Pelican – What We All Come To Need (Southern Lord Records)

Sunday, 17th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

Really, there is no way for Pelican to top 2005’s The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw. Its follow-up, 2007’s City of Echoes has been resolute, even if it doesn’t contain the striking brilliance of its predecessor. And this is a good thing for Pelican; they continue to branch out, this time with What We All Come To Need which as early reports indicated, is very riff-oriented, which may or may not soften the unfounded blows from City of Echoes.

From the onset, there appears to be more of an onus on being straightforward, a play that works in the band’s favor on opening number “Glimmer.” Sonically, this jam and ensuing numbers are very much stripped-down; the riffs don’t rip and roar ala 2005, but that’s not a bad thing. Instead, there’s a steady ebb and flow to “The Creeper” and “An Inch Above Sand,” two numbers devoid of primal metal riffage, yet have the dynamics that once again, prove the band does not need vocals.

And as soon as we say that, closing number “Final Breath” contains vocals courtesy of Ben Verellen of Harkonen, a first for the band. Verellen’s vox are more of a chant than anything and lo and behold: it adds an extra dimension to Pelican’s sound. Still, we’re not expecting this be a trend, for when you have memorable, classic Pelican numbers like a “Specks of Light,” there’s just no need.

Hardly a comeback album, just an extension of all things post-metal, sans vocals, What We All Come To Need doesn’t need to breathe new life into the Pelican corpse. Rather, it aligns itself with the out-of-the-box sojourns of City of Echoes into a hypnotic, gimmick-less platter that desperately tries to not be metal while being dangerously metal all at once.

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