Saturday, June 20, 2015

Lifting MAKE’s ‘Golden Veil’

Yesterday I posted on Facebook that MAKE’s new album, “The Golden Veil,” is most likely the best work I’ve ever heard by a local band, and is rivaling Ufomammut’s “Ecate” for my personal favorite album of the year. I realize that’s a pretty strong statement, but repeated listenings just make me more certain. MAKE is a band that I’ve been watching for several years now, and they’ve always had tremendous potential. By taking a year off, and honing their work as a trio, they’ve re-emerged with an ambitious and transcendent work that channels Neurosis, The Atlas Moth and Horseback.

The album begins with the sound of static and rushing wind, which gradually gives way to a gnawing drone and delicate acoustic guitar before sputtering out and into the next song. There’s a push-pull between natural and mechanic, delicate and crushing, and full and sparse throughout the song, and the album in general. The album takes sonic flight over a desert landscape with “Breathe.” Tribal drums introduce the song, followed by a lumbering bass, soaring guitar, and finally bellowed vocals. The aural terrain is more lush with “The Immortal,” which includes clean vocals and lyrics that would be a little too New Agey if the music wasn’t so compelling, then turns exotic on the instrumental “We Are Coiled.”

The next two tracks, “The Absurdist” (which can be heard here on The Obelisk) and “The Architect” mark the album’s peak, the point at which all these varying elements join together and launch into the psychedelic stratosphere. The final song, “In the Final Moments, Uncoiling,” rolls through sludgy, blackened territory before droning, vapor-like, away.

Listening to “The Golden Veil,” I kept thinking about Inter Arma’s “Sky Burial,” not really because of the sound (though the spiritual and emotional dynamics of both albums feel similarly to me), but because both albums marked a point where a really good band suddenly emerged from its chrysalis and announced its strength and beauty to the world. So, yeah. I wasn’t joking around. “The Golden Veil” really is that good.

“The Golden Veil,” will be released by the band on July 23. I don’t think they will be label-less for long.

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