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N O V A (Album Front Cover Artwork) - 1500 x 1500


3rd April 2014 - Self-released

01. Aphotic
02. Monolith
03. Nova
04. Echoes And Reflections
05. Discovery One
06. Falling Faintly Through The Universe
07. This Is Not For You
08. Turn Skyward
09. Contact Light

Eschar, a youthful post-progressive band from Surrey, have created something quite spectacular in their debut album Nova: an instrumental record that manages to not only remain enticing throughout, but also move the listener.

It’s a thing of rare beauty, and inspiring to see from such a young band, who utilise a spectrum of techniques that together create a distinguishable sound all of their own, mixing poly-rhythmic hooks and drawn out epic passages.

Opening with a serene guitar melody, the album builds up into “Monolith“, a 9-minute epic in which the band showcase their beautiful post-rock side, before their progressive tendencies come forward in title track “Nova“. The hypnotic melodies from guitarists Rob O’Murphy and Sam Beattie showcase just why the band don’t need vocals to carry their sound across. Whilst the record feels like the inclusion of a vocalist was a possibility,  they rightly chose to reject this in favour of epic chords and atmosphere – not dissimilar to ISIS or the epic moments of Devil Sold His Soul. Add to this insatiable tremolo sections as well as their jerky guitar lines in their more progressive sections and you get enough variety to cement it all together.

In particular, their cyclic melodies – combined with these sweeping chords – make for a mesmerising listen. The rhythmic sections hold the lead melodies, often cycling in counterpoint extremely tightly, without having the feeling of being over-produced or overly heavy. They also throw in sections of technicality that help infuse interesting rhythmical phrases between the sweeping progressive sections.

The post-rock ambience of “Echoes & Reflections” is one of the aspects that pushes Eschar above other instrumental prog bands, showing influence from Sigur Rós. Their knack for memorable bass lines is another point of praise, as heard in “Falling Faintly Through The Universe” – powerful yet melodic.

The production of the album is very smooth and fortes each of their elements, with the post-rock sections sounding open and atmospheric while the more technical phrases are sharp and snappy, but without being overbearing. The distinction between the lead and rhythm guitar parts is strong which, in an instrumental act like Eschar, is vital.

Eschar also clearly have a keen ear in their transitions between their technical and more epic sections. They’re handled with apparent ease, and make the album’s longer tracks a pleasure to listen to. There is also variety within the brilliance, which is what makes this band excel, and one which could carry them further in their next efforts.

It will be interesting to see what direction this young band will take their music next, as they have the potential to further blend the lines of progressive and post-rock. They’re playing ArcTanGent alongside bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, 65DaysOfStatic and Cult Of Luna this summer, and will definitely be a band worth seeing.

William Author Banner