AlbumsNovember 29, 201111,487 views

Pelican City of Echoes

01. Bliss in Concrete 02. City of Echoes 03. Spaceship Broken -- Parts Needed 04. Winds with Hands 05. Dead Between the Walls 06. Lost in the Headlights 07. Far From Fields 08. A Delicate Sense of Balance
2007 Hydra Head Records
Our score 8

by Nick

Instrumental heavyweights Pelican have made a bold return with the release of their third full length, City of Echoes. Gone are days of the crushing riffs and overwhelming weight of their self-titled EP. And gone are the days of ten-plus minute long tracks that steadily meander into well-crafted climaxes. With City of Echoes, Pelican has thrown out a lot of the ideas that secured them an influential place in the instrumental metal spotlight. But don't worry. This record still has the same old Pelican feel at its very core. City of Echoes is the collision of Pelican's trademark riffs and slightly dissonant sound with the more mellow qualities of today's post-rock scene. The title track shares this fusion elegantly, as an introduction driven by clean melodic hooks suddenly erupts into the briefly repetitive metal riffing that Pelican fans have come to know and love. But as the song progresses, winding in and out of riffs and even pausing a moment for a subdued interlude courtesy of Bryan Herweg's fuzzed out bass, it becomes apparent exactly what this song, and much of the entirety of the album, really is: a Pelican record with ADD.At a length of about 42 minutes, quite short in Pelican time, City of Echoes manages to touch on many elements of their previous albums, but does so in a more efficient manner. Rarely is time wasted on a single riff for great lengths of time, and even the instrumental passage, "Winds with Hands," is quite concise and driving in nature. The result is a record almost completely devoid of the band's plodding and slightly doomy origin. And I can't help but love it. It's simple. There are just too many great riffs, progressions, and ideas on City of Echoes to even give the listener time to wish that Pelican had simply released another Australasia or The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw. Guitarists Trevor de Brauw and Laurent Lebec have continued to refine the art of the art metal riff and their rock-oriented work in "Bliss in Concrete" and the fast riffing of "Lost in the Headlights" are deserving of a little mature head banging each and every time. The Herweg brother on bass has also continued to grow in musicianship, all while being careful to remember to inject the disc with the powerful low end it deserves. Ah yes, and then there's the drumming.Over the last few years Larry Herweg has become the target of many complaints from drumming connoisseurs and wannabe drumming connoisseurs alike, all citing his presence as the weak link of the group. The dynamic and innovative nature of City of Echoes demands a drummer with the same qualities, and I'll agree with the bandwagon on this one, though not to the same extent. Sure, there are a few sections of the album that would have only been enhanced with more creative drumming and there are also a few points in which it feels like Herweg is selfishly thrusting away at passages that just beg for tender affection, but in the end City Echoes emerges as a great album, slightly hindered but still strong. Pelican has developed into a guitar driven act, a fact clearly displayed by the record's abundance of melodic hooks and riffs, and would not benefit from overly showy and complex drumming. So those holding their jazz drumming degrees from Julliard (and those who pretend to do so on the Internet) can righteously pass on City of Echoes all they want, but I'm sure many will be find Herweg's work to be adequate and rather complementary to the disc's content. Bottom Line: In many ways City of Echoes is Pelican's most innovative and exploratory record to date. The absence of the crushing heaviness of albums past has given way to a more melodic, hook oriented sound, all while holding on to a sound that is still unmistakably Pelican. Although I wouldn't exactly take City of Echoes over Australasia, you can still chalk this one up as yet another impressive disc in these guys' career.


Post Comment
GymandJuice_ 6/15/2007 4:16:42 PM

first post, solid band

Fur_Beach_ 6/15/2007 4:25:43 PM

excellent band, no heard yet but I have all of their other albums so Im sure ill pick this one up to.

eadup_ 6/15/2007 4:40:15 PM

yeah, minsk gets a 5 and this album...which is the most I think I've ever heard a band I liked regress in just about every aspect of their sound...gets an 8....gosh darn you, lambgoat.

xomertax_ 6/15/2007 4:43:15 PM

Great band and great album. It is different from their older stuff but it doesn't matter because it's still amazing.

insideyou_ 6/15/2007 4:47:30 PM

Good band and good album.

wait_ 6/15/2007 4:54:12 PM

really, really sorry, boring, campy release by this band. and the drumming...seriously?

anonymous 6/15/2007 4:59:44 PM

LOL @ Minsk getting a 5 and this an 8. webmaster needs to get his reviewing problems straight. this is pathetic.

mefuckyeah_ 6/15/2007 5:03:10 PM

I couldn't agree more with eadup. Minsk a 5 while this gets an 8? The riffs aren't that creative, the drumming sucks and this band gets worse with every cd

Nick_ 6/15/2007 5:10:36 PM

Two. Different. Reviewers.

Cory, Gluck, and Kirby_ 6/15/2007 5:47:16 PM

You gave MOTA a 9 and this an 8? Stick to building couch forts and leave the reviewing to the professionals.

anonymous 6/15/2007 5:50:03 PM

The problem isn't that the drumming isn't creative. The problem is that he's too wooden, misses fills, and seems like he's a step behind at crucial junctures.

TheWood_ 6/15/2007 6:39:18 PM

"Stick to building couch forts." I think I just crapped my pants after reading that. And I actually like this album. I think THE FIRE IN OUR THROATS... is better as a whole, though. Albums aside, Pelican will destroy you live; their amps go to 11.

Nick_ 6/15/2007 6:50:03 PM

lol @ couch forts

hotaction_ 6/15/2007 7:17:21 PM

while its no austrailasia this album is right behind it. (well behind their self titled ep). i cant see how anyone could say that the riffs arent creative. its the perfect mix of pelican. definitely worth the 12 bucks.

Pelican is Weiner_ 6/15/2007 9:24:21 PM

yeah the drumming alone takes off 5 points. that guys sucks in ever band he plays in. that one fill in the first song sounds like its played by a 5 year old.

tlnc_ 6/16/2007 12:22:29 AM

Just because the drumming isn't as technical as other bands of this genre doesn't mean it's bad. Every instrument in this band mesh perfectly together, as the guitars "would not benefit from overly showy and complex drumming."

asdfghjkl;_ 6/16/2007 5:16:55 AM

Not saying the drums aren't technical. I am saying they are bad, as in, even for this style, they are f*cking TERRIBLE. That guy sucks at the overall at his instrument. There is no way to make excuses for it. Plus the writing is boring.

a_new_religion_ 6/16/2007 6:22:09 AM

please, for the love of pssy, get a new f*cking drummer!

starsbeneathourfeet_ 6/16/2007 3:20:19 PM

overrated. nothing will ever top the march into the sea ep. im bored with them.

din_ 6/16/2007 7:52:56 PM

boring as f*ck

deadchinadoll_ 6/16/2007 8:07:28 PM

worst. drummer. EVER.

blackpower_ 6/17/2007 10:19:50 AM

Not a bad record, but "Fire In Our Throats..." will always be their pinnacle, in my opinion.

Metal_mania_ 6/17/2007 11:45:54 AM

i think that more then one reviewer should review each album.. and give their seperate scores so we can see each reviewers opinion. People like different music

anonymous 6/17/2007 12:27:06 PM


mjlong_ 6/17/2007 3:49:13 PM

dude.... pelican rocks really hard....

rockinger_ 6/18/2007 5:43:07 AM

seems like some have read the pitchfork review

ronnie d._ 6/18/2007 1:43:52 PM

i think pitchfork and lambgoat accidentally switched their reviews.

astral zombie_ 6/18/2007 1:52:34 PM

Dudes need to get a new drummer...and you don't need to be educated at Julliard or even a drummer to understand that Herwig's drumming sucks and almost ruins what's good about this record and band!

embrace_ 6/18/2007 6:17:12 PM

the drummer is shit big time.

arty_mcfarty_ 6/18/2007 6:38:08 PM

thank you webby for not having that douche cory review this its nice to read a review that actually discusses the album and isn't filled with literary masturbation

CityofFaggots_ 6/19/2007 4:27:07 PM

the heavy parts sounds like korn. seriously, this album is boring by pelican's standards. no listen again ever.

Metal Mike_ 6/19/2007 7:23:57 PM

Everyone knows that when a band stops being heavy that they no longer matter. Satan does not want to hear spacey melodic pssy drone rock with mediocre drums. He wants breakdowns. He told me that on the phone the other day. Nick, in the midst of trying to relive the junk food laden, roller coaster riding, short shorts rampage of a childhood he never had, has lost sight of what metal is truly about; blood guts gore sacrifices f*cking whores on fire debauchery and f*cking macabre. Nick averages 1

Nick_ 6/19/2007 7:46:50 PM


rodrigo_ 6/20/2007 9:31:00 AM

so boring live now better than the fire in our whatever but pretty forgettable still

eat_hot_death_ 6/20/2007 3:54:39 PM

most overrated band out there....other than mastodon, that is.

tiger_ 6/21/2007 9:41:31 PM

most boring live show ever. new stuff.... eh.

tiger_ 6/21/2007 9:41:32 PM

most boring live show ever. new stuff.... eh.

yourmom_ 6/22/2007 12:45:19 AM

Oh my!! I guess I've been more of a pig than I knew!! I've eaten hot asses with one or two of those warts!! Never occurred to me it was little more than normal hole usage!! lol!! Can you pick up anything orally from them?? Not like it's a problem, but would like to know!! Maybe I'll get even harder eating them in the future!! That would be difficult since I've blasted a load or 3 in my shorts eating a hot butt!! One ex-porno star got me worked up so much, I blew in it my jock before he could get

Metal_mania_ 6/22/2007 5:47:53 PM

metalmike had some good points.. but as far as what you thing metal is about thats just all wrong dude. f*ck this devil worshiping bullshit. YOURE enforcing negative stereotypes. f*ck Stereotypes

anonymous 7/17/2007 9:19:12 PM

terrible, but seriously....awful

Chaosweaver_ 9/22/2007 2:07:09 PM

lol @ this review and all bands like this.