Mouth of the Architect – Quietly (Translation Loss)

Friday, 15th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

We’re really starting to get hazy with all of this metalgaze stuff. For what Neurosis started and Cult of Luna and Isis picked up on is now being beaten to death by Rosetta, Ghost Brigade, and the band in question, Mouth of the Architect. Come to think of it, this little sub-segment of metal has only a few standout albums, and two of ‘em belong to Isis. And perhaps that’s become the biggest problem with metalgaze – things have officially grown too comfortable.

Quietly, though, is an above average album that blows its load far too early with the title track, perhaps the best metalgaze song since Isis’ “In Fiction.” A far heavier number than “In Fiction,” “Quietly” is capable of moving mountains via sideways melodies and a suffocating back drop of post-metal soundscapes and moods and is made all the heavier courtesy of a BIG production job as well. “Quietly” is so good that it will bait even the most ardent of listeners (ahem, yours truly) into penciling this into a Top-10 list.

Ensuing tracks like the voice sample-led “Hate and Heartache” are of similar quality, with the requisite steady backbeat, minimal guitars and howling vocals courtesy of Jason Watkins. The “Guilt and the Like” drags on for eons it seems, never quite in a rush to make anything out itself, while centerpiece “Generations of Ghosts” emerges as the most demanding number of the bunch, bolstered by female vox (nice touch) and a carefully-crafted, yet terribly Isis-derived stream of guitar work.

Album closer “A Beautiful Corpse” is the full-blown sonic explosion the band was building towards all along. Simple in its delivery, “A Beautiful Corpse” kicks out the relative sparse and minimal nature of “Quietly” and inserts a hypnotic, savory sub-grove that is easy to succumb to.

It would be awfully short-sighted of us to give approval to an album based on one song alone, but Quietly wouldn’t be the crushing slab of metalgaze it is without the title track, let alone “Generations of Ghosts” and “A Beautiful Corpse.” That being said, Quietly emerges as the metalgaze album of the year, toppling Cult of Luna’s surprisingly tuneless Eternal Kingdom. And sure, Mouth of the Architect have a sound that definitely is not exclusive to them, but like we said earlier – this is what metalgaze has come to. So be it.

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