Toundra
IV


4.0
excellent

Review

by Dan H. EMERITUS
April 7th, 2015 | 32 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A delicious slice of instrumental rock.

There aren’t many instrumental bands that have the ability to craft near 10 minute songs which keep the listener glued to every single moment. In order to achieve this, the music has to be rich and layered, it needs to demonstrate natural progression whilst still maintaining an air of unpredictability, and above all else it needs to boast almost arrogant songwriting skills. With IV, Toundra confidently show that they deserve every second of your attention, and they effortlessly tick all of the boxes which you’d expect them to. Toundra’s brand of post metal has been scaled down and softened so much throughout their career that at this point it probably needs declassifying, but regardless of the label you choose to attach to the Spaniards, their brand of instrumental rock is undeniably captivating.

The album’s biggest selling point is its ability to create broad, lush soundscapes which stretch as far as the ear can hear. Perhaps most similar in nature to Scale the Summit’s The Migration, Toundra place more of their emphasis on gorgeous lead guitars than on crushing blows, and they conjure plenty of organic, vibrant images in the process. Touching on the familiar post rock tropes, you never find yourself consciously waiting for the music to build to a meaningful climax, and it’s all too easy to get swept up in the opulent atmosphere instead. By enjoying a drawn out major arpeggio here and relishing a tremolo picked note there, the album’s most rewarding moments often creep up and surprise you, commonly occurring long before you expect them to. It’s a theme which flows throughout; you’ll rarely find a highlight here which is the result of the tired build-release blueprint, and the few that do don’t feel remotely formulaic because of it. Just listen out for the intertwining dual guitars which dance an octave apart at around the 3 minute mark on Belenos; and the flamenco tinged acoustic guitars which dominate “Viesca” for an idea of how the album snares you. The former is so subtle that it’s easy to gloss over it on first listen, while the latter provides the biggest hint of all as to the band’s musical heritage.

Slight criticism can be aimed at the album’s third track “Lluvia,” which develops into little more than a drone song. Claustrophobic and repetitious, it not only seems a strange choice to follow the gargantuan album highlight “Qarqom,” but it feels out of keeping with the album’s breezy, expansive ethos. It’s a minor blip in what is otherwise a spotless listen though, and its short run time is unlikely to ruffle your feathers enough to tarnish your overall opinion.

Much of IV’s power lies in the beauty and unpredictability of its highlights, and I suspect that for each and every listener the moments picked out and cherished will be vastly different. Whether it’s the beautiful addition of trumpets on the aforementioned “Viesca” or the swift change of emphasis after 3 minutes on “Kitsune,” IV manages to cater to the tastes of all who sample it.



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user ratings (117)
3.8
excellent
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Comments:Add a Comment 
VheissuCrisis
Emeritus
April 7th 2015


1386 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Only found out about this recently, felt like it deserved a write up.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
April 7th 2015


2613 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I found this a really pleasant listen, especially enjoyed "Belenos" and "Viesca".

Digging: Maieutiste - Veritas

manosg
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2015


11745 Comments


Nice to see this one reviewed which reminds me that I need to check it. III is my favorite album from these guys and I really like the fact that they develop their sound with each release.

Great review too. You pretty much expressed my feelings.

Digging: Cellar Darling - The Spell

Thibs
April 7th 2015


2654 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice review. great album

JS19
April 7th 2015


7367 Comments


Ah sweet these guys always bring something good

Digging: Tides From Nebula - From Voodoo to Zen

VheissuCrisis
Emeritus
April 7th 2015


1386 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers guys.



I think Belenos is my pick of the bunch Rob.

Relinquished
April 7th 2015


41439 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the band got better this time around, but idk they're not there yet

RadicalEd
April 7th 2015


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review for a very good album.

zaruyache
April 7th 2015


21387 Comments


I still need to sit down and listen to this :/

Digging: Jig-Ai - Entrails Tsunami

mindleviticus
April 7th 2015


9905 Comments


it's pleasant but doesn't really bring much else to the table

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 8th 2015


32190 Comments


Might have to check this out

ProjectFreak
April 8th 2015


3912 Comments


Listening to this while driving: almost fell asleep
Listening to this while working early shift: loving every second. Belenos and Kitsune rule.

Evreaia
April 8th 2015


5121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of the better post-metal albums this year

Relinquished
April 8th 2015


41439 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Minsk gives this a run for its money

teamster
April 8th 2015


4401 Comments


"Minsk gives this a run for its money"

...and Izah destroys them both. But I digress, This is Toundra's weakest release IMO. I found the writing and production to be shockingly bland. Most disappointing release for me in this early 2015.


Also, check out the new Three Steps To The Ocean album. Love it.


Digging: Klone - Le Grand Voyage

Evreaia
April 9th 2015


5121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Izah is godly indeed, haven't heard Minsk.

SowingSeason
Moderator
April 9th 2015


32390 Comments


This sounds really cool. My 2015 has been lousy musically, so I'll be excited if this turns out to be one of the first pleasant surprises of the year. Nice review btw, nice to see you finally writing with that staff tag next to your name.

Digging: Jimmy Eat World - Surviving

VheissuCrisis
Emeritus
April 9th 2015


1386 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks both. Headphone listening advised Sowing!

Sniff
April 14th 2015


5793 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Jalapeños is my favourite track

Flugmorph
April 15th 2015


21735 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

delicious indeed

Digging: Opeth - In Cauda Venenum



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