Saint Petersburg, Russia’s Show Me A Dinosaur sound stunningly majestic on their new album Plantgazer. The music is poignant and richly dramatic, and the experience sometimes feels a bit breathtaking.
In a blurb alongside the album on Bandcamp, the band tie their title to the experience of “gazing at house plants day in day out and trying to figure out answers to the many questions this new world has given rise to.” They perform emotionally ferocious blackgaze, with guiding melodies that carry immense levels of poignant power and feel refreshingly accessible. Within the world of the group’s expansive performances, there’s a boldly pensive and piercingly self-contemplative feeling as the melodies flow through the record with a shimmering intensity.
Besides the more blistering segments that Show Me A Dinosaur present across Plantgazer at moments like “Unsaid I” and the rather pummeling “Hum,” the group occasionally dips into a kind of poignantly heavy post-rock, and these softer segments amplify the emotionally accessible feeling of a stream of tumultuous but emotionally illuminating self-contemplation. “Marsh” opens with mid-tempo post-rock melodies that billow like a slowly lung-filling fog before gradually growing into a ferocious storm, and both “Red River” and “Selva” feature a similar feeling, among other flourishes. The crescendo around the mid-point of “Red River” is — wow.
Within the immersive, expansive soundscapes of Plantgazer, there’s a space to explore feelings like longing and loss with an eye towards the broader emotional horizon. The music feels rich and personal.
The entire sonic edge of Plantgazer feels somewhat softened, and the listening experience definitely isn’t particularly icy. Rather than overly harsh, unforgiving tones, Show Me A Dinosaur perform with more of a lush, shoegazey texture, drawing from this vibrant palette for their musical portrait of a kind of simmering emotional malaise. Most of the vocals emerge in the form of a classic black metal screech and feel significantly harsher than the instrumentation. The music seems to reflect moments of a kind of creeping sadness, underpinned by uncertainty about the feeling’s origin and a struggle to see a solid path forward. This uncertain unease definitely feels applicable to the world in which Plantgazer has emerged. An ache can hide behind the brightest beauty, and peace can lurk amidst ache. The album seems to explore this complicated emotional space with remarkable urgency.
Sonically speaking, to take a cue from the album title, Plantgazer definitely feels rather organic, with remarkably smooth transitions between the extremes of the band’s sound. No matter the occasional ache in the sound, the music pretty much always moves forward, and the journey feels rejuvenating, like running into the wind.
Listen to Plantgazer below!