(2016) RLYR - Delayer
RLYR began by accident. In 2013, Pelican guitarist Trevor Shelley de Brauw and Locrian percussionist Steve Hess, both mainstays within the fertile fringes of Chicago’s rock scene, received an invitation to travel two hours north to Milwaukee and debut as an improvisational duo. Despite their geographic and stylistic proximity, Hess and de Brauw had never played together before, so they practiced, soon discovering the festival’s ask had been a fortuitous one — their approaches clicked, and they wanted to continue. Traces of songs emerged from the informal rehearsals, so they decided to build from an exploratory duo to a power trio, recruiting former Russian Circles bassist and busy band member at large, Colin DeKuiper. Less than three years later, Delayer — the band’s radiant 4-song, 40-minute start — funnels the distortion and power of its members’ pedigrees into post-rock that is positively cheery. At its best, Delayer offers a smile and demands, quite loudly, that you share it.
Each piece of RLYR, pronounced “Relayer,” boasts a high-volume past. Pelican, for instance, is the very emblem of instrumental post-metal, long led by de Brauw’s burly, refined riffs. Russian Circles belong in that same conversation. And since Hess enlisted in Locrian a half-decade ago, that trio has become one of extreme metal’s most fascinating bands, taking the kinds of textural and thematic chances that push them to and against the genre’s often-obdurate edges.
These extremes of heaviness and dynamics remain intact on Delayer. The guitar and bass that slash between Hess’ big-bottom beats throughout “Reconductor” carry the weight of doom metal; a mid-song escalation even delivers an instrumental acknowledgement of the recent thrash revival. “Delayer,” a four-minute span of rhythm-less bedlam, recalls a more primitive take on the sophisticated din of Locrian, in which tendrils of synthesizer and guitar, manipulated drums and mangled vocals spin into complex musical webs. And you could write a stoner metal opus from one small sample of the 23-minute “Descent of the Night Bison,” where DeKuiper and de Brauw fight beneath a tough shell of amplifier crackle. As the song pivots toward climax, Hess flirts with a blast beat.
But that’s just Delayer’s surly surface, the necessary vestiges of musicians who have made their reputations in or at least around metal. By and large, these songs glow from the core, built with an underlying, unabashed sense of optimism. Something about the repetition of “Slipstream Summer,” for instance, suggests the blues; the riff and rhythm constantly wrap around themselves, stuck in a cycle from which they can’t slip free. Late in the song, though, de Brauw punches through a veil of low, murky roar, the high notes of his guitar becoming the sunlight suddenly breaking through storm clouds. And the churning “Reconductor” soundtracks some heroic feat, a victory obtained against all odds. You may find yourself cheering along.
Delayer, or four songs by a rock ’n’ metal power trio, isn’t a monumental achievement, nor does it aim to be. These forty minutes simply feel good, their ecstatic embrace of electricity and pounded drums occasionally conjuring some action movie’s apogee. But the real coup is a more subtle one. This sort of dude-driven post-rock and post-metal is so often the domain of the dour, with moods as low as the tunings. Like Collections of Colonies of Bees’ most masterful moments almost a decade ago, though, Delayer suggests a victory not over abject depression but over relative contentment. It’s more liftoff than life raft, a reflection of good times rather than a reckoning of the bad ones. This is uncommonly optimistic post-rock, then, deliberately using the strength of the style’s sound to summon something more than temporary fury.
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01 - Slipstream Summer.flac
02 - Delayer.flac
03 - Reconductor.flac
04 - Descent of the Night Bison.flac
Source : CD
Format : FLAC
Format/Info : Free Lossless Audio Codec, 16-bit PCM
Bit rate mode : Variable
Bit rate : ~ 760-955 Kbps
Channel(s) : 2 channels
Sampling rate : 44.1 KHz
Bit depth : 16 bits