City of the Lost – At The Edge

At the Edge cover art

Artist City of the Lost
Album ‘At The Edge’
Genre Post-metal / Progressive
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Label Independent
Release Jan 7 2013
Rating Solid

City of the Lost are a three (soon to be four ?) piece band from Moscow, Russia who were formed in Late 2010. Since then they’ve put out three releases, including their latest ‘At The Edge’ , released on bandcamp on January 7th. Essentially City of the Lost is yet another solid post-rock/post-metal band that comes to us from Russia, a country that has really taken to the genre and in turn produced a handful of extremely talented and promising bands. The band incorporates a more progressive-rock mindset into their brand of post-metal, opting for sometimes flashy but almost always catchy guitar hooks and uptempo tracks rather than the standard slow, atmospheric build ups we come to expect in the genre.

“A Coming Storm” kicks off the 8-track 38 minute album and couldn’t be any more accurate. The track starts off fast with relatively little build up. The guitar work sounds like what you might expect to find here but combine with 80’s power metal solo’ing tones. The high energy pacing continues into “The Nightingale”, which quickly builds into a multi-layered giant ripe with solid distortion guitars and persistent drumming. There is some elements of crescendo-core to be found here but make no mistake, that’s not what this album is about. City of the Lost are a band that want to earn their stripes based on stellar guitar work that simply blows you away with pure rawness and power, not the finesse of crescendo-core. “Omen, Pt.1 (Temple Keepers)” feels more like a straightforward post-metal track and really takes the album up a notch in intensity. The track starts out really focused but towards the middle sort of takes a more experimental approach through a couple of tempo change before eventually settling back into a strong post-metal groove. “Back to the Future” is a really interesting track that has a total western surfer-rock groove to it. The tones are certainly different from what’s been shown anywhere else on the album.

From that point the album takes a really stark transition to “Rise As One” as the album settles back to its post-metal roots. In so many ways I find particularly this track but mostly just City of the Lost’s sound in general to be something of a cross between the intensity of Toundra and the general unpredictability of Cloudkicker‘s older work. “86 Days of Despair” teases a slow intro before immediately going into reserved yet heavy guitar riffs that would make the late Dimebag Darrel (Pantera) proud. There really is no downtime or breaks on this album, it’s just constantly streaming sick guitar segment after sick guitar segment with no signs of letting off the brakes. Normally I’d say that’s a good thing but I always think the band could have let off the gas pedal a little and offered longer passages one guitar layer. “Basilisk” returns ‘At the Edge’ to the more traditional post-metal realm and also throws some hints of doom metal into the mix.  The album wraps up with “Omen, Pt.2 (The Stargazer)” which for the most part is a relatively relaxed, slower paced track save for a hectic middle segment and a strong finish. It would have really been nice to see the band produced more songs of this nature. It just goes to show the band doesn’t need to rely on overwhelming power to still produce a solid song.

Following getting acquainted with the album I checked out some of the band’s earlier work and their musical progression became crystal clear. Each album tried to upstage the previous and the tracks became less and less linear. ‘At the Edge‘ certainly has the highest audio and production quality of their releases and without question the most energy out of all the band’s work. To me this means that the band is on the right track for success. ‘At The Edge‘ is a solid post-rock release that does everything it can to leave a solid first impression.