Album Review: Pillars – Cavum

Pillars Cavum album cover
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Despite having only one album to their name, Indiana post-rockers PILLARS have already built an impressive reputation for themselves. Of course, being major players behind Post. Festival certainly helps, but they’ve more than earnt their place within the scene based off their music alone.

Put simply this second album, Cavum, is worth your time.

Conceptually, the album explores the dichotomy we find ourselves in, in this current day and age. Technology connects us more than ever, yet also isolates us. Mankind is reaching all manner of pinnacles, yet depression is ever prevalent. Somehow our lives are increasingly intertwined, yet somehow many of us feel more lost than ever. I, for one, find this super relatable, and after having listened to the record a great deal, can see how the music represents both the light and the dark.

Cavum commences with a brooding riff, primal drumming and eerie swells reminiscent of the almighty Jakob. And of course, anyone even remotely familiar with the world of post-rock should know that there is virtually no higher praise than a comparison with Jakob. It builds steadily with nice pacing before the explosive overdriven phase knocks your head in. A groove laden breakdown transitions back into crescendos – and I must say, as someone who reviews a fair deal of post-rock music, I do tire of the same old crescendo cliches. But this isn’t stale, no, no. This, ladies and gentleman, is how to write a damn tasty song. It hooks you in with just enough primal attraction, and then hammers itself into your consciousness.

If that dense riffy goodness wasn’t enough for you, maybe the killer double-bass drumming and urgent guitar line that starts “Dissolution” will tickle your fancy. Heck, it could tickle your eyebrows for all I care, just get a load of the sheer power behind this incredible music. The intensity does ease off after a period, but as Sir Isaac Newton said: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. So according to that, for every quiet passage, we should get some awesome metal passage too. Is that how science works?

I’m a drummer. The drumming on this album rules. Shout outs to Zach Frizzell for being a percussive beast. Zach, I hope to meet you during my travels some day. Maybe I can come to a future Post. Festival and make a drunken scene like I did at dunk!USA. Or you could come to New Zealand and I’ll give you some home-made beard oil and confuse you with my weird accent. It’s probably best if I come meet you though, because then we can also have Taco Bell, which my country does not have (criminal, I know!).

“Black Prayer” is an absolute belter. Think along the lines of when you have a Caspian record spinning and it reaches a part that’s so good you just want to scream and thrash about, knowing that you, a mere mortal, will never be able to craft such perfection. Well goshdarnit, PILLARS just have to rub it in, because they’ve managed to reach such unobtainable heights. There’s a section towards the end of this track, where the bass cuts out, the drum sticks are rapping on the rims, the guitar line is soaring, and then everything comes back in like an angelic tonne of bricks. It somehow crushes my soul and elevates my spirit at the same time. Don’t ask me how. I’m not a priest. (Nor am I a scientist, as you would know if you’d read the paragraph about “Dissolution”). Just know that you may need to change your pants after listening to this track.

Pillars

I’m half tempted to photoshop myself into this photo to see if anyone would notice. I have glasses and a beard, and have been known to frown at times, so I think I could fit right in

Listen closely to album closer, “Coda” and you’ll hear interesting snippets hidden in the background. It’s a touching piano ballad that evokes strong emotions, especially once the light guitar swells kick in. Surprising, considering the quality, but the piano recording was done on an iphone. Marc Ertel sat down at the piano and recorded with his phone while his family made breakfast and got ready for the day. The background noises – you can hear Ertel’s children playing, and his wife washing dishes – give a nice sentimental feel that’s homely and authentic. It’s a great reflective piece to end a superb album.

So yeah, if PILLARS aren’t on your radar yet, then Cavum should see to it that they are. It’s a fine album worthy of your time. It’s a devastating monument to beauty, heaviness, and musical talent.


PILLARS links:

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/pillarstheband

Order physical copies of Cavum:

Joseph James

WILL NOT FADE AWESOMENESS AWARD 2019 – DAVID ZEIDLER

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NMH tent at dunk!fest 18

New Musical Horizons tent at dunk!fest 18. Zeidler and myself in front, with Guillaume Morette (centre) and the guys from Ranges behind.

Last year I invented an award for Adam Page, who deserved some praise for his work. Being an arbitrary award, I didn’t have set selection criteria or anything of the sort, I just think Page is awesome, and contributes a lot to the music scene.

So this year the choice seemed fairly obvious to me. And it is somewhat ironic that this recipient isn’t even a musician, but there’s no denying that he has contributed hugely to his music scene on an international scale.

I first came across David Zeidler through his writing. At the time he wrote for Echoes & Dust. Later on his was a key figure running Arctic Drones (the best post-rock site out there – give those guys some love!). And now he contributes to Heavy Blog Is Heavy.

Funnily enough, is roots aren’t in music, but horror films. He cut his teeth writing for horror zine Fangoria, and organising cult horror film screenings in New England cinemas. Over the years he transitioned to post-rock music, using the skills he’d aquired through his writing and by running events.

Ranges, Cloud Shelter, Zeidler and Joseph Hard Rock Cafe Lyon

Outside the Hard Rock Cafe Lyon. Zeidler and myself in front, with the guys from Ranges and Cloud Shelter behind

Thinking back, our first interactions were when Zeidler asked me if I’d like to contribute to a Explosions In The Sky tribute he was assembling.

Not long after he asked me to suggest some good local bands. He was working with CJ Blessum of A Thousand Arms [and Ranges, and also former WNF writer] to put out Open Language, an international post-rock compilation, and wanted to find acts from all over the globe so that they’d have a wide selection of music to showcase. A Thousand Arms now have six compilations out, which have helped countless music fans discover new bands from around the world.

Not happy to settle with the work he’d done already, Zeidler formed a few Facebook groups to cultivate an online community. One in particular is great initiative and an invaluable resource for all the creative figures in the game, who can reach out to find others for recording, touring, design, reviews, . It is common to see something along the lines of “Hey, my band x is trying to put a tour together in this region around these dates.”, with many others replying to help piece the tour together.

Now it’s one thing to organise and promote a few local shows, or even provide a platform for others to do it themselves, but Zeidler decided to jump in the deep end and organise a music festival with an international line-up.

dunk!USA 2017 poster by Error Design

Inspired by a trip to dunk!fest in Belgium, Zeidler decided that America needed something equivalent. He began working on putting on dunk!USA  in his hometown of Burlington, featuring a stellar line-up from America, as well as a few international acts. He already had a full-time job, plus his work writing for Arctic Drones, but decided that jumping in the deep end and taking the workload of organising a festival of this size with within his capabilities.

dunk!USA wasn’t a total success in a financial sense, but it provided a springboard for launching this year’s post. Festival in Indiana, and paved the way for possible future dunk!USA events. It was well run, felt professional, and brought many bands from the American scene together.

I personally had a great time at the event. I’d been on tour with the band Ranges, working as a roadie/tour blogger, helping with set ups/pack downs and documenting the tour with my writing and photography. The festival was the climax of said tour. I was stoked to finally meet David in person once we’d arrived in Burlington, and we even stayed at his apartment.

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Drunk Joseph during Astronoid at dunk!USA. The back of Zeidler’s head far right. Image taken from Behind The Scenes footage in the forthcoming Ranges DVD The Ascent

The following year Ranges invited me back on tour with them, this time in Europe. But they also invited Zeidler.

I’ll be honest, I felt threatened. I thought I’d already proved myself when touring with Ranges in America. Why did they need another blogger?
Arctic Drones has a far greater reach than I’ll ever have, so I was worried I’d be stuck under Zeidler’s shadow.

I needn’t have worried. Zeidler wasn’t trying to steal my job (can I call it a job? It was unpaid. Internship maybe?). We have different focuses anyway – Zeidler writes about foods he ate on tour, whereas I’m more Gonzo styled and write about the crazy character I meet, or shenanigans I get up to.

We shared some quality time together, eating fine European foods. It was nice to have a friend to spend time with who was free when the band was doing soundcheck. We ate fine cheeses and meat in Paris, and went on a crepe date in Lyon.

Tour van

In the Ranges tour van in Europe. Image: Luxinvictus

These days Zeidler is writing for Heavy Blog Is Heavy, and runs PR company Young Epoch – an arm of A Thousand Arms which focuses on promoting bands and running smaller local events. I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes an appearance at dunk!fest in Belgium again next year, or has a part to play in organising another USA festival in the next year or two.

So there you have it: music promoter, festival and show organiser, publicist, and stalward of the international post-rock community – David Zeidler, recipient of the 2019 Will Not Fade Awesomeness Award.

p.s. Zeidler snores like a bear.

 

Joseph James