Thursday 8 December 2022

Raeziel - Resilience (2022)

Country: France
Style: Post-Rock
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 29 Oct 2022
Sites: Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

On a first listen, it didn't sound like Raeziel are bringing anything new to post-rock with what looks like their debut album, but they perform it very capably indeed. On a second listen, I didn't change that opinion, but doubled down on it. I wasn't surprised by what they do here, except to say that it sometimes seems a little heavier than equivalent bands, crossing the line into post-metal, just not exploring particularly far beyond it. However, it feels effortlessly good, staying evocative, perhaps even deepening our experience as we journey through these soundscapes.

I don't know who's in the band, so I can't call anyone out for a special mention, but I don't think it's needed anyway. This is very much a team performance, however many musicians happen to belong to Raeziel. Bandcamp tells me that it's a home recording, so that number may even be one, with a multi-instrumentalist taking his time in his studio to get every instrument right before layering it all together. Certainly, I don't see more than one musician in any of the images on their Instagram account.

That means that what I like here is what I like about post-rock in general. I like the way that pieces of music—and, just in case you're wondering, everything is instrumental—play as journeys and it's up to us to figure out where we're going and what we're seeing on the way. They're all mid-length, the shortest track just under four minutes and the longest almost six and a half, and they all move between quiet, gentle sections and louder, more urgent sections, just in different ways, different orders and to different degrees. Everything feels consistent but every piece is different, just like every train ride through random countryside is consistent but different.

It's so consistent that I would have been hard pressed on a first listen to call out a favourite track. This is one of those albums where your favourite track is always going to be the one that you're on at any particular moment; they all do the job but one is happening right now and that's what you care about the most at that point in time. With repeat listens, I'd call out the opener, Vesper, that six minute track; Vendabrume, kicking off side two; and Renaissance, at the tail end of the album, right before the closer. Why? No better reason than me connecting to them a little stronger than anything else.

Maybe Vendabrume stands out for me because it discovers some sounds unlike any other piece on the album. In particular, there are two percussion based sounds—the drummer hitting something different—and they grab my attention every time, however often I listen to them. The first is early on and subtle, so it's making sure we're aware. The other comes later and is much more overt, the drums taking the lead for a glorious section. Renaissance is a smoother piece but it benefits from an excellent escalation out of a quiet rain adorned midsection that ramps up to the end. Vesper? I have no idea. It's not just because, as the opening track, it was my first impression of Raeziel. There's a deeper connection, but I couldn't really call out why.

And that's about all I can say here. If you like your post-rock on the heavier side, this is good stuff, however many musicians there are making it. Maybe we'll find out when the second album comes out. Maybe not. I'll be checking Bandcamp anyway.

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