Review Summary: Building off its predecessor, Tides of Man creates a post-rock classic.
Tides of Man have always been a great example of how each genre that they pursued should be executed. They were a great progressive post-hardcore band on their first two releases, and they’re an even better post-rock band now. Before Tilian Pearson left in 2010 to take on other duties, most notably in Dance Gavin Dance, he was on 2009's Empire Theory
and 2010’s Dreamhouse.
Most other bands that had to deal with losing a lead singer would search for a replacement, but in the case of Tides, they simply removed vocals from the mix and pursued a far more atmospheric direction. 2014's Young and Courageous
was a brilliant record on that front, and it's easy to say they one-upped themselves again, creating easily one of the best records of the year; Every Nothing
is undeniably the album to beat as they continue to produce and release music.
Just as many post-rock albums before it, Every Nothing’s
structure reflects a stream of consciousness; verses, choruses, bridges, etc. are nowhere to be found. Instead, this plays like a continuous work of brilliantly flowing art. The replay value is above and beyond any prior album from them; it’s easy to loop an album with this much ambience for a few hours and still be mesmerized. Because vocals are completely absent, the musicianship is what holds this together; luckily, the four guys in the band are as technically impressive as they are skilled at creating a chilling atmosphere. Tracks like “Death Is No Dread Enemy”, “Waxwing”, “Mercury Fields”, and “Outside Ourselves” tread effortlessly past the 5-minute mark, building up a stronger atmosphere as time goes on, while even sub-3 minute cuts like “Far Off” and “Keep Telling Yourself” keep the tone of the record excellently, acting as interludes for the rest of the album. Opener “Static Hymn” sets the tone for the record in the best way imaginable, as it takes around two minutes to slowly build up to what is arguably the most crushing post-rock climax that I’ve heard in the last few years; closer “Infinite Ceiling” ends the album on a similarly serene note.
The utilization of clean guitars as a way to create a beautiful ambience ultimately define the essence of Every Nothing,
as Tides of Man move further away from their original style. Nothing here reflects their post-hardcore past, but the transition to what can simply be described as a deeply atmospheric form of post-rock has been nothing short of seamless. Distortion is still present, yet it’s primarily utilized as a means to accent the bone-chilling climaxes of tracks like “Static Hymn” or “Old 88”. On other tracks, such as “Far Off”, a light overdrive is used in place of distortion. Drummer Josh Gould complements the record brilliantly, with his occasionally unorthodox rhythms adding to the beauty within the midst of this album. Bassist Alan Jaye’s contributions are audible, if only to provide more depth to the low-end; in other words, he’s given more credence than the average bassist, but he’s no Cliff Burton or Geddy Lee in terms of instrumental brilliance. Jaye simply provides a well-needed addition to the atmosphere without overpowering anyone else, with his strongest performances being in opener “Static Hymn.” Guitarists Daniel Miller and Spencer Gill are the ultimate stars of the show, as their penchant for using effects like reverb and delay as a means to create a deeper atmosphere within the music they write benefits the album to an insurmountable degree.
If you are a fan of post-rock or simply atmospheric music in general, you are doing yourself a disservice by not jamming this. The amount of effort that the quartet (or quintet, if you count session musician Spencer Bradham as an official member) has demonstrated within its 12-track, 57-minute runtime is simply unprecedented. Along with its predecessor Young and Courageous
, as well as albums like Eviscerate Soul
by Break My Fucking Sky, and the recently-released Phanerozoic I: Paleozoic
by The Ocean Collective, this is quite easily among the greatest and most beautiful that post-rock (or post-metal, in The Ocean’s case) has had to offer in the last five years. The genre that Tides of Man performs in now does have a tendency to lend itself to over-glorified background music at points (Gifts from Enola’s A Healthy Fear
being one such example), but albums like this are a truly mesmerizing experience.