A Shelter In The Desert - Maze of MemoriesI love instrumental rock music and, in particular, post-rock … and “Maze of Memories” by A Shelter In The Desert is a prime example of why I hold this style of music in such high regard.

From the off, the music presented on this release is tight, muscular, and on the move … it flows with the sinewy elegance of a championship racehorse … graceful & melodic yet powerful with a wild, almost elemental nature about to be revealed.

A Shelter In The Desert (ASITD) get the emphasis on dynamics that is looked for in their chosen genre. Post-rock is all about the dynamics: soft & hard, quiet & loud, slow & fast; and ASITD exemplify this approach and make it their own with their guitar-orientated sound.

Whilst there are flavours of piano, cello, & field recordings interspersed throughout … this is predominately a guitar-orientated album. An album that really demonstrates the skill of  guitarists – Oscar Rodriguez & Pepe Ricón – whose technique is only tempered by their shared love for melody and a collective need to keep things tight. There isn’t any overwrought solos or noodling for its own sake on this album – everything done is accountable to the melody & that is a big “plus” for me. It also shows how the other band members – Anuar Rodriguez (bass), Erick Fryman (Piano), & Alex Rodriguez (Drums) – work together so effectively.

Highlights for me include the second track – ‘It’s Raining’  – with the field recording of rain … it is a 10 minute melodic roller-coaster of a track, one I found deeply immersive.

Track five – ‘Requiem For A Love’ – with the low key tremolo, piano & downbeat percussion … it is a track that simply and effectively builds over its 9 minute duration into something rather beautiful indeed.

My only criticism of this album is that I was never surprised by it … excited & thrilled but never surprised. I knew (or at least suspected) what was coming round the corner. Whilst I wouldn’t dream of suggesting it was predictable, I do think ASITD could try & think broader … and look to bring more samples into the mix or experiment with a wider range of instruments. But then that’s like telling AC/DC to record a ballad. They do what they do very well and should keep doing so.

I was impressed with this album and would recommend it, giving it 7.5 out of 10.

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