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Pelican: The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw

Pelican: The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw

Label:Hydra Head
Genre:Hard Rock/Metal

By Bret McCabe | Posted 7/27/2005

Youngish American metal bands need to stop listening to Mogwai right effing now. All love to the volume-sculpting Scots, but heavy instrumental metal drifting toward the pastoral and dramatic mood shift lost its face-flattening force sometime around “Like Herod.” Chicago’s Pelican goes to that well again with its sophomore release, The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw, and save a throat-grabbing drum sound—anchored by a seriously on-point snare—it’s a long roller-coaster ride with tame peaks and valleys.

Not saying it sucks, just saying: Pelican is all about the pretty here, and moments of Thaw achieve a grandiosity that is quite stunning. The guitar flatlands painted in “Autumn Into Summer” right before the drum breakdown at the 9.5-minute mark is a tidal-wave stirring moment. The opening riff lines of “March Into the Sea” set up a wall of pound for drummer Larry Herweg to punch through. But these monstrous moments don’t make up for much of the murkiness: the nine minutes it takes to get to “Summer”’s heights lack the ornate finery that makes Japanese long-form rock so intoxicating or the sledgehammer wallop of Isis; the proggy hovering patterns that follow “March”’s opening salvos never live up to the lead-in’s promise. Only on “Red Ran Amber” does the quartet fully realize how to focus its melodic orchestrations and power-rock impulses into a leveling force—once again steered by Herweg’s hefty hitting—simultaneously massaging the scalp while splitting the skull.

E-mail Bret McCabe

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