Three years ago, three people from Amstetten landed a complex-metallic bull’s eye: with their self-titled debut they ran Hills Like White Lions open doors with a running start. Post, prog and other tasteful extremes laid the groundwork for pleasantly sophisticated soundscapes. This is now built on: „Meander“ is actually a single, overly long song, divided into seven chapters, and is dedicated to elementary themes such as truth, love and egoism.
The opening “Coral” already shows that the trio hasn’t lost any of its radiance. Carefully, cautiously you feel your way into the track, letting delicate threads run together before monumental post-prog catharsis washes over to new shores. How Hills Like White Lions hold that first emotional climax for minutes without wearing out, white captivates. The Maelstrom that follows makes it even better. Especially the surprising Post-Black-Metal insert in the middle of the album creates almost ecstatic enthusiasm, only to be immediately followed by epic beauty once again taking center stage.
Also “Cataract”, the fifth act, does not want to remain unmentioned and at the same time leaves a lot of freedom for progressive gimmicks. As fast-paced and oppressive as the first few minutes, including the euphoric resolution, may be, subtle instrumental art awaits behind them, skilfully preparing for the next descent. And then there’s “Mondgrau”, which likes to overturn itself, which finds room for emotional barren land, which trembly feels its way forward and all of a sudden moves to tears. In these almost nine minutes, an impressive momentum develops, pervaded by dense layers of melody and moving details.
What was already apparent on the previous album is now becoming an exciting reality: Hills Like White Lions increase again enormously and present a real blueprint for complex, emotional metal sounds. “Meander” is a magical happening that also achieves a real feat. The XXL song works as a total work of art, but the individual acts can also stand alone in a great and meaningful way. Coupled with the excellent play with expectations and feelings, with swelling sound spheres and a rough substructure, something emerges that can rightly be called one of the best albums of the year.
Available from: 02.06.2023
Available from: self-distribution
Slider-Pic (c) Maximilian Teufel
Category: Local Bands, Magazin, Reviews
#Hills #White #Lions #Meander