Turpentine Valley • 𝑬𝒕𝒄𝒉 [Official Release]
On their debut record, Belgium’s Turpentine Valley seeks to approach post-metal as purists, to drill down to the core of what makes this music move stylistically and conceptually, to find its heart and lock in step with its beat. Simplicity, patience and pacing colliding with power, density and unrelenting volume, this is the essence of post-metal. Add to that a dedication to exploring textures and building layers and enduring willingness to probe every inch of possibility in each refrain and Etch proves to be the kind of album that has consistently drawn curious and intrepid metal fans to this genre. Turpentine Valley takes a very literal approach to the album’s title, seeking to bring to the songs a kind of ethic representative of that word. An etching requires time and dedication, a labor of careful craftsmanship that yields a lasting impression; the band aims to reflect this idea in their songwriting and in turn create an etching on the hearts of listeners, a hard-won connection forged with wholeheartedness and commitment.
In showing their deep regard for post-metal, Turpentine Valley reveals relevant adjacent influences as well. Opening track “Abrupt” best demonstrates this, honoring Deftones and heavier Smashing Pumpkins as much if not more than obvious catalysts like Russian Circles or If These Trees Could Talk. It’s a crucial element, intermittently bringing a harmonious sensibility to balance with the more grim and unyielding motifs that characterize much of the record. Penultimate track “Trauma” provides a strong example, exhibiting all of the classic stylings fans have become accustomed to while also building gradually into a climactic refrain that pulls all the right emotional strings, a deft and subtle transition that presents a very natural progression while also shifting the tone of the song considerably from beginning to end.
Etch provides listeners all the important characteristics of an affecting post-metal record: it’s purposefully and impactfully downtempo, thoughtful yet ferocious, committed to compositional depth and a wide-open, deceptively simple sonic canvas, paying exacting attention to detail yet still adventurous. Using these seven songs as an indicator, Turpentine Valley promises to be a significant name on the post-metal landscape in the years to come.
— Young Epoch