Blatherskite's Where the Wasteland Ends is one of the best new albums I've heard from an Australian band in years, being the debut effort of a group of Sydney lads who clearly have an affinity for the kind of metal which doesn't punch you right in the throat, but rather has a steady build, crushing you with their sheer weight. One adjective I don't hear applied to riffs very often, but which I quite like, is 'swimming', because the mental image of a guitar line flowing along on anything from calm waters to violent waves is one which suits a number of bands quite well. It isn't really applicable to the nautically-themed bands you'd expect it to be (Gojira, Ahab and of course Mastodon), and if you asked me where you could hear an ideal example of such riffs I would direct you toward post-metal gods Isis, most specifically their recent Wavering Radiant record. But I could also point you toward Blatherskite.
Blatherskite are post-metal in that fantastic, difficult-to-pull-off way. The riffs wash over you (there's that aquatic metaphor again) and give the sense that you're being covered in the music, but never overwhelmed - though they are a bit more straightforward and less dreamy or ambient than your average post-metal band. The lyrics are a bit silly and that's not helped by the vocalist sounding a little like the tool from Tool, but that vocal style fits well with the music and makes an interesting change from the moans or subdued roars of most post-metal bands. The drummer in particular stands out as someone who's not afraid to dick around with the rythyms to make the music more interesting, but never tries to show off or get in the way of everyone else. The band have also done quite a good job with the packaging (especially considering it's just a booklet in a jewel case rather than the increasingly common digipacks), including an incomprehensible but rather cool little comic which I'm still trying to figure out the relevance or lack thereof to the lyrics or theme of the album.
I'm probably getting a bit more excited about this band than I ought to, given the generally mediocre-to-shit state of the albums I've reviewed in the past few months. But I think I can accurately say that if you're into post-metal, or if you want to hear a talented, new, unsigned Australian metal band worth supporting, you could do a hell of a lot worse than Blatherskite.
The band's debut release is out now.