Hailing from canal crossed urban labyrinth that is Greater Manchester, whilst the name Pleiades may not incite much of a reaction from many within the national alternative scene, those acknowledgeable of this band will undoubtedly meet a mention of this act with a knowledgable grin. Since releasing their debut EP Symptoms Of A Human Being in 2016, the quintet has been bedazzling the depths of the underground post-metal scene; a select choice for the most seasoned of genre connoisseurs. However, whilst the past year or so has been relatively quiet for the band, the group are now on the cusp of releasing their sophomore release, a prophesied record that’s the product of an age of experimentation.
Released on Friday 31st May via AWAL Records, All At Your Mercy is the group’s follow up to their aforementioned 2016 debut. Admittedly, to label this as a musical journey would be cliched. However, All At Your Mercy is certainly an experience. A swift, calculated tropical maelstrom of innovation and amalgamated contrastive influences, one that radiates pure emotion, creativity and prowess.
Undoubtedly, much like their debut, post metal is the lifeline of this release. However, within this mirage of expressionism are the distinct hues of emo, technical metal, melodic hardcore and blackgaze. In the span of just approximately 20 minutes, Pleiades interweave these sonic textures into a cohesive release, one that’s set to amaze and allure. A daunting manner for even the most experienced bands indeed, but All At Your Mercy transparently showcases the talent and finesse Pleiades harbour.
EP opener ‘Lotus Tree’ serves as the ideal introduction to this record, with it’s forlorn, ominous strings swelling into a disconsolate stampede of noise, with it’s blackgaze-esque wails animating a soundscape occupied by a torrential downpour of shoegaze. At this point, it would be easy to draw comparisons to acts such as Deafheaven and MØL, both in terms of sonic output and aesthetic, but as the record progresses it becomes progressively clearer that Pleiades are carving their own aesthetic and musical texture with this release.
‘Ultra’ and ‘Alpha’ swiftly achieve this task; these tracks are outpourings of unfiltered and impassioned emotion, with tender post-hardcore sensibilities elegantly co-inhabiting with outbursts of larynx tearing howls. However, the ethereal incorporation of post-metal allows these tracks to expand beyond the limits of their chosen genres. Even then, these tracks play host to a number of unprecedented surprises, with 'Alpha' playing host to a bombastic solo that jars that awakens with every listen.
In tangent of their respective hometown, ‘Mesa’ is a musical maze, a vaporous post-rock soundscape that ebbs and flows between ominous transcendence and frank brutality. It’s here the listener can truly appreciate the lyrical and vocal capabilities of frontman Andy Calderbank. In relation to the band’s namesake, there’s tangible depth and mysticism to the lyrical content here. It’s synonymous to the musical art within it’s release; there’s abstract and contemporary beauty to behold, a kind of allure that needs to analysed in a personal sense.
The closer and title track doubles down on such sentiments. It’s the alluring crown jewel of this record, a track that embodies the ornate and celestial sensibilities that hold Pleiades together at an atomic level. A track that explores the catharsis and anxiety that’s synonymous to release and surrender, it’s simultaneously pacifying and dizzying. It's post rock metal opus that brings forth a sense of euphoria and restless apprehension, a jarring and unique feeling.
This is the nature of All At Your Mercy. It’s a beautifully harrowing release, one that warrants a number of consecutive listens to truly appreciate the expansion and depth within. A dynamic wonder of a release, one that shall hopefully pull the band from the depths of obscurity and into the spotlight of the scene, a position in which they truly deserve to occupy. A harrowing experience worth encountering.
All At Your Mercy is released May 31st via AWAL