Across Tundras – Sage

By Gruesome Greg

Just as Earth opts for an organic, cello-backed sound, Across Tundras moves over into the amplified country drone territory that they once occupied. The slow, heavy vibes on this record offset the traditional country-western themes (in the early going, anyways) to make for an interesting combination that’s still esthetically pleasing. That being said, this is not an instrumental band, by any stretch, as vocals feature prominently in almost every selection.

The rollicking rhythms that make up the final minute of “In the Name of River Grand” sound almost like an amplified Morricone soundtrack piece meets “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” Cool, creepy shit. “Hijo del Desierto,” as the title implies, has a bit more of a desert rock feel, a nice, mellow vibe. “The Book of Truth” throws the book at angular, progressive post-rock and driving desert doom, a little like Neurosis, but with a distinctive country twang.

“Tchulu Junction” captures a bit of that creepy vibe of Souls at Zero, but with a smoother, mellow edge to the heavy riffing, an nice, organic sound that goes down easy on this stellar, standout track. They save the best for last with the 12-minute “Mean Season Movin’ On” and the impressive instrumental “Shunka Sapa.”

Man, I’m really digging the sounds on this one. Sometimes, the right music comes around at the right time, and as the last traces of winter give way to spring, Sage suits the season splendidly.

(Neurot)

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.