Milanku- Pris A La Gorge

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Thursday, March 14, 2013

There has been a good deal of overlap between hardcore, sludge, and post rock over the last few years as bands have continued to take elements from these genres and fuse them together. Montreal’s Milanku has done this on their debut album Pris A La Gorge, although their style tends to fall closer to the majestic soundscapes of post rock with hints of heavy riffs popping up every so often. It’s a fairly lengthy effort, coming in at nearly 50 minutes in length but the group does showcase some memorable arrangements and will be sure to appeal to fans of the aforementioned genres.

As you might expect from a band of this type, Milanku focuses on lengthy, sprawling arrangements and lets the guitars establish soaring melodies that have a very warm and inviting feel. Compared to some of the others that pull from this same set of influences, this group feels a bit mellower as even when they up the volume and offer some harsher, distorted riffs there is still a fairly melancholic feel rather than bone crushing heaviness. This direction works as it not only gives the soundscapes the chance to properly expand and gives the album an introspective and reflective feel. Pris A La Gorge is definitely the type of material that you can get lost in as the waves of sound wash over you, and the instrumentalists are able to ensure that the songs remain interesting and aren’t stretched too thin. However, by the time that listeners have reached the end it does start to feel as though the band has settled into their style just a bit too much as the last couple of tracks are quite similar. A little more experimentation with some of the slightly louder ideas could help to solve this, but there’s no denying that Milanku’s debut is still well put together.

The vocals are where much of the group’s harsher edge comes through, as Milanku’s lead singer has a lower pitched growl that is equal parts sludge and hardcore. While quite a bit of Pris A La Gorge is spent exploring the instrumentals, the moments where the vocals do make an appearance add an extra bit of grit and intensity to the arrangements as the growls are able to change slightly in pitch rather than staying at one particular range. There are also a number of different sound clips spread throughout the songs, and they are integrated perfectly into the mellower passages. Despite the fact that quite a bit of the running time is spent on instrumental only passages, the vocals still stand out and they are an area that the band could potentially utilize more often without hurting their ideas.

Although the ideas that Milanku present to the listener start to feel a bit similar by the end, their debut is still an engaging listen that takes post rock sounds and adds some heavier influences to them. Fans of the style that also like the grittier edge of hardcore and sludge will definitely want to check it out, as there are moments that will leave a lasting impact. However, if the group can experiment just a bit more and move slightly outside of their comfort zone they could go even further and become a truly distinguishable act.

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