Postcards From Arkham, a quartet out of the Czech Republic, throws their hat into the Lovecraft-inspired metal arena with 'Manta'. This album was really difficult for me to listen to at first as the band is billed as post black metal. The difficulty arose in the fact that on my first listen, I didn't find much metal at all. There are moments that are mightily metal to be sure but the overall vibe of the album is more a post rock feel with hints of black metal and smatterings of dark ambient. That being said, after subsequent listens, I've come to appreciate the album more once I knew what I was in store for.
The tracks themselves are a mixture of the aforementioned three styles, with most of the metal portions occurring on the first track "The Kvlt Ov Dreams" and the final track, "Her Cosmic Song". The remainder of the album is a heavy dose of slick, catchy post rock with some darker ambient tones working their way through the mix. "Dunwich Shaman" is a highlight track as it really stands out given the tribal tones and overall feel the track uses to capture the essence of wilds of Dunwich from the Lovecraft lore. The three instrumentals, which come back to back to back, seems like a bit of overkill. I love instrumentals when they're used to break things up a little but to just have them as standalone tracks, I just wasn't quite feeling it.
All in all, I enjoyed the album pretty well but the overall feeling I get is that Postcards is still working to try and find their musical identity. Hopefully the band can decide whether they're post black, post rock or dark ambient and really give themselves a chance to create an album that is a bit more focused.
About this Writer: Greg Watson // Greg Watson has been hooked on the loud and heavy sounds since the summer of 1994 when he first heard the opening notes of "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Since then his tastes have expanded and grown like the ever evolving heavy metal tree of genres. He has been an active member of Maximum Metal off and on for 10 years. In his spare time, Greg enjoys deciding the fate of his loyal subjects in the realm of Skyrim and secretly playing air keyboard to "Separate Ways" by Journey when no one is watching. He currently resides in Roanoke, VA with his wife and his metal wannabe beagle.
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