Isis's "Panopticon", Pelican's "The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw" and Cult of Luna's "Somewhere along the Highway". By the end of the 2000's and into the 2010's it started to die off due to over use of the formula that was created by these bands and most became tagged with the Neurisis formula. However somewhere in that prime time, a band that never really had too much attention had released an album that had also made the best of that formula. That band is Mouth of the Architect with their second LP "The Ties That Blind".
Even though I had never listened to post metal during this prime time in the 2000's, I've listened to plenty of it now and see where this correlation of the use of the formula has been taken advantage of too much and did Mouth of the Architect release something that was within this vein? To be 100% straight with you, the answer to that is yes. But don't let that stray you away from this album, because while it contains that Neurisis formula, it lies within the incredibly high ranks of those very influential bands of that time.
The Ties that Blind is quite possibly one of the most moving albums I've heard ever. While Mouth of the Architect still use that overused formula, they have a particular tinge that slightly diverges them apart from the other bands, but in a much better direction. They have a much more melodic focus than any of those other bands and uses both their softer side and their sludgy side to the best of their ability throughout each song on this album very well and transitions between them very fluently and at a much better pace than other bands within this vein of music. A perfect example of this would be within the song "Carry On". The song starts out very light and ends on a very dark tone while carrying a small seed of hope throughout the song and this transition from light to darkness is very fluent and relies much more on melodic shifts as opposed to many other bands within the post metal genre at this time which usually just cut straight from one part to another without warning and at times could throw the listener off.
In fact this "Seed of Hope" is brought throughout the entire album, all the way from the opening track "Baobab" to "Wake Me Up When It's Over". Some of this seed is due to the Phenomenal and unique production for a post metal album, and some of it is due to just the nature of the songs themselves. Since this is a post metal album, you can expect that the song structures are linear in which they are, but that's what allows this seed of hope to grow throughout each song of the album, This Seed also proves that each song is taken to very far lengths for it to grow. While the seed does grow it is also suppressed by the harshness at times in the album but it always reminds the listener that it is there and still alive and growing.
"The Ties that Blind" is a great work of art that should be cherished by most who listen to it because I have never seen anyone perform an album like this that is so well rounded out and easy to listen to for a post metal album. if you are familiar with the album "Quietly", and expecting this to sound similar, turn the other way because this album has that "Seed of Hope" that "Quietly" very clearly does not. For me personally this is probably my favorite post metal album of all time.