PELICAN
Sludge/Post-metal • United States

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Rising from the ashes of the band Tusk, the instrumental post-metal outfit Pelican formed in Chicago, 2001, by guitarists Trevor de Brauw and Laurent Lebec with sibling rhythm section Larry Herweg and Bryan Herweg (drums and bass, respectively).

Owing a great debt to pioneering forefathers Neurosis, and often compared to Boston's Isis, and Sweden's Cult of Luna, Pelican were initially signed to Hydra Head Records (whose head, Aaron Turner, is a member of Isis).

After making their debut with an eponymous self-titled four-song EP "Pelican" in 2003, Pelican expanded their sound with 2004's critically acclaimed "Australasia". In 2005 Pelican released the "March Into the Sea" EP (featuring the original 20 minutes version), followed by, arguably, their most accomplished record to date, "The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw". "City Of Echoes" was released June 5th, 2007.

In 2009 the band signed with Southern Lord Records in preparation for
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Iceland's Prog-Pop Pioneers: AnthologyIceland's Prog-Pop Pioneers: Anthology
Import
Imports 2014
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Southern Lord 2013
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Southern Lord 2009
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Hydrahead Records 2007
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Hydrahead Records 2003
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PELICAN Discography

PELICAN albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.72 | 7 ratings
Australasia
Sludge/Post-metal 2003
.. Album Cover 3.78 | 16 ratings
The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw
Sludge/Post-metal 2005
.. Album Cover 3.94 | 12 ratings
City Of Echoes
Sludge/Post-metal 2007
.. Album Cover 3.66 | 9 ratings
What We All Come to Need
Sludge/Post-metal 2009
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Forever Becoming
Sludge/Post-metal 2013

PELICAN EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 3.54 | 3 ratings
Pelican
Sludge/Post-metal 2001
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
The Champions Of Sound 2003
Sludge/Post-metal 2003
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Pelican / Playing Enemy
Sludge/Post-metal 2005
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Pelican / Mono
Sludge/Post-metal 2005
.. Album Cover 3.77 | 5 ratings
March Into The Sea
Sludge/Post-metal 2005
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Pink Mammoth
Sludge/Post-metal 2007
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Pelican / These Arms Are Snakes
Sludge/Post-metal 2008
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Champions Of Sound 2008
Sludge/Post-metal 2008
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Split Series Part 3
Sludge/Post-metal 2009
.. Album Cover 4.05 | 2 ratings
Ephemeral
Sludge/Post-metal 2009
.. Album Cover 3.05 | 3 ratings
Ataraxia / Taraxis
Sludge/Post-metal 2012

PELICAN live albums

PELICAN demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

PELICAN boxset & compilations

PELICAN singles (0)

PELICAN movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Chicago 06/11/03
Sludge/Post-metal 2005
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
After The Ceiling Cracked
Sludge/Post-metal 2007

PELICAN Reviews

PELICAN Forever Becoming

Album · 2013 · Sludge/Post-metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
The Angry Scotsman
After a four year gap, with a small, solid yet unspectacular EP thrown in there, Pelican is finally back...sans original member Laurent Schroeder-Lebec. The split seems to have been amiable, with new guitarist Dallas Thomas being described by the band as "meticulous" compared to their more "freewheeling" style, resulting in a good balance.

So what does this all mean for the album? Right off the bat, it's a darker feel than usual Pelican, which took some getting used to as I always appreciated their more upbeat, even warm feeling.

It is a very solid output, which underwhelmed me a bit at first, but grew after a few listens. It lacks Pelican's old style of lengthy, meandering epics but also lacks their newer style of more concise, powerful songwriting. This isn't entirely new, I found the balance of progression and power just right on "City of Echoes" and fell a bit off with "What We All Come to Need". This is not to say it's a bad album, not at all, just not the strongest effort put out by the band.

It still has all the Pelican staples, such as great riffing and melodies, guitar interplay and at times displays greater energy than I've ever heard from them. Especially in the drumming of Larry Herweg. Usually known for his metronome style, he displays his greatest diversity yet, and really hammers away with some major power.

At times it feels a bit lost, but after a few listens it all works together. The balance mentioned by the band really comes into play as passages vary from super drifty to tightly composed.

"Deny the Absolute" starts the album off in grand fasion, filled with energy out of the gate and is perfectly composed, moving steadily from start to finish, never hanging around to long but not moving forward to quickly. Packed with great riffs, melodies, guitar interplay and power. In my opinion the best song off the album.

Other standouts include "Immutable Dusk" with it's lighter section, "Threnody" another superbly written song that does it all, "Vestiges" has one of the best passages in the whole album, and “Perpetual Dawn” moves between loud and powerful, and soft and moving.

Overall, a very good album that does nothing wrong, punctuated with some standouts. While it may not “wow” especially at first, this is a fine album that any fan of Pelican should enjoy, as well as those into post rock/metal. Here's to more great music with the new lineup.

Four Stars

PELICAN Ataraxia / Taraxis

EP · 2012 · Sludge/Post-metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
The Angry Scotsman
This is a difficult rating for me, because while the music is perfectly fine, it's not much of a departure for Pelican and it's a short EP. Clocking in at just under 18 minutes, this is a short but fine EP.

Musically there's not much to say if you're familiar Pelican. Their classic riffy and warm sound hasn't changed. Still heavy and atmospheric. Only thing that really stands out is how short the songs are. On their last 2 albums Pelican has gone for shorter songs opposed to their earlier epic ramblers, but these are even shorter...the longest just cracking 5 minutes. I did see one review comment they detected a bit of a stoner rock sound at times, and I'd say I notice it as well but it's just for a brief time.

"Ataraxia" is a very mellow, droning song. Minimalist and airy, very chill.

"Lathe Biosas" throws you right into it, almost sounds like mid riff, and is a classic Pelican song. Heavy, but not suffocating, valleys then peaks.

"Parasite Colony" is another straightforward Pelican song, though maybe a bit less riffy and more drifty. Both are cool songs.

"Taraxis" concludes the EP with acoustic guitar and light drumming, while electric guitar noises flutter around the background. It goes out with a bang though, with the heaviest stuff heard on the album.

So I'm not really sure what to make of this one. Is this just a snack to tide us over for a bit? Is it a sample of something we should expect to see in the future? (Shorter, lighter songs). Only time will tell, but as for "Ataraxia/Taraxis" there's really not much new here. Which is fine, a standard Pelican release is always a good thing! Any fan of Pelican, or lighter/progressive metal should enjoy. Note: a light snack always leaves you hungry, and with the break up of Isis...us post metal fans are still left starved. Hopefully the upcoming Cult of Luna album will finally fill the void.

A good, though unspectacular, and short EP...worth some listens but not essential.

THREE STARS

PELICAN The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw

Album · 2005 · Sludge/Post-metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Pelican's brand of post-metal reminds me a lot of Mogwai - there's the same mixture of sparse sterility and threadbare raggedness, like an abandoned hospital. With The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw, they've greated an album just as haunting and fragile as Mogwai's excellent Ten Rapid, with just enough metallic roar to it to keep it on the metal side of the post-rock/post-metal divide (which as the 2000s went on got thinner and thinner). It got a lot of comparisons to Isis's Panopticon when it came out, and I don't think it's quite as good as that album, but it comes pretty close to it.

PELICAN What We All Come to Need

Album · 2009 · Sludge/Post-metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
The Angry Scotsman
This album is a bit of a departure for Pelican, which is why I think (despite critical reviews) fans of the band don’t seem to care for this album, at least not as much as their other work. At first I was on board with that though I couldn’t put my finger on why. With time though “What We All Came to Need” grew on me, and while it may not be the strongest album the band has put out, it is still very good.

Before this album, Pelican switched from one slower, progressive metal focused label (Hydra Head) to another (Southern Lord) and while both specialize in the same general types of band, Pelican changed things up with this release. The emphasis on riffing, (one of their defining features amongst post metal bands) is subdued, as is the heaviness. Now, it is still undeniably heavy, but less “sludgey” less bottom heavy and outright pulverizing. So at first listen this album can be a bit underwhelming.

Though it’s just a different style, instead of riffing and pummeling this album is about texture, and atmosphere. I should say they are more the focus, as these qualities were always essential to Pelican. So it takes some getting used to certainly, but it has what you want from Pelican: guitar driven, upbeat post metal complete with amazing melodies, perfect guitar interplay, some awesome riffs, and while not as up tempo as “City of Echoes” still generally more so than most post metal. Progressive song writing still abounds, though it’s not as epic as previous work, and feels less structured overall and more drifty. There is also increased use of melodic passages on this album. This is a more cerebral and reflective Pelican.

Some notable songs are “The Creeper” which is the slowest, heaviest, most brutal song on the album, “Specks of Light” the riffiest, most up tempo song (and with some killer parts) and the finale, “Finale Breath” which features vocals! A first for Pelican. Instead of the harsh shouts or emotional singing customary to post metal, they opt for shoegazing like dream like vocals, fitting for the nowhere drifting nature of the song. The vocals are courtesy of Allen Epley (who I’ve not heard of personally) and some other guest musicians make an appearance, including Greg Anderson of Sunn O))) fame, and Aaron Turner of Isis.

A little less traditional Pelican and more traditional post rock/metal this is not the band’s best album, but it’s still a damn good one. With some time and listens it should strike you as a solid and well executed, if unspectacular, post metal album.

Three and a Half Stars

PELICAN City Of Echoes

Album · 2007 · Sludge/Post-metal
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The Angry Scotsman
It generally seems to be that this album is not too well liked by Pelican fans, or that "It's OK but just not that great". Well to each their own but I love "City of Echoes" and it is actually my favorite Pelican album so far.

It has every staple of Pelican's sound: very heavy, dense and intricate guitar work, progressive song writing with awesome riffs and melodies. In fact it was the band's higher emphasis on riffing that always made them stand out to me from most other post metal bands. As well as their less reflective, (even brooding) more upbeat nature.

While all that is still present, "City of Echoes" is more streamlined than past work. The longest song is 7 minutes, with four of the eight clocking in the 5 minute range. While some die hards may automatically dislike this, I always love to see a band and change it up and see nothing wrong with more to the point, (dare I say....accessible) songs.

Don't worry, this is no pop album, the songs still move...but instead of drifting to the end of the river, it flows with more force. Maybe the climaxes and finales are not as mind blowing, but the songs may be more powerful, more energetic. Basically, it's all the good of Pelican but a little easier, a little more rockin. I'm OK with that.

This is all backed up by the drumming, which is a bit more up tempo and diverse than before. It gives a different touch to the music, some feeling, (always nice to sound human and not like a machine right?) and intensity. There's even some pretty quick double bass at times! It's still pretty straightforward, but better and as the band themselves have said, they are not trying to be Don Caballero here.

Of course the album is still guitar driven, and the riffs and melodies are the best yet. As always the dual guitar work is just awesome. Working in unison, as lead/rhythm, or diving in and out of each other. It's so well done. De Brauw and Schroeder-Lebec are guitar wizards.

There's also an increased emphasis on bass, taking a prominent role as another instrument instead of just bottom filler. I think it always gives the music a more textured sound.

The songwriting is great, perfect flow and progression. It's not always heavy either, dipping in the clean pool a good bit. Most importantly: great variation. Not just in song, but every song has a bit of a different feel to it. It's difficult to pick standout songs since they are all great, but the acoustic "Winds with Hands" is a good change of pace and "Lost in the Headlights" is my favorite. The most energetic on the album it also best does a little of everything said in the review above.

Amazing album, maybe some Pelican or post-metal fans will not care for it's less epic nature, but cmon a little different won't kill ya! An awesome listen, and should be enjoyable for any fan of progressive metal. It's even gotten enjoyment from non metal heads! If you can take some heavy guitar, I recommend "City of Echoes" regardless of what you like. It's also instrumental so don't worry about unpleasant vocals.

Masterpiece

Five Stars

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