While post-metal may or may not be at the nadir of scene ascendance, 2015 was undeniably a banner year for left-field, hipster-friendly heavy(ish) outfits. Quality releases from artists like SANNHET, BOSSE DE NAGE and PYRAMIDS muscled their way to the top of many a critic’s best list. One of the year’s especially avant-garde offerings came from Poland’s glacial one man drone/doom project ECHOES OF YUL, aka Michal Sliwa, whose subtle, cinematic slow-motion sounds breathe maximum glitch-tweaked melodrama into his minimalist 3rd full-length, The Healing (Zoharum / Tar Trail).
Mostly eschewing Tether’s moments of dynamic bombast in favour of Bjork-like mercurial atmospherics, EOY employs gradually unfurling ambience to weave an overwhelming aura of darkness into a sonic tapestry. Like Hitchcock keeping gore largely offscreen, The Healing maximizes suspense by leaving viscera to the imagination. Indeed, a grim, noirish film soundtrack vibe dominates the evocative proceedings throughout while skillfully avoiding by now rote shoegazer motifs.
With emphasis undeniably on the ‘post’ rather than the ‘metal,’ ECHOES OF YUL proves that ‘heavy’ is more an aesthetic than riff-based endeavour. Despite a decided lack of explicit genre adornment and cheap headbanging thrills, open-minded fans will still find much to enjoy on The Healing.