Released: September 2015
All We Expected:
Guillian Maertens – guitar
Tijl Tytgat – guitar
Martijn Salomez – bass
Artuur Bruwier – drums
Vocals: Dave Lee
Guitars: Andrew Colohan
Bass: Ronan Connor
Drums: Mark Gilchrist
Belgian post rock/post metallers All We Expected or AWE for short (must have been accidental that) have teamed up with Raum Kingdom, a quartet from Ireland, to release this split album, one that whilst showcases each of the individual band’s talents, also strangely fits in fairly well together. Each band has recorded two separate songs in separate locations for the split release with each band looking to follow on from their debut releases. The two bands met whilst Raum Kingdom were touring through Europe last year and a platonic partnership of sorts looks to have been made as the two bands solo work efforts are merged together in a joint effort to raise some awareness for the two groups.
Following on from their debut Demo EP All We Expected get the ball rolling and open the split with ‘We’re Not Born To Live Like Brutes’ which immediately expands into a duality of sorts, with one guitarist focusing on a concentrated wall of sound built through bricks of heavy chords whilst the opposing guitarist adds an atmospheric texture to the sound through higher notes galvanised by a nice touch of delay. The song breaks down as things turn a little darker. The two separate guitar styles are utilised highly effectively as the song progresses from a sound of dark and heavy which evolves into more tranquil spells.
The band show a keen sense on how to build avenues to alter the composition in a seamless manner as the heavy riffs come back in for an emphatic finish. The second track ‘Flood’ begins on a slightly different level which is more on a basis of building ambient structures that eventually break into a heavier barrage of sound. One of the stand out features in this song is how the drummer Artuur Bruwier dictates the rhythm and perfectly ushers in each transition of structure within the song. An expertly timed and potent performance throughout. ‘Flood’ is the longer of the two tracks, one that again shows the band’s talents for timing and steady transition which sculpts a set of sound compositions. AWE captures the essence of post rock/post metal exceptionally and this group of young and highly talented musicians have a bright future within this genre.
Raum Kingdom ally to similar post rock/post metal attributes but they have a much darker and more forceful nature to their sound. The band opens their side of the split with ‘Grace’ a song that combines elements of doom and sludge with a progressive structure that forms into bouts of pure aggression when vocalist Dave Lee lets rip with his harsh and rugged voice. The vocals are a standout as Dave Lee begins with a very atmoshperic scale of vocals which can break into ferocious power at any point. The backing instrumentation flows perfectly with the switch between eerie and atmospheric to sludge ridden fury as the band progress between the different modes.
The second track ‘Lost In The Hunt’ has very similar traites as ‘Grace’ although this serves to be the longer of the two tracks. Again there are different degrees of force layered throughout the song as the song doesn’t go on for long without a break into those furious sections of aggressive screams and heavier bodies of rhythm. Raum Kingdom have some knack for shattering any sense of tranquility as the band eradicate their slower more ambient and transient structures with brutal precision and force. Dave Lee’s vocal range is nothing short of impressive as he lulls the listener into a sedate state of deep thought with these almost prayer like mantras then brutally and disturbingly fractures this false calm and renders the listener to regress into a pile of unsalvagable wreckage. Great stuff as the band perfectly fulfils all the musical requirements to make this work.
A good split with some talented musicians to watch out for. Both All We Expected and Raum Kingdom have contributed to this split and both bands deserve a large amount of credit for the music they have written for this split’s existence. If I had to choose I’d say that Raum Kingdom have stolen the show but this may just be due to my more heavier tastes as All We Expected have produced some highly listenable and thought provoking music but, I would say, that Raum Kingdom are the more interesting of the two bands. It may be down to Dave Lee’s vocal input which just adds another level and works perfectly as an addition to some dark and mystical instrumentation. I’m sure that AWE will move forward and show just what they can do without the need for a vocalist and all the best has to be wished for their bright future.
Raum Kingdom have found a niche and can fully exploit their abilities to expand this niche into something greater. The sad thing is that these bands write such expressive music, full of imagery, emotion and potency but the audience at large doesn’t have the patience to sit through songs that are ten minutes plus long. It’s a sad state of affairs but these bands will appeal to those who truly appreciate music both the ambient and terror inspiring.
Of course there are many who love a 45 minute doom song so there’s always a market for these types of bands who just cannot condense their talent, and nor should they as each song is built soundly as a progression which shouldn’t be altered for anyone.