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Toundra - Hex review

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Band: Toundra
Album: Hex
Release date: January 2022

01. El Odio. Parte I
02. El Odio. Parte II
03. El Odio. Parte III
04. Ruinas
05. La Larga Marcha
06. Watt
07. FIN

I put a spell on you.

I've said it before that there are basically two distinct genres called post-metal. With some overlap. There's metal that became post, as in usually sludge metal that got so atmospheric that it became post-metal. And then there's post that became metal, as in third-wave post-rock bands that were heavy enough to be called metal. The line isn't always clear and you'll find bits of one in the other, but generally bands in the second category have a harder time being called metal, since they're basically heavy post-rock. And they're usually instrumental too. Toundra fall in this category. And since 2008 they've delivered the goods in this niche, naming each album as an incremental number, up until 2018 saw then finally putting an actual album title on Vortex. Then 2020 saw the release of Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari, a reupdated soundtrack released on the hundredth anniversary of the German Expressionist film. And now, they bring Hex.

If you're already familiar with the style, you already know what to expect from it, and if you're already familiar with Toundra you know that they're good at it. What sets Hex apart from its predecessors is the pandemic context in which it was conceived. Which is something that you've probably heard about a lot of albums, but that's what usually happens during global events. But more importantly, what sits at the heart of Hex is humanity's impulses for hate. So I guess it makes sense why there's a bunch of relatively heavy riffing for a post-rock album when the album is themed in so much negativity, and anyone familiar with post-rock knows how important it is for the music to capture emotions. And that Hex does, complete with the frustration and resentment of it all... but not all of it is that negative. There's some triumph there too.

The album is also structured pretty distinctly, starting out with a 22 minute song called "El Odio" (split up in three tracks for some goddamn reason), while the rest of the album is pretty straight-forward. I have a soft spot for albums beginning with their longest song, because I acknowledge how hard it is to keep the momentum once that song is over. Not really the case here, since Toundra's sense of ebb-and-flow was carefully developed over their career, with the production leaving space for each instrument to make an impact in the mix, from the marvelous guitar playing, punchy bass, swirling synths, and the crisp drumming. And I'm pretty sure there was a saxophone or two too. Simply put, no surprises, just truly competent musicianship.

So now that Spanish band Toundra have an album called Hex, it's time for Spanish band Hex to make an album called Toundra.

Written on 17.01.2022 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 128 users
17.01.2022 - 13:55

That was a perfect way to start the review! After about three sentences I know that I want to chem them out
17.01.2022 - 20:18

I like how you describe the two genres of post metal. The instrumental style is how I found my way in, but I've since branched out. Still, whether it's these guys, Pelican, Russian Circles, or Long Distance Calling, I continue to enjoy the mesmorizing nature of this style sans lyrics.
I found this playlist on Spotify by accident a couple of years ago and I think it covers this instrumental post genre really well. I play it quite a lot:
Back to the album, in my mind, Hex is a really good. I think Watt is the best track, although the album is solid as a start to finish listen through.
On another note, it would be nice to see a new Pelican album. It's been a couple of years.
22.05.2022 - 13:41
Rating: 8

They are good at it. They are really really good at it.
Leeches everywhere.

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