Oxide Tones is on a roll with their recent releases and “Kombinat” by Sey Hollo is a fine example that demonstrates the continuation of this trend. It is a tour de force that powers it’s way through the post-rock genre … both confirming it as their chosen genre whilst deftly defying it too.
Over the 6 tracks & 45 minute duration Sey Hollo move from hard, crunchy metal to the more ebb & flow orientated ’traditional’ post-rock … with the odd glimpse of the glockenspiel & some delightful vocal samples thrown in for good measure.
The opening track – “Bunker of Bare Life” – is a full-on rock-out … chunky, metallic rifts and driving percussion that underpin some delightful melody. Heavy but in a good way.
As is – “Haraka Haraka Haina Baraka” – which starts out with multiple glockenspiels or similar sound percussive instruments playing an ear-warming melody before more chunky, crunchy guitars take over. What differentiates this track is the break-down 2+ minutes in where the post-rock aesthetic comes to the fore … the guitars get quieter & the percussion provides some rhythmic respite before things hot up again. I love this touch … it shows a real care for the lover of instrumental rock … it is a real highlight … a moment to hold to before things get crunchy again.
The third track – “Terroture” – starts off with a deliciously dark ambient soundscape … all rattling chains and squealing guitars … before the guitars bring the melody and the track slowly begins to build. The sounds presented build and the guitars really bring a real euphoric cacophony of fuzz to the repeated melody. It is a very pleasurable ride … one that demonstrates all that is great about the post-rock genre … especially at the end with the vocal sample.
The next track – “Lusaka Funeral Association” – is the most unique & decidedly unusual track on the album. It features a foot-stamping percussive sound and a fabulously layered guitar-driven melody. This wall-of-sound underpins another vocal sample … this time, from what I can discern, it features a man discussing the goings-on of the Association mentioned in the title of the track.
It is a euphoric builder of a track … one that climbs and grows in the listener’s consciousness … before exploding in a climactic flurry of crunchy guitars & fuzz … to the wondrous applause of stamping feet. This is truly a belter of a track.
The penultimate track – “Crowds at the End of the World” – is a glorious demonstration of all I love about the post-rock genre: layers of guitars, soft/hard … slow/fast … quiet/loud dynamics, frenetic drumming … it is all there and presented in an exemplary way.
The last track – “Jimmy’s” – presents me with a dilemma … it is almost the antithesis of all that has come before it … initially sparse with a piano motif & a vocal sample … a melody begins to be played on a piano, accompanied by an acoustic guitar. The track builds in intensity … with some seriously good piano-playing to be heard … before it dissolves into static and just kind of fades away.
My dilemma is this – I want to hear more music from Sey Hollo that is like the last track. Don’t get me wrong, “Kombinat” by Sey Hollo is a really good post-rock-with-a-metallic-flavouring album … but, as demonstrated in “Jimmy’s”, there is so much more to Sey Hollo than crunchy guitars and instrumental rock soundscapes. I like variety when I can get it and this track showed that it is possible.
Laying aside my dilemma, I think “Kombinat” by Sey Hollo is a good release from a talented band on an exemplary label … and I would love to hear more from them.