One of the genres that's fascinated me the most since diving back deep into rock and metal here at Apocalypse Later is post-rock. I don't have a major background in the genre, so I'm learning and one of the places teaching me about it is a Facebook group called WherePostRockDwells, through which I've discovered a host of excellent albums. They recently published their top ten of 2021 and, above major names like Mono, Mogwai and God is an Astronaut, at the top of that list was this, an album from a post-rock outfit I hadn't heard of, who hail from northern Greece. They're Halocraft and this is their second full length album.
I enjoyed it immensely but, unlike many post-rock albums, it didn't take me anywhere. The babies gurgling at the start of the title track to kick off the album helped to infuse it with warmth but I'm pretty sure that would be the overriding feeling regardless. It's there in the guitarwork, which is welcoming; it's there in the bass, which is enveloping; and it's there in the grand sweep, which is a lively but comforting journey inwards. This isn't taking me anywhere, but it's making me feel very comfortable indeed where I'm already at.
And the album continues the way the title track started out, the variety primarily in pacing rather than stylistic exploration. It's always warm, whatever the pace, but Halocraft bring in sadness with sections that slow and feel more pensive. That's there as Small Victories begins and it's especially there on For the Son You Could Not Save, which plucks at the heartstrings even if we don't read its title first. Small Victories plays with its pace a lot, though, ramping up to energetic speeds often, the mood changing each time.
That's not to say that they don't bring in other sounds here and there, just that their core palette is happy to focus on a specific feel that underpins everything on offer. There's some reggae late in New Beginnings. There's some neat electronica early in The Machine that's quickly reminiscent of Tangerine Dream. There are echoey power chords on Through the Caverns that heavy the piece up a little and darker guitars that do likewise, without it ever becoming post-metal. Small Victories is a little Celtic with its melodies. But they're all variations on a theme really.
And so there's not a heck of a lot to say about this one, beyond it being excellent. You could pick a track at random, any track, and, if you like that one, you can be pretty sure you're going to like all the others. In fact, I'm pretty sure you're going to like everything anyway, unless you just hate all instrumental music or you despise post-rock in all its incarnations. This isn't ever going to convert a naysayer, but it's hard to imagine anyone not liking it. It's inherently likeable stuff, effortlessly melodious and ever-welcoming. It's a warm blanket of an album on a cold winter day.