Handwrist – He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing

He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing cover art

Artist Handwrist
Album He stretechs out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing
Genre Post-Rock | Post-Metal | Experiemental
Buy/DL Bandcamp
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Label KZ
Release 9 June 2013
Rating:  Solid

(IamHop — Please welcome our newest writer TenaciousListening to Postrockstar. It’s very exciting and encouraging to see longtime readers show interest in contributing to the site!)

As I typed Handwrist into my browser their Bandcamp URL was in my history. I could not remember listening to them before. Surely that is a sign of an instantly forgettable band? I press play and the first track “Northernmost” fades up into shimmering post-rock. My eyes scan down the page and realize that I have heard their previous album, ‘Flesh Tendrils‘; an album that showed so much influence from Tool that they could almost be on the way to being taken to court by the prog metal giants. Luckily that influence is not so pronounced in this release, but their influences are far and wide; sometimes to the detriment of the album.

Genre-crossing can be used to great effect, but often it fuels excuses for unrealized ideas by throwing different musical passages together in a mishmash of compositional faux pars. Handwrist cross the line on occasions, but when they get it right the results are highly effective and drive their tracks to new heights. “Northernmost” grows from a melodic post-rock build up to a psychedelic jam. “Nothing“, a definite highlight of this album, opens with ambient noise and transforms with an addictive two guitar part supported by wailing vocals and then journeys back to ambience and noise. Closing track “River” pairs keys and guitar beautifully and evolves into something straight out of an album by prog rockers Camel.

Then unfortunately you have tracks like “Bones“. With its Alice In Chains flavored grunge and intrusive guitar solos it feels out of place within the context set by the previous tracks. Then “Lull” which ends with a superb shoegaze vibe, loses its overall power because of the parts that precede it;which feel like haphazardly organized ideas that should be in a different track or just left on the cutting room floor. It is too often like this and when you know that Handwrist are extremely capable of delivering well composed tracks that can still deliver on the genre crossing elements, it is all the more disappointing.

Flesh Tendrils” was released only 5 months before this release and since January 2012 Handwrist have released 3 albums and one EP. That is the sign of a hardworking band, but I feel that this number of releases in one and a half years may show in the overall quality. I would ask for a little more compositional restraint as that is the main downfall of this release. Most of the separate sections are well realized,but I argue that some parts are thrown together with little thought for the overall feel of the track.

I feel that Handwrist have something to say and with tracks like “Northernmost” and “Nothing” I know that they know how to say it. With a little more thought I think they could release something truly special, rather than just good. So definitely have a listen to this album and keep your ears to the ground for more from them in the future.