The Illinois group Staghorn drop their gripping new album Corvus IV on March 20 — get an exclusive first listen below!
The richly dynamic piece continues a storyline of dealing with ecological disaster that began on past releases from the band. In a spoken-word portion opening their latest album, the speaker — relaying the apparent perspective of Mother Earth — insists that a group of characters in the story must “atone” for their “sins against the earth.” The music then picks up with methodical, ethereal drumming and steady, massive-toned guitar strums following just about right along with the drums, which together — and along with the outdoorsy sonic atmosphere in the background — feel like a march through the vibrantly ominous environment suggested by that opening exposition.
It’s a sludgy, beastly form of post-rock. The hugeness of the methodical sound feels a bit like the music itself has come to life with the face of a dejected but determined “Mother Earth.” Eventually, the music memorably crashes more loudly, but the demanding, strong persistence keeps up.
The musically expressed beast isn’t necessarily all about morbidity, although the persistence infused into the sound’s magnanimity ensures that shadow is never far behind. Track two, called “Lux,” proves a bit softer than the opener, as both the guitar/bass and drum rhythms get a bit more breathable — excluding the breakneck-paced, black metal-reminiscent blast beats and overall intensification that close out the song.
On the magnificently haunting track “Rahula,” Drew Speziale of Circle Takes The Square guests with some fierce vocals, and the same lines repeat for almost the entire duration: “I am the torchbearer; I am the devourer of light.” After a brief opening portion with singing in a dementedly dynamic whisper, the vocals and the rest of the instrumentation burst out into an atmospheric swagger-infused, regally dramatic procession of repeated huge blasts. The eventual roars and the song as a whole are chilling. This music feels, quite simply, incredibly real — it’s an emotionally sincere presentation of the terrors of what we ourselves have done to the earth in the name of… what?
The album’s lengthy concluding track includes substantive portions of melodically swaying, poignantly direct strumming and percussion. With the magnanimity firmly established, Staghorn don’t sound like they need to crush to communicate the emotional scope. The contemplation is enough.
Check out Corvus IV below! Nab pre-orders at this link.