Pelican is an instrumental metal band that has existed since 2000. At first look, one might think this is a strange approach to making metal music. Though instrumental classics are found throughout the genre, metal bands have consistently made their voice known in their music, whether it be desolate screams or harmonious shouts. Pelican’s vocal silence is something far from problematic, though. Its music is a solidified force in the metal scene and have even earned them a spot on the Southern Lord roster. With the release of its new album, Forever Becoming , the band has created an astonishing piece of art worthy of the utmost respect.
Though lyrics and vocals are absent, the quality of music found on Forever Becoming needs to be heard to be believed. In exchange of vocals, the listener is treated to incredible guitar riffs, bass grooves, and catchy drumming. If one were to take the heaviness of doom metal, mix it with thrash metal and stir it with classical music, Pelican would be the end result. They are really best described as the heavy metal version of Explosions in the Sky or sleepmakeswaves from Australia. While the music is quite heavy, there are several prominent moments of harmony and natural beauty. Behind the chaos, Pelican incorporated an elegant force that is both wonderful and calm.
Indeed, it is quite a different approach to metal music but it’s worked well in the past with bands like Agalloch and Alcest. “Threnody,” a track from the album, contains subtle acoustic guitar, an airy electric guitar solo, and soft mid tempo songwriting that successfully keeps the listener’s full attention. “The Cliff” is another example of superior songwriting, as it starts out with a creative bass heavy riff before leading into single note action and complex drum fill patterns.
In short, Pelican is an astonishing band. With powerful songwriting and ear catching atmosphere, the only disappointment found on this album is when it ends. If there is just one album purchase planned for 2013, make it this one. It’s a great addition to any music lover’s collection and one of the best albums of 2013.