“The Cosmic Wilderness” by Wave of Silence is a true composition, comprised of 9 pieces which, when experienced in sequence, take one on a journey of actual emotion. It is genius in the macro, but zoom to each of the 9 songs and you find infinite reasons to hit the repeat button again and again. Part of what makes these songs so enchanting is their production, which forges a wall of sound that is simultaneously everywhere. These songs are suspended within a thickly beautiful ether of I-don’t-know-what-but-I-can’t-get-enough.
This album is aptly named, as when you listen to it, you feel like you are about to depart from whatever mundanity you face and set off for a distant world without too much thought but a lot of emotion. If one had to assign a genre here, “instrumental atmospheric post-rock” might do. Heavily effected and crunchy guitars form both rumbling and soothing soundscapes, accompanied by low bass and hard-hitting drums. This album does what very few instrumental albums manage: the music moves you through a progression of powerful emotion without ever breathing one word of a story.
Many post-rock aficionados attempt to confine the genre by creating over-specified criteria and remaining staunch in opinion – however, there are no defining attributes to “the perfect post-rock band”. Some artists are atmospheric and focus on noise and ambience, while others are more in-your-face and focus on hard rock. Some are minimalistic while others are busy and technical. There is no right or wrong – it’s all subject to personal opinion. That being said, “The Cosmic Wilderness” encompasses all of these attributes. Every track has moments of ambience that swell into themes that are both monumental and triumphant.
Wave of Silence combines post rock with atmospheric elements that create a broader sound than any other post rock bands that I have heard thus far. No lyrics are needed, and there is a chorus of instruments that carry through. There is also no need for typical verse-chorus-verse as the music flows up and down and each song meanders and builds to a crescendo. All storyline themes aside, “The Cosmic Wilderness” exhibits atmospheric instrumental rock music at its finest, with unrivaled complexity and outstanding melodic beauty. At times it turns toward a sludgy metallic direction, at others towards more progressive rock. Drums loop and transform, guitars weave in and out of melodies, creating dense and strange rhythmic counterpoints.
The guitars are big and thick, the drums propulsive, but each one of those parts is transformed by the way they are assembled, the arrangements, the songwriting, imbue each of those elements with extra emotion and power. This much is evident right from the opening track, “Echoes of Sunrise” or other guitar-driven standouts like “Whirl in the Wind”, “The Iron Jungle” and “Down through the Abyss”. For those more attracted by the appeal of eclectic electronic arrangements, “Fire of the Starlight” and “Monsoon over Mars” will more than tantalize the spirits.
This is obviously not an ‘easy-listening’ instrumental album, and every second gives you layers of something to explore, and having listened to it under a variety of different circumstances it affords new meanings and pleasure each time. The music is riddled with powerful dynamic changes, creative score-like song structures, and instrumentation that sometimes challenge the ears with virtuosic rock themes. There may be a few artists out there exhibiting a similar style, many of which are great acts as well. Right now I’d say Wave of Silence is a step above the rest!
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