Dark Songs of the Prairie
Crucial Blast Records 2006
This has been happening a lot lately where I get an album that I wasn't expecting and it turns out to be quite a pleasant surprise and such is the case with Denver's Across Tundras. Across Tundras is like a mix of doom, some country and rock influences as well as a majority of it being nightmarish Post-hardcore a la Mean Season. You can really hear some of the country influences as the work their way into the acoustic opening passages of Old Sexton. My favorite song is Western Wind with its haunting melody that floats out over the majority of the song like an echoing gale across the rolling grasslands of the prairie. Massive plodding walls of crumbling ruin greet my ears with Ode to George Parts 1 & 2. Dark Flower of the Prairie is another song that really stands out with its almost happy main riff that thunders along before collapsing into waves of nostalgia. The production has that bathroom fuzziness one might expect from a stoner band from the 70s which works really well here since it gives a sense of the slow falling of snow threatening to bury everything in a layer of muffled anguish. Everything has an echoing quality here that gives a sense of hearing something from a distance but not be quite sure you heard it right due to all the distortions and muted sounds. It all combines for a disturbing and unsettling listening experience. Across Tundras fills me with a feel of loss and sorrow but that feeling is from my past and not a product of my present living. I am sure this was part of their goal though. I feel this is another one of those releases that will have a lot of crossover appeal both from the post hardcore and doom metal scenes as well as plenty of individuals in between.