Gregor Samsa
Rest


4.0
excellent

Review

by craigy2 USER (120 Reviews)
November 30th, 2008 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist


Gregor Samsa are an American post-rock band from Richmond, Virginia. Having started off with the typical set up of guitars, drums and bass they have gradually let classical instruments such as violins and oboes seep into their music. Named after the protagonist in Franz Kafka's 'The Metamorphosis' - a novel in which Gregor wakes up in the body of an insect and his family's reaction of disgust causes him to wish to cease living - the band produce what can often be described as very bleak music, but at the same time has a comforting nature to it. Their music has also 'metamorphosed' from album to album as their ideas have become more classically orientated and more unique. 'Rest' is an album that sees a nice, healthy amount of progression from Gregor Samsa.

Their sound has progressed since '55:12' as a more classical influence can be found on 'Rest'. 'Rock' instruments such as electric guitars and bass guitars are still present however, but their role is very minimal. Instead classical strings and pianos take centre stage. Their sound focuses on a progression of motifs, rather than the crescendos and development of textures that most post-rock bands tend to concentrate on. Album centrepiece 'Jeroem Van Aken' however, does focus on a crescendo. Although, it is done so subtly that it has an almost hypnotic effect on the listener, as it moves from pounding tom-toms to a haunting chant of "All things come and go, but we won't break." The vocals are an important component on 'Rest' as they appear in some shape or form on nearly every single track. The layered vocals of 'Ain Leuh' are typical of the vocal work throughout the album as male and female vocals are in unison, creating a very ethereal sound.

Part of the genre of post-rock's charm is to convey moods and create atmosphere effectively. The mood/atmosphere that 'Rest' is attempting to imitate is rather hard to categorize though. This is not a bad thing though. The ambient xylophone melodies and gradually increasing orchestral accompaniment of album opener 'The Adolescent' has warm ambient tones to it, yet at the same time the sparseness of the track suggests bleakness and dreariness. However, the listener chooses to perceive it, 'Rest' is still a very beautiful album. For example the glorious piano flourishes of 'Pseudonyms' recall post-rock act Eluvium at his most inspiring while the mini-epic 'First Mile, Last Mile''s cold ambience and classicism is similar to that of Sigur Ros before ending with a crushing wall of guitars. Really, this would have been the ideal end to the album, but instead the disappointingly short and ineffective 'Du Meine Leise' closes the album. It is a shamefully underwhelming end to what is otherwise a brilliant album.

In a genre where bands are seemingly sounding more and more alike with each passing day, Gregor Samsa are fairly unique. This is of course, something to be applauded. While many bands now incorporate classical elements, few do it to the extent that Gregor Samsa do. On 'Rest' they have found their niche between the dynamically driven, 'rock'-end of the spectrum and the ambient, classically influenced end of the genre. Overall, 'Rest' is a very accomplished, and more importantly, interesting album.



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55:12


Comments:Add a Comment 
craigy2
November 30th 2008


551 Comments


short review I know, but I feel that I said all that I wanted to say about it.

Kiran
Emeritus
November 30th 2008


6021 Comments


I was wondering when someone would review this! Nice.
The album is decent when I'm in the mood for it.

Mendigo
November 30th 2008


2299 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

somehow this doesn't leave any impression on me. I've listened to it quite a few times, but I couldn't tell whether I like it or not

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
November 30th 2008


865 Comments


Yeah, this album didn't do a whole lot for me in the end, nice at times though. Great review as usual.

BallsToTheWall
November 30th 2008


48160 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Amazing album. Good review.

Digging: Vreid - I Krig

Electric City
Emeritus
November 30th 2008


15762 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this album was good but not like WHOA good

Doppelganger
November 30th 2008


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

definitely a grower



didn't Jared also review this? Must have lost the review in the crash or somethingThis Message Edited On 11.30.08

Mendigo
December 10th 2008


2299 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

beautiful

Electric City
Emeritus
December 26th 2008


15762 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

zzzzz

Lucid
December 26th 2008


8686 Comments


I listened to "Jeroen Van Aken" off of this and it wasn't interesting enough to make me want to check out the album. Good review though.

Electric City
Emeritus
December 26th 2008


15762 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thats the one i like best too

Electric City
Emeritus
January 3rd 2009


15762 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nvm i misjudged this

Electric City
Emeritus
January 14th 2009


15762 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

abutting dismantling is beautiful

oubli
February 28th 2013


67 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album is pure gold, nice review!

TheWrenKing
March 5th 2017


1547 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

gud stuff

Digging: Griffin McElroy - The Suffering Game

JasonCarne
October 22nd 2017


868 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just found this record at a local shop and picked it up on a hunch - great stuff, I love it.



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