ARTIST: A CONSTANT KNOWLEDGE OF DEATH
TITLE: VOL. III, A: FORTH FROM THE QUIET TO THE AIR THAT TREMBLES
WORDS: BECTON SIMPSON
The long windedly titled ‘Vol. III, A: Forth From The Quiet To The Air That Trembles’ is the third album from Long Beach, CA four piece A Constant Knowledge Of Death. It follows on from 2016’s ‘Vol. II: Organic Emotions’ and their debut ‘Vol. I: Enculturation’ so you see, there’s a pattern here to the title formats. There’s also a very special reason why this one is entitled ‘A’, because it’s the first in a series of albums the band intend to release during the remainder of 2019 which, if nothing else, certainly shows they have no shortage of material. A great start. But onwards to the music itself.
It’s difficult to pin down a band like A Constant Knowledge Of Death (ACKOD) into one specific genre. They describe their own genre as simply ‘post’, and that’s wide enough to be accurate. They dabble with post-hardcore, post-metal, post-prog. The only thing they don’t do is Post Malone, but don’t put it past them. Opener ‘Piedigrotta’ is musically dreamy, harmonic and delicate, sounding like something more akin with an Elbow track than any kind of metal band, which is why its so unexpected and quite frankly delightful when the low growled vocals come in, throwing a real spanner in the works and starting off as the band mean to go on. The final rhythm section breakdown is mesmerising, giving hints of someone like Rolo Tomassi and some fantastic work on bass and drums.
“like a musical soundscape and journey”
The songs all run seamlessly together like a musical soundscape and journey, where sometimes you can’t tell where one track ends and the other begins, all of them adding to the overall auditory experience off this collection of tracks. There’s definitely a lot of math rock type format here with some psychadelia, prog and electronica throne in. ‘Through Me The Way’ (all three parts – I, II and III) are swirling, pretty instrumentals bridging various tracks. The intricate and beautiful ‘Abysmal Valley Dolorus’ could easily have been dropped in the 70s and would probably sound even more amazing on vinyl. It’s the lead single off the album so far, featuring Miles Dimitri Baker (Interloper, Rings Of Saturn) and features some incredible funky bass breakdowns.
‘Malebolge’ features some pretty harmonies and a good mix of clean and growled vocals overlapping and interweaving with each other to great effect as the track builds into a hypnotic drone and final track ‘After The Prints Of His Beloved Feet’ brings something new to the table for the showdown of the album. Opening with a pretty, acoustic guitar sound, it’s a laid back song with some spoken word poetry over the top, reminiscent of an early 90s original emo kind of track. It’s safe to say there’s a lot of different stuff going on on the album generally.
At only twenty three minutes, this album could easily have been a lot longer and would still have been enjoyable, but A Constant Knowledge Of Death have made a smart move here. A lot of bands in this type of genre have the tendency to make epic hour and twenty minute long opus albums with eight minute tracks or longer. A Constant Knowledge Of Death have avoided such pretensions and done themselves a favour, not only allowing themselves more material for future releases to build up hype around themselves in between, but also enabling them to keep their listeners interested and excited, leaving them wanting more, which certainly they will deliver.