Review Summary: Wide awake, indeed.
It becomes easier to underestimate a genre every day as the unstoppable stream of time rages on. As new approaches to music such as “djent” and “blackgaze” keep emerging, well established genres like progressive music, and in this case post rock, often lose their grip. People have begun to toss their faith in said genres out the window and describe them as “dead” or "stagnant." Then, a band like Caspian comes along with Dust And Disquiet
. Within the realm of post rock, Caspian managed to inject a much needed amount of confidence, passion and ambition back into their field. What we’re left with is an absolutely massive chapter in post rock’s history that’ll send chills down your spine with its unpredictability and sense of grandeur.
Caspian excels at their style here, with their production managing to make Dust And Disquiet
sound larger than life. The drums, for example, sound crisp, natural and vast under the various frays of crescendos. They know how to make guitars sound lifelike, beautiful, lush and aggressively raw, often all in the same song strangely enough. It's a satisfying feeling to hear that all blend together perfectly. Take “Arcs Of Command” for example. Introductory keyboards pave the way for echoing drums and Rosetta sounding guitar distortion. Underneath it all, the bass gives it all a grounded, vibrant feel. “Arcs Of Command” remains truly epic throughout its spacey vibe and leaves the listener begging for the rest of the album, which is rich in diversity.
While we have the traditionally post metal sounding tracks like “Arcs of Command” and “Echo and Abyss,” there exists the traditional post rock tracks like “Rioseco” and “Sad Heart of Mine.” Throw in the almost tribal drums in “Darkfield” and the straight up folky and haunting atmosphere of “Run Dry” and Dust and Disquiet
remains unpredictable throughout its appropriately hour long running time. “Rioseco” utilizes captivating synthesizers exceptionally well. Combine this with mature song writing skills and massively engrossing guitar tones, this song starts things off on a high note. “Echo and Abyss” is no exception with it undoubtedly proving more intense and a worthy follow up to “Arcs of Command.”
The ironically titled “Sad Heart of Mine” will warm the listener's soul with heartfelt melodies and a gripping buildup strongly influenced by Explosions In The Sky and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. However, listening to this song and “Run Dry” back to back would certainly yield a perplexing experience. It comes out of nowhere, with traditional wistful lyrics and a heartbreaking atmosphere engulfing the senses. It’s a bold yet mature choice to include a song like this on their latest record because it’s something they’ve never truly tackled before, and they did it like they've done it one thousand times before. Listening to these songs back to back truly shows how far the band has come in just a mere four albums.
What this record is all leading up to is its payoff: the title track. It’s one of the best written compositions of post rock of this decade, and perhaps even of this century. With its confidently cinematic guitar riffs and sorrowful piano melodies, the song recalls the gripping climax of a battle, especially once it slows down from its violent storm of tremolo picking and distortion. The second half gradually swells to epic proportions as the tremolo picking and repetitious guitar crescendos rage on. It’s one of the most thought provoking and powerful post rock pieces ever written.
All in all, this record came as a complete surprise a couple years ago. No one expected Caspian to release something that could end up with the greats, and they accomplished just that with incredible ease. They exhibited immense amounts of talent before this, but with Dust And Disquiet
they solidified themselves. Any post rock lovers better not pass up this gem because it was a pleasant surprise. Rich in vivid imagery, fabulous musicianship and an incredible payoff, Dust and Disquiet