II by TwoismRelease date: January 22, 2021
It’s a new year and my first review happens to be an album that was released digitally last year. The physical release (yes people still do this!) of II, the second album from German artist Twoism, is why we’re including it in the 2021 schedule. I don’t know much about Twoism, I suspect this is a deliberate attempt to add some mystery and intrigue, or possibly A.K just likes to keep things low-key. Recorded between Heligoland and Eifel National Park, the album was inspired by the changeable weather conditions on Germany’s only offshore island, which is also the cover artwork.
It seems A.K is a very capable musician with piano, organ, vocals, choirs, humming, laughter, guitars, synthesizers, vocoders, ukulele, melodica, harp and electronic drums all listed as instrumentation. Oh, and field recordings too. Introductory track ‘Lun’ is brief and comes across like a mix of Sigur Ros, Led Zeppelin and Blanck Mass. It’s a nice build up to the electro throbbing pulses at the start of ‘Honorem’. Listen closely and ghostly vocals intertwine with wheezy whispers and cool atmospherics. Kind of like a friendlier Nine Inch Nails in cinematic mode. A robotic vocodered melody oozes into the mix and the track threatens to erupt into something more vitriolic. The post metal elements alluded to in the PR took their time in arriving but it’s pleasing to hear some added dynamic of drums (you wouldn’t know they are programmed), the obligatory crashing cymbals and layered heavy guitars. The melodies flow like infant rivers down a mountain.
A heady dose of Sigur Ros permeates through ‘Elaphos’ as wordless vocals and ambient keyboards intertwine over some sparse percussion. These tones bring on the sadness and when the gorgeous guitar soars high you are swept away to a place of overbearing melancholy. ‘Nument’ breezes by on some electronic triphop beats and sweeping keyboard strings. Then it bursts into a post metallic melee that rubs up the wrong way against the poppy beats before eschewing them in favour of a more authentic drum sound. Field sounds, windswept synths and strangulated voices make up the eerie cinematic soundscape that is ‘Nathurn’.
Closer ‘Sayn’ is the album’s big post metal number that just jumps straight into the booming drums and heavy guitars. Think Explosions in the Sky back when they stuck rigidly to the post rock formula of loud crescendos and melodic clean guitars. Closing the album with a track like this works superbly though as most of the tracks have been claustrophobic and tense. There’s a joyous feel to the melodies and the track provides a satisfying closure to a curious collection of ideas and genre hopping that never feels forced or contrived.
II is a delightful little collection of sounds and has just the right balance of lighter tones and heavy post metal rocking. You can tell the tracks have been created with attention to detail and a passion for creativity. Certainly worth your attention if you like music that isn’t afraid to encompass many musical genres and you have an ear for the more melodic/atmospheric side of post metal.