For a genre predicated on tense buildups and cathartic crescendos, a lot of post-metal ends up leaving me feeling cold. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a fan of bands like Isis, Cult of Luna, and Mouth of the Architect (and Neurosis, but putting them in the post-metal category seems reductive to me). However, there’s something about an atmospheric, emotional style of music sounding so sterile that’s always induced a bit of cognitive dissonance in me. I know the source of my issue, though – it’s the guitar tones. No warmth in the tones = very difficult to create any kind of warmth in the music.
However, there are exceptions to any rule, and Australian multi-instrumentalist Adam Kluga’s Project:Heavensent is definitely one of those exceptions. While he works with many of the same textures one would expect from a musician working within a post- genre, the emotional center of his music is far more palpable than that of many of his contemporaries. While I can’t quite put my finger on why that might be, I have a feeling that much of it stems from the concept behind the music. Kluga explains it much better than I can, so I’ll defer to him here:
As for the music, Kluga proves himself quite adept at adding more ‘human’ sounding (for lack of a better term) elements into the mix. While the drums in particular have a very dry, mechanical feel to them that fits well with the album’s sci-fi themes, there are other elements, like the repeating clean guitar figures on opening track “A Need For Departure” and the warm synths on “Forever Lost Behind Door #4,” that provide a very welcome contrast in both texture and sound. Kluga’s vocals, while not quite in the ‘clean’ category, aren’t the sort of harsh or bellowed style that one might expect from the genre, either. Instead, it sounds like he utilizes a handful of subtle effects depending on the song, but none that keep the lyrics from being intelligible – something that’s fairly important, considering this is a concept album.
When asked for a few words about the album, Kluga described it as “heavy, yet atmospheric music about a science fiction narrative which also abstractly depicts my views and experiences.” He also added:
The self-titled debut record is set in a future where humanity has been forced to leave planet Earth in the hope of a continued existence elsewhere. While doing so, it is also a very personal exploration of love, altruism, depression and the way we value ourselves under the weight of so much external societal pressure.
The record is a prequel of sorts, exploring the established universe in broad strokes with the hope of establishing a foundation for more detailed storytelling in the future.
The record draws from influences ranging from the post-metal of Cult of Luna and Russian Circles, the Aussie progressive giants of Karnivool and Cog, and the atmosphere of post-rock such as Jakob, La Dispute and Sigur Ros.
Project:Heavensent will be available on November 10. Preorder it digitally from their Bandcamp page, and you’ll also receive the exclusive bonus track “Recovered Tapes.”