Telepathy – ‘Burn Embrace’

By Liam Knowles

Instrumental music is a notoriously tricky beast to get right. Throw too much musicianship in there and it becomes impenetrable, not enough, and it’s not likely to be interesting enough to keep the listener’s attention. Make your songs too long and you may struggle to fill them with quality material; too short and they won’t have the space that all good ‘post’ music needs to breathe. There’s a balance to be found, and not all who attempt to find it manage to do so. Colchester-based post-metal quartet Telepathy have been making a pretty good go of it so far, releasing two solid albums and landing themselves high-profile support slots with the likes of Solstafir and Saint Vitus, as well as appearing at prestigious festivals like ArcTanGent, Roadburn and Desertfest. ‘Burn Embrace’, the band’s third full-length record and their first with Svart Records, sees the band continuing their mission to perfect the balance and stand out among their instrumental peers.

‘Eternal Silence’ kicks things off with light drums and ambient background noise before the clanging guitars and rumbling bass ease their way in, building steadily to a section of blistering blastbeats. This steady, collected build – the calm before the storm – is Telepathy at their best. They’re excellent at creating textures and soundscapes that grow and evolve as they go along. ‘The Void in Aimless Flight’ is a great example of this, making outstanding use of intricate, swirling bass work under the sparser guitars and this really makes the whole thing feel like a living organism. On the last two tracks, Telepathy step outside of their comfort zone and introduce some vocals, although these are used sparingly and sit low in the mix. The combination of the harsh screams and the low, bellowing clean vocals on ‘Sorrow Surrenders its Crown’ and the closing track ‘Burn Embrace’ are reminiscent of someone like Isis or even Mastodon, and after hearing these two tracks a case could be made for the band maybe benefitting from a full time, dedicated vocalist, as although the vocals do work well they don’t quite match up to the standard of the album’s musicianship.

The only other thing that lets this album down slightly is the production, in parts at least. Most of the record sounds great, especially as the tracks build, but when they reach their crescendos the really heavy sections – particularly the blackened, blastbeat-ridden moments – sound a little one dimensional. Again, this would maybe be negated by the presence of a tortured, shrieking black metal style vocal, but if that isn’t the direction that Telepathy want to go down then on their next release they should try and find ways to make these sections sound more dynamic. These parts of the record do benefit from being played on headphones, and there’s no doubt these songs would sound monolithic in a live environment.

Telepathy should certainly consider ‘Burn Embrace’ a success but, as they themselves would likely admit, there’s still room for them to grow. If they continue to push forward at this rate and keep expanding their wheelhouse then they’ve absolutely got a genre classic in them somewhere down the line.

LIAM KNOWLES

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