There is a tendency when listening to or writing about anything in the realm of wordless post-rock much of the conversation revolves around formula, proficiency and emotion. With an absolute glut of post-rock / post-metal bands largely running the same plays, a lack in any of these result in a derivative, formulaic and bland crescendo-core that passes completely unnoticed. The musical equivalent of a Subway sandwich.
SLC’s Blackshape, it’s safe to say, excel in each category, making their first recorded output a pretty thrilling listen. Formula: Both “III” and “V” are full of twists, turns, tempo changes and melodic phrasings that are more rooted in the heavier side of Math Rock. Bands like And So I Watch You From Afar, ef and Six Parts Seven come into focus here. Blackshape can move from lightning fast arpeggios to floor-crushing low-end at a hairpin turn.
Proficiency. Under the helm of Matt Goldman (The Chariot, Underoath) who recorded and co-produced these songs, the expert guitar work and rhythm section really come through, allowing the listener to clearly hear some of the more technical moves that put the icing on on an already calorie dense cake.
Emotion. With all of these twists and turns there is still a heavy emotional component that threads the needle here. A fluctuating, stakes raising mix of joy, wonder and aggression. Maybe someday we will have a word for that feeling when a truly stunning breakdown happens. We don’t. But maybe someday.