Instrumental metal has always been tough for me to get a handle on. Having come up as a serious devotee of Yngwie Malmsteen and the Shrapnel label, it's kind of hard for me to listen to twenty years down the line. Heath got me into Pelican and Isis and Greg at Academy recommended a couple other selections and before I knew it, I was harvesting instrumental tracks with wild abandon. I got a pretty good Envy fixation going and started working my way through the Temporary Residence roster. I saw a bit of Explosions In The Sky when Wilderness opened up for them at Bowery a couple years ago and thought they were pretty boring, really. Not that they suck by a long shot, but the contrarian in me prefers This Will Destroy You. They are really two sides of the same coin, but any way you slice it, there are some bands that are doing some pretty interesting things with clean amps and delay in 2008.
Cue Daturah. Graveface sent me a copy of the record through Burning Angel. I could (and will) poo-poo the lack of full packaging, but there was (and is) a whole lot of ass-kicking ambient metal in that simple paper card sleeve. There's talk of them coming to the States early next year, but in the meantime, check the review reprinted from Skyscraper #28 without asking permission from Andrew. You'll doubtless want to own my wisdom in tangible form, so pick up an issue online or from your favorite retailer. Subscribe even. Buy the Daturah records, too. Read on, hombres.
Instrumental metal music can be a slippery slope. If you fall on the Shrapnel end of the spectrum, you can get a bunch of guys speed-picking their way through their favorite arpeggios on quadruple neck guitars. If you go Favored Nations, you can end up with a bunch of guys in pirate shirts approximating whale music. Daturah plays the type of instrumental music that our friends in Pelican and Isis purvey, but with a soupcon of This Will Destroy You and Mono to keep it interesting.Daturah hail from Frankfurt, a city widely held as the financial center of Germany. Makes sense, as Daturah are money in the bank. While Reverie runs a little bit under an hour, there are only six songs. That's no real shocker for bands of this ilk, the trick is in filling up the space without overstaying your welcome and becoming the musical equivalent of a run-on sentence. Daturah break things up with samples and other audio tweakery, another concept that is far from new to the genre but used tastefully by our German freunds. They've also gotten a bit of a name for themselves for incorporating video installations, adding a sixth member for live shows. It makes sense, Daturah has a cinematic scope to their tracks that a lot of lesser bands lack. They don't come as hard as Hydrahead fare like Isis. There is nary a double bass drum roll to be had, but the relentlessness push and pull the Daturah rhythm section displays maintains the same quite intensity. Coupled to as many three guitars, you might expect that there is quite a wall of sound when the louder parts kick in. There is, but there is also a Juno vibe to the quieter three guitar parts that work rather nicely on Reverie, each player adding a part to the sonic arabesque and making the song more powerful without resorting to played-out shred wankery or 'notice me' histrionica. There is a dreamlike component to Reverie, and while the record lives up to it's name, it is hardly abstract. Daturah are the kind of thought you want to bemuse you.