Hail the Titans- Hymns of Mare Nostrum (2011)

Posted: September 9, 2011 by Is This Revolutionary? in Album, Reviews
Tags: ,

Another post I let slip away due to our horrible organization skills.

The first thing you hear is an ebbing and flowing of a wall of sound, which struck me as off for a band called Hail the Titans, a title that sounds more commanding and forceful than the whimsy that came from the first song. It was peaceful and ambient in a way that fused The American Dollar and When The World Was Sound.

The band itself has a very unique style. Not sticking to either the previously mentioned ambiance, an intense And So I Watch You From Afar sound, or anything else in particular, it’s very hard to describe what they were going for, which I think it good, all in all. The first three tracks are very, very solid.

Then comes “Wave Goodbye to the Shoreline; Hello Giant Squid”,  a monster of a track than was noisy and had an awful gap for about 3 minutes of what sounded like free-form jazz and microphone feedback (think of all the reasons you hated Animal Collective’s second album). The beginning and end, however, were enough to redeem the track as a whole and progress through the album. But, at that mark, Hail the Titans bring the power that I was expecting: “Cesium” was filled with the beauty of fast-paced guitar (similar to “Search:Party:Animal” by And So I Watch You From Afar”) but keeping some echoing heavy parts similar to Gifts from Enola near the middle. My favorite track on the album comes from “I Am Become Death”, a solemn, yet oddly upbeat, song with a crash symbol-infused ending.

Finally, the last two tracks, which consisted of “The Owner’s Manual to the Universe, Chapter III, Celestial Mapping” and “Practical Applications of the Metaphysical”, were a severe drawback from the rest of the album. The former was a bunch of electronic noise that, although accurate to the title, just seemed like a waste of time and simply just filler. The last track, however, annoyed the shit out of me, something I never have exactly gotten from a instrumental song before. It really would have been an incredible piece if not for that high-pitch whatever that just kept making noise over a really good baseline. And then, when you think it’s all over, and you start jamming to the song again, it comes back, haunting you until the ending. Not the best final impression to leave on the listener.

Rating: This band has a lot of really strong traits that made this album at least listenable. They seemed to be good musicians, and they definitely had some creativity in there, based off of that last track (I applaud it for the attempt, yet knock it for the execution).  However, much of this album didn’t strike me as anything I hadn’t heard before, as shown by the many similarities I drew from other bands. Simply put, when this band is hot, they’re hot. When they’re off the mark, though, it makes you want to shut off the album entirely. If I were to make a suggestion, keep embracing the creativity. Although I seriously didn’t like the “high-pitched whatever” [showing my ignorance towards what instrument that was/music in general], I have to give this band loads of credit for pushing the limits of post-rock, something where many bands today fall short. Their good, quality songs, combined with their potential and creativity, tells me for certain that this band is on its way to making something fantastic. If and when their next album comes out, I will have no second thoughts in reviewing it. But for now, a 3.5/5 shall do.



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