I’ve had a soft spot for post-metal/atmospheric sludge/whatever you want to call it since I first heard Neurosis. I love the mixture of heavy, hardcore-influenced sludge with post-rock/shoegaze; I love the moodiness, heaviness, and the serenity in the quiet moments. Switzerland’s Rorcal remind me of everything that made me love this sound in the first place on their latest release, Creon.
Consisting of 4 rather lengthy tracks (fans of this genre should be used to long songs by now) that tell the story of famous Greek Mythological figure, King Creon. Sonically, Creon contains some of Rorcal’s heaviest material, with a healthy dose of black metal in the vein of Wolves In The Throne Room and Altar Of Plagues mixed in. The tone throughout the album is really thick, with a crushing bass tone giving the tremolo-picked guitar riffs a boost in the heaviness department, while the howling vocals manage to add an extra layer of brutality. The slower, doom elements of past releases aren’t entirely gone, but the slow passages are certainly fewer and far between. Rorcal have lost none of their ability to layer tone, they’re just doing it a much faster pace, giving the heaviness a sense of urgency that wasn’t present before. The final track is the closest to a doom track on Creon, with its slower drumming and crushing riffs, and even here, there is still some speed-picking guitar bits. The fast guitar riffs layered over the slower, heavy bass lines give each track a melancholy edge that, again, reminds me of the “blackgaze” bands, like Wolves In The Throne Room.
The production gives a big boost to the low-end tones on Creon, so, while there is a lot of black metal mixed into the sound, none of the heaviness of Rorcal’s sludgy side is dampened. Imagine if Cult Of Luna started playing black metal, and you’d get a pretty good idea of what to expect on this album. Masterful in their execution, Rorcal have created one seriously heavy and atmospheric record that would appeal to fans of early Year Of No Light, Altar Of Plagues, and Wolves In The Throne Room.