Following on from the back of their highly approachable debut Where It All Began, post-rock trio Coldbones have returned with a record that some may deem too ambitious for a sophomore release. Released Friday via Dunk! Records, The Cataclysm is a post-rock concept record about the total apocalypse. A highly topical subject given the current times, while many bands within the post-rock spectrum have attempted to tackle this concept over the years it’s often to various degrees of success. However, the Kent trio do this illustrious concept justice with their sophomoric record by visually animating the end of all things in a way that’s simultaneously both visceral and approachable.
Spilt into two distinguishable chapters – ‘The Flooding Of The World’ and ‘The Burning Of The Earth’ respectively – whereas Coldbones don’t dive into the sweeping orchestral work and sprawling musical palates commonly associated with a plethora of other post-rock acts, the band effectively narrate their story via opaque ambience, snaring riffs and irresistible grooves.
Opening track ‘The Flooding Of The World’ and ‘Collapse’ opens The Cataclysm with swelling reverb prior to plunging one into tremendously strong groove that just mirrors the frightening raw power of natures wrath. From here, primordially dense currents of groove and pummelling bass tows the record forth into the all consuming swells of noise and quiet devastation that form ‘Tide’, a track that provides respite and allows one to fully appreciate the muscular groove of The Cataclysm.
Compared to it’s preceding record Where It All Began, it’s imminently evident that The Cataclysm is a major step forward for the band. Every aspect found within their debut has been bolstered and the construct of a concrete narrative has seemingly given the trio the focus required to form their skills into a concise and naturally flowing piece of work. Yet, Coldbones have achieved this jump in quality all without adapting their sound or shoehorning new sounds and stylistics into their relatively simplistic sound.
This is still the sound of pure and raw metallic post-rock with a light dusting of synths and keys but presented in a way that’s devastating and in a fashion that truly sounds like the all consuming end of days. As tremendous annihilating groove and screaming power chords within the great leveller of ‘Cleanse’ lead into the acoustic bridge of ‘Ascend’ prior to witnessing barren destruction with the menacing melodics of ‘The Burning Of The Earth’, this fact is simply indisputable.
In true relation of the narrative of the world being gutted by the violent power of nature prior to letting it erode and disintegrate silently, the later half of the record is where Coldbones showcase their prowess in providing introspective ambience. The scorched rock of ‘Ruin’ overlooks a soundscape barren of the possibility of life and with it’s plucked melancholic strings the follow up of ‘Consume’ harkens the thoughts of both Explosions In The Sky and Pelican. However, what is a surprise is the human emotion that blankets the record. It’s an element that provides contrast to the annihilating musical density and it’s a fundamentality consistent factor that feels akin to the incredible emotional work of bands such as Devil Sold His Soul, The Elijah and fellow post-rockers Maybeshewill.
As the record pulls into the barren soundscape that closer ‘Extinct’ soundtracks, it does ultimately feel like you’ve experienced the end of days and the demise of man in musical form in less than one Earth hour. Like a post rock prophecy, The Cataclysm is a harrowing insight into a future event that feels inevitable and it’s one that invites you to further listeners to know and appreciate more. Truly authentic and tremendously powerful, this is a massive step up for Coldbones and a fantastic record that can be appreciated by both post-rock connoisseurs and newcomers alike.
The Cataclysm is released April 17th via Dunk! Records. You can pre-order the album here.