Windmills By The Ocean – II
Record Label: Robotic Empire Records
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Windmills By The Ocean, a befitting name for a post-rock band intent on creating expansive soundscapes, is the fruit of ISIS and Red Sparowes guitarist Bryant Clifford Meyer as well as contributions from musicians that honed their craft in Blacktail, 27 and Cave In. II is Windmills By The Ocean’s second release since their formation in 2003 and is an EP that is more diverse and well-rounded than its self-titled predecessor. It trades in unrestrained guitar drone for an evident helping of acoustic and electronic influences. Impressively, II combines this variety of influences into a coherent release that avoids sounding inconsistent and sporadic.
“Pagan Sun” begins with some distortion and incongruous drumming before eventually yielding to a pulsating guitar rhythm adorned by reverb-laden and mostly unintelligible vocals. As the song evolves, the presence of a synth-induced hiss, akin to the sound air rushing through a wind tunnel, permeates the discord and lends a feeling of celestial buoyancy to the song. But whereas “Pagan Sun” sounds like a song right out of Jesu’s back catalog, “Azure” displays the band’s diversity of influences and artistic ingenuity by implementing unorthodox elements into the post rock landscape. The song opens with a beautiful interlude that features an angelic yet indecipherable voice before surfacing into a mixture of bursting guitars and whimsical electronic pulses.
“The Circul” is a subdued acoustic arrangement that casts a mood similar to Pelican’s “-“ off The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw, while “Star” combines a hypnotic guitar melody with an electronic glitchiness reminiscent of Saxon Shore. “Occul” rounds out the EP and is the most characteristic of Meyer’s roots with its ten minute run time and continuously foreboding drone, however the song’s conclusion is encapsulated by a smattering of murmured voices and a lush ambience that transcend to the realms of new age and shoegaze.
While II doesn't necessarily reinvent the wheel, it is an impressive showing from a collection of artists with an extremely diverse background in the post-rock and metal scene. The ominous sludge metal so frequently associated with bands like ISIS makes brief appearances across II but is generously supplemented with ambient, electronic and acoustic influences that enhance the listening experience and separate this release from the throngs of generic albums that pervade the genre.