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(54:56, Green Lungs Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Lost 8:23 2. Spring 5:07 3. Solstice 9:37 4. Summer 7:40 5. Equinox 6:49 6. Autumn 5:25 7. Winter 6:05 8. Hollow 10:47 LINEUP: Pawel Dziedziul - guitars Lukasz Kaminski - guitars Tomasz Markowski - drums Alexander Mazuruk - bass
Prolusion. Polish band FOBIA INC have apparently been around for a good few years, although actual and factual information about the band is extremely sparse, despite their many branched existence on the various stopping points of the internet. "Astral Seasons" is their debut album, and was released through Polish label Green Lungs Records in 2016.
Analysis. The underlying theme explored on this instrumental album is the seasons of the year, and then regarded through an astral seasonal cycle if I understand the core concept briefly outlined in the album liner art. Opening, presumably, with the loss of the old year, heading into spring, solstice, summer, equinox, autumn, winter and the hollow conclusion of the year. Fobia Inc. have opted for post-rock as their style of choice to explore these landscapes, and they go about this in a manner all people well versed in this type of music will find familiar. A sparse and often delicate opening, building up momentum and intensity towards a majestic finale, often with a gentle conclusive passage at the end. To break a purebred formula approach, the band will alternate intensity throughout, and the main variation will be to have an initial build seguing into a gentler mid phase and then rebuild towards the finale. Subtle differences will occur in each of the tracks, highlighting certain moods and atmospheres one tends to associate with the season or event the song is set to be the soundtrack to. Delicate, plucked, light toned guitars as well as textured, shimmering light toned guitar textures dominate the more delicate parts of the compositions, while the more majestic ones will typically gain first a hard, firm riff foundation and then a richer, wilder and darker toned gnarly riff. Most often with delicate counterparts, were the contrasting elements creates both the majestic feel and the tension needed to maintain nerve, life and momentum. The fluctuations in pace and intensity obviously also an aspect of accomplishing this. To my ears this becomes just a bit too much post-rock by the book however, without enough of those small details present that manage to elevate the experience into something more worthwhile. One of those albums were stalwart fans of the sub-genre will get their fill and be pleased, and at some point in the future will pull this one out as a forgotten jewel of the genre. But for someone with a more eclectic taste in music, this isn't what I'd describe as a standout album. Well made, and accomplished. Competent. Good quality throughout on all levels. But apart from the final two tracks, that both deviate from the norm ever so slightly each in their own manner, this album didn't feature all that much that would make me recommend this production over others in the genre. A PS of note is that the concluding song Hollow actually ends at the two minute mark, and that a hidden track appears following a 4 minute long spell of silence. This hidden piece somewhat different from the rest of the material, revolving around what sounds pretty much like a classical music type acoustic guitar motif.
Conclusion. If you know and love your instrumental post-rock, complete with occasional dips into darker and harder metal riff oriented parts for added depth and intensity, Fobia Inc. have crafted a good, quality album that merits a check at some point. While I do not think that this production will appeal strongly outside of this audience base, those inside it should find this production to be a good, quality addition to their collections.
Progmessor: May 26th 2018
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