Know what’s great about post-rock bands? There’s never a language barrier, not when there’s rocking to be had. Belgian act Terraformer’s new release, The Sea Shaper, speaks my kind of language, the one with big gnarly guitars ‘n’ drums bashing, thrashing and occasionally crashing. Never mind the vocals, here’s the rock.
Post-rock has always been a little bit of a nebulous term. Personally, I use it to just mean that a band sounds like Mogwai. But for Terraformer, using a more open-ended genre description makes sense. Sea Shaper feels like a tour through the band’s record collection (or so I assume). Sure, you get that Mogwai ethereal/heavy dynamic, but there are also little bits of Slint sparseness and even a dash of sludge metal thrown in. What’s even better is that all those comparisons pertain to a single song. It’s track nine, “R’Lyeh.” Shit is a barnstormer.
The whole record rocks like that too. Terraformer never settles for a single sound, and thus never gets too hedged in. Nor does the band ever come off as schizophrenic; rather, the members absorb in bits of DNA from adjacent genres. You could tell me that Sea Shaper was either the most epic one-take improvised jam or a methodically planned out record that took months to conceive and record, and I would believe you either way. Everything flows, not unlike the sea (Do you “sea” what I did there?!).
Terraformer is a promising group, one that can drop bone-crunching riffs and still add a smidgen of ethereal noise without compromising anything. Sea Shaper consists of quality jams, something especially worthwhile in a genre that can get mired in endless noise.