Why does post-metal sound so ahead of its time in the twenty-first century even though you can trace the origins back to 1992’s Souls at Zero by Neurosis? Is it the avant-garde minimalism, the determination to avoid pentatonic scales, the post-hardcore take on doom metal? Czech emotionalists, Indrid Cold, are no exception with their crushing noise bursts and head-swaying riffs, yet the prison they create is an existential one rather than a physical incarceration. No wonder some people call this ‘the thinking man’s metal.’
It goes without saying that Neurosis, Inter Arma and Cult of Luna are an influence here, but Indrid Cold have as much in common with My Dying Bride. Opener, ‘Propojeni’, sets the mood with atmospheric bass synths and low-volume Gregorian harmonies gnawing away at your conscience as if waking up from an alcohol-induced blackout. The ritualistic tom drums and harmonised guitar lines only add to the tension and help to create the cathartic release when the bruising screams of Jan Špingl spew forth. This is sophisticated and savage at the same time and perfect as a segue to standout track, ‘Èíše života’, where the band continue with the tom drum patterns. Here the guitars work off each other like talking devices, with one playing the esoteric arpeggios and the other adding the distorted riffs. But nothing will prepare you for the sudden swirl of synths towards the end that sound like they could be lifted from a Lucio Fulci horror film of the 1970s.
The album title, Monument Prázdnoty, translates into English as “Monument of Emptiness”, and this record is not without its moments of finger-on-chin contemplation. You might even find yourself pulling philosophical poses in the mirror when digesting the gothic textures of ‘Zemì k tobì mluví’ or the darkwave metal of ‘Útes’. The former works a throbbing bass guitar into the mix amid the distorted chord-picking, while the latter evolves from a cinematic mood piece into a furious bout of metal chugging at the four-minute mark. They even explore a black metal tangent on the curious instrumental song, ‘Animus’, which mixes progressive guitar passages with Candlemass doom towards the end.
Though the lyrics are in the Czech language, the message seems to say abandon the mundane economic routines and habits of daily existence and let the futility of emptiness bring light into your life. Hey, it’s a post-metal album, which means abstract reasoning is the norm. The introspective Perturbator vibe on ‘Jinosvìt’ will only enhance your capacity for metaphysical thought. And how can you avoid reflections on the purpose of life when absorbing the maudlin metal and colourful melodies of ‘Katharse’?
It’s true this record has a transcendental quality that few bands achieve on their debut release. Indrid Cold show they have the imagination and ease of expression to continue into the future with confidence. Post-metal and doom metal should be ready to welcome a new ascendant force.
Release Date: 01/06/2021
Record Label: Sliptrick Records
Standout tracks: Èíše života, Animus, Jinosvìt
Suggested Further Listening: My Dying Bride – The Ghost of Orion (2020), Neurosis – Enemy of the Sun (1993), Adliga – Kali Pacіače Nіeba (2020)