ALBUM REVIEW: Myriad – Oh Hiroshima
Post rock? Post-metal? Post-hardcore? It seems that the general appetite for anything “post,” with the understandable exception of post-manpat, is at an impressive high. Frankly, who could blame the masses at large when the caliber of such music constantly flies through the upper echelons of our exciting little world of relentless creativity. In 2022 alone, bands like CULT OF LUNA, TUNDRA, ROLO TOMASSI and NORDIC GIANTS each showed their best hands for a flawless first leg of the year. Yet, there is more to come. More polarized beauty, more stunning soundscapes to unfold – more truly captivating music. Our couriers of the “post” of today are more and more faithful OH HIROSHIMA – their highly anticipated fourth album Myriad is another promising package. As you would expect, they deliver.
For those who are not yet immersed in the group’s universe, OH HIROSHIMA is a Swedish cinematic post-rock collective that spent most of the 2010s climbing the genre ladder with a rich arsenal of impressive grandeur and an erratic swing between joy and despondency. It’s a formula that has seen them grow exponentially, both in numbers and acclaim, even plucking the right strings to prick the ears of industry titans. Napalm discs who supported their last LP (2019 Oscillations) with great success. OH HIROSHIMA always operated as a trio, but the first months of 2021 saw the departure of the bassist Simon Forsberg, exit Jakob Hemstrom and Oskar Nilsson fly the flag between them. Well-founded concerns have arisen over the group’s effectiveness for a fourth home run on Myriad with all eyes on the new duo.
While Forsberg was undoubtedly an important cog in the band’s proceedings, their integrity and smooth songwriting remain as organic as ever in his absence. In fact, fervently pushing for freedom from self-doubt, the band indeed produced their finest work to date. A little like OH HIROSHIMAit’s established catalog, Myriad is better seen as a bigger whole. Each of its seven tracks is wonderfully crafted with a distinct uphill and downhill pattern that ties the track list together into a single, near-seamless experience. These are, of course, instilled with their characteristic proclivity for cutscenes. Colossal bass drum rumbles and riffs that walk a tightrope between a soothing embrace and a merciless kick to the temple – in any case, the whole project feels on a gargantuan scale and constantly puppeteers with the emotions of the listener.
Myriadit’s the genius, however, is the way the record draws attention to its own evolution through the track listing through elements of tone and production. The first moments of nour are a distorted, thick mist with an angry swarm of guitar that clouds Myriadit’s first impressions in confused anger. As each track unfolds and passes, the band introduces eye-opening examples of clarity, gradually adding orchestral elements that not only build on an already impressive scale, but help this progression of lucidity dissipate. the red mist and usher in solemn regret and melancholy. It is a smart additive on OH HIROSHIMAit’s proven formula that gets things done without losing the original spark that has since captured so much attention.
If complaints have to be made, they are rare. The greatest madness, which is to exaggerate the truth, is Hemströmit’s voice. It delivers a great performance, as does the rest of the LP’s instrumental set, but there are instances – especially in the early cuts like nour and Veil of Certainty – where the voices are buried under the noise; there is always this little desire to Hemström really let go and give those chills a hard time. Additionally, while the record presents an overall linear progression from a bird’s-eye view, individual tracks can sometimes be seen as lacking direction when they miss the big picture; nothing, however, that repeated listening will resolve, which the album practically demands regardless.
OH HIROSHIMA overcame the loss of an all-wheel-drive and took it in their stride with a post-rock tour de force that swells the band’s lap-heavy sleeve to the potential that was always within their reach. Myriadit’s the constant flirtation with extremities is inspiring, so meticulously crafted that its arbitrary nature feels almost natural and the album’s cleverly pieced together production is yet another arrow to the quiver. 2022 already looked like a year of great triumphs, OH HIROSHIMA arrive ready to hit the home run.
Myriad is set for release on March 4 via Napalm Records.
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