When you listen to the first moments of II by the masked band Briqueville, you may think you know what you’re getting into. You probably don’t. The first track on their sophomore release, out September 29th on Pelagic Records, is essentially picking up where the debut record ended. The pulsating, rhythmic, and repetitious riffs open “Akte V”, but in good post-metal fashion, the song eases off of the gas pedal and things begin to breathe. We’re treated to a melody that needs no lyrics to sell the emotion. It’s this sort of songwriting that makes this album, and this band, something special and unique. This is a truly dynamic song, and the band knows how to create an atmosphere that will surprise the listener.
With “Akte V”, the arc of the song was inverse to a traditional structure, opting to come in like a lion and then mellowing as things go along. The next song on the album takes a different approach. “Akte VI” starts with a droning and hypnotic pace, where the lead guitar parts (if they can be called that) circle around the monolithic rhythm. Being another roughly eleven-minute track, this song changes pace around its halfway mark: the drums come thundering in, and their effect is grand. Along with the drums come vocal elements that shake up the formula with chanting and slightly dissonant droning that will get the hair on your arms standing. Throw in some bells and an organ for a good seasoning, and you have a real standout composition that is among the best post-metal songs that you will hear this year.
Up until now, we have heard almost twenty-three minutes of pummeling rhythms, amazing atmosphere, and compositions that maximize some very simple concepts. This is something at which this band excels. On the production side of things, a band that performs music as grandiose and complex as this requires that the mix highlight these elements without getting in it’s own way. I do feel that this has been accomplished on this record. Briqueville is a band that wouldn’t make sense without a proper production, so it’s no surprise that this was a success. It should also be noted that the guitar tone on this album is amazing. It’s fuzzy yet discernable, warm but still aloof. It’s something special.
The final song, “Akte VII”, is a twenty-minute descent into madness. Notice I didn’t say chaos. The desperate screams of a man recalling his misery and misfortune are thematically heavy, and once again cranks atmosphere to a new high on the album. Additional influences can be heard in the melodies by the guitars including eastern-sounding scales that break that traditional tension-and-release motifs heard in most popular music. Around the mid-point we get a noisy interlude that serves as a break from the desperation of the first ten minutes, with plenty of white noise and feedback filling the mix. Echoes of the previous melodies begin to surface, the rhythms come back to life, and we are once again thrust into the malestrom. The bass is featured more heavily in the final third of the song, and a dissonant, powerful, riff closes out the album.
I thoroughly enjoyed debut from Briqueville, and was quite excited to get to listen and review their follow-up. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint. I think there were improvements made in nearly every aspect, and this album made a quite an impression on me. The dense, noisy composition was not just repeatedly beating me over the head, but instead were full of dynamic passages, and some really lovely interludes. However, I would have loved about twenty more minutes of music on this record, as only three tracks and forty-two minutes seems like a short time to spend with this band. This is certainly an album that I will come back to over and over again, and encourage any fans of post-metal to give it a spin.
Notable Tracks: All of them.
FFO: Sun O))), Celeste