A couple of months back Norwegian band Pigeon Lake unleashed the single Confrontation as a teaser and awakening to their debut album Tales of a Madman. It was a track which held all the already impressing essences and invention of the band as shown on their first release, the I: Mindrape EP, but hinted at a new individuality of sound and even greater emotional and textural explorations. The track was riveting as it thrilled ears and imagination but now showing as just an appetiser for the might and creative weight of the new album. Tales of a Madman is a beast of an encounter, a stirring and invigorating incitement which shows that Pigeon Lake has come of age and is ready to embrace the strongest intensive spotlight.
Formed in 2011 and hailing from Oslo, Pigeon Lake consists of vocalist/guitarist Christopher Schackt, lead guitarist Magnus Engemoen, bassist Anders Børresen, and drummer Andreas Prestby. The quartet has from day one created a web of intrigue and attention grabbing sound from merging a melodic and imposing blend of rock with a predatory metal confrontation. The result is a proposition which demands senses and thoughts pay attention before taking them on an enthralling and breath-taking, at times uncompromising, creative journey. The I: Mindrape EP of 2012 brought the band’s first rich mark on the psyche and passions; its success not the trigger to wide spread recognition but certainly an awakening of an awareness of the band which the new album we suspect will ignite.
Whereas the EP had irrepressible songs built on swinging grooves which could be referenced to the likes of Pantera and Volbeat in many ways, Tales of a Madman sees the band diving into the darkest corners and depths of emotions and imagination. Shadows smother the senses across the release, emotions soaking thoughts with strains of despair, fear, and predominantly melancholic evocation, yet rather than breed a depressed atmosphere which only devours the listener, the band sculpt and vein songs with an incendiary and sometimes deranged bait of hooks, grooves, and rhythmic contagion. It is a compelling and ingenious mixture which compliments its theme with intensive dramas and aggressive twists.
The album opens with the instrumental Event Horizon, a melodically elegant and captivating piece of composing which instantly draws in the imagination. Around the magnetic coaxing a dark ambience busies itself, offering a lure which is as inescapable and ominous as its title suggests. With rhythms adding their heavier enticement aided by a growing intensity of the guitars, a foreboding joins the flight of the track as it heads into the impending narrative of Epiphany. The second song also casts a caress of sonic temptation initially, though this time there is an instant edge to its charm which is soon aligned to firm beats and abrasing riffs. Antagonistic grooves break out quickly after, their lure courted by more pungent rhythms from Prestby and a throaty malevolent tone from the bass of Børresen. It is a swiftly gripping proposition which takes another lift with the distinct vocal expression of Schackt. As with the sounds the band crafts, there is an adventure and uniqueness to the voice of the man which is unafraid to test its limits whilst bringing open diversity to his delivery as it reveals every ounce of the passion and pain within the heart of lyrics and songs. The track itself writhes and twists creatively across its body with an almost maniacal intent, every swing of rhythms and lacing of sonic persuasion intimidatingly restless but rigorously seductive. It is a stunning step into the thick imposing realm of the release which is instantly matched by the current single.
Confrontation strides in on a voracious rhythmic enterprise which is ridden firmly by the fine vocals of Schackt. An anthemic baiting is right away in command of ears and emotions which the guitars colour and expand with their resourceful and ever shifting tempestuous invention. Angst fuelled harmonies bring their rich hues to the emerging maelstrom of emotion and agitated sound too, anger and despondency entangled with a romantic rage vocally to match the turbulent and thoroughly absorbing storm of sound around them. As impressive as their first release was, this song alone reveals in a short breath just how much the band has grown in their songwriting, creative maturity, and simply ravenous invention.
The smouldering emotive landscape of Doubt comes next, its scenery a melodic wash of shimmering passion and turmoil which erupts with soaring flames of vocal melancholia and sonic causticity. It is a glorious provocation for thoughts and feelings, essences of Katatonia and Tool spicing up the uniqueness of sound and imagination. The song is impossibly mesmeric and immersive but equally menacing through its tar like sludge bred intensity, a union of extremes which you wonder whether many bands could unite as sensationally and potently as Pigeon Lake.
Both Vengeance and Discrepency take their weighty share of the passions with distinctly different investigations, the first from a seducing if also imposing entrance, sending ears down a passage of forcefully jabbing rhythms and snarling riffery courted by raw vocals. It is a song which reeks of danger and destructive intent. The album is into the core of the mental disintegration of its protagonist you feel at this point, every melodic hug accompanied by a bestial savagery and every exotic twist of invention aligned to a malevolent stalking. It is impossible to pick out a pinnacle on the album but the exceptional track is certainly the most vocal re-emerging incitement in thoughts and memory with an unhinged air to every flirtatious and inhospitable turn it takes. Its successor also employs that height of unpredictability and emotive differences throughout its energetically driven swagger and corrosive touch. With a hostile edge to riffs and entrancing magnetism to its melodic beauty, the song is sheer emotional turmoil brought to sonic life and quite brilliant.
The album is completed by the two parts of Absolution. Pt 1. is a sultry escape through a calmer emotional climate but still ripe with blazes of sonic and vocal passion which are in no mood to create a smooth ride for senses and thoughts whilst Pt 2. feels not like a conclusion to the torment of the central character, but a clearer horizon even if one still littered with struggles and conflicts as painted by the roar of guitars and an intensive rhythmic intrigue to the impacting heat of the song.
Rather than a journey for the ‘Madman, the album feels like episodes from an on-going agony and leaves the imagination just as hungrily aflame as the passions. It is an exceptional release which has all the qualities and inventive beauty to push Pigeon Lake deservedly to the frontline of progressive rock and melodic metal. Tales Of A Madman is a release with a sound merging numerous styles and appetites for a mouth-watering presence, one without any reservations which is an album of the year contender.
Tales Of A Madman is self-released on August 15th @ https://pigeonlake.bandcamp.com/
Upcoming Pigeon Lake Gigs:
15.08 – Gamla, Oslo – Release party
22.08 – Inside, Bergen
23.08 – Fru Lundgreen, Trondheim
30.08 – Union Scene, Drammen
06.09 – Downbeat, Hønefoss
03.10 – Sebs Hotel, Hamar
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