Battersea’s full-length debut album is rather quirky by post-metal standards. The Indianapolis band’s penchants for drawn out songs and swirling atmosphere take obvious cues from groups from Neurosis and Pelican, but they find ways to put their own spin on the sound. This can be seen in the vocal range of clean Peter Steele-style bellows and metalcore shrieks to an ultra-trebly guitar tone that has more in common with black metal or even shoegaze.
Parts Unknown also stands out for its raw execution. While the production makes the musicians sound rather distant, the grainy aesthetic makes the music simultaneously bright and muddy. This rawness is further enhanced by the musicianship as the guitars and drums often come off destructively unhinged. This may still be a metal album, but I think there may be more punk influence here than the band lets on.
That said, the songwriting could use more development. The tempo changes and overall ambiance keep listeners engaged, but it can be difficult to tell individual songs apart when they all seem to use similar tricks. The album is arguably meant to stand out more as a whole than the sum of its parts, but its purpose still feels unclear. Fortunately, songs like “Arms of Andromeda” have excellent moments, and the closing title track manages to stand out on its own terms.
Overall, Battersea’s debut album is a solid first step forward that should appeal to post-metal listeners. The band may need to tweak its songwriting method to reach a greater vision, but the balance they’ve already achieve between rawness and ambiance is enough to prove that they’re certainly capable of doing so. Parts Unknown may be a rather chill listen, but Battersea does know how to make things wild.
“Arms of Andromeda”