All We Expected/Raum Kingdom – Split EP (2015)

While this is a split release, it’s a bit longer than most and gives each band at least twenty minutes of playing time a piece, or what would constitute a normal set list. The first band, All We Expected look like a bunch of young clean-shaven pups that you might see modeling in Teen Beat magazine, rather than playing the kind of proggy post metal stuff that they do here. Surprisingly, it’s quite beautiful too – especially if you love very melodic touches to your post. There’s absolutely no vocals whatsoever, but it works to give you a calming atmosphere that later Pelicans into a heavier tone much like the aforementioned (did you see what I did there?) as it slowly pulls away from distortion and brings us back into a cool pool (a very cool pool) of water. The recording feels a bit aquatic, but it also feels a bit melancholic. It’s the kind of thing you might hear while you’re watching a remembrance television package, in which people who’ve passed are recognized. But in that sense, maybe it comes off a little otherworldly too. I mean, these guys could have a vocalist; but then they’d sound just like a lot of other post metal instrumental acts out there. Still, it’s quite intriguing.

After the pups walk off the stage, a couple of older, more grizzled gentlemen then take their places as they play a very similar, yet more intriguing style of post metal here in Raum Kingdom. I haven’t gotten around to reviewing the EP yet (I’ve got it setup for next week, so please be patient guys) but I literally cannot stress how mesmerizing of a performance this is. It’s only two songs, but if you love acts like Neurosis and Tool as much as I do, then you’re going to be salivating to Pavlov’s bell just the same. You’ll notice that the frontman immediately shares that same Maynard-esque vocal tone, which does (yes, I do mean this) erupt into a harsher vocal approach. This is something I always wanted from Tool, even though I respect that they were never anything of an extreme metal act. They were clearly a hard/progressive rock, which doesn’t lean into the harsh vocals (unless we’re throwing Tool into Nu-Metal and I’m not going to have that kind of foolishness on my watch) of which I’m quite glad to hear are being attempted here. But there’s a bit more to it than that, as the frontman is also performing a sort of chant or at least a level of vocalization that makes me feel his level of passion. It’s very much in the same way I’ve always thought about Maynard’s work, and additionally gives me something that I can bang my head to as well. As far as this split goes, Raum Kingdom completely blows away All We Expected and they’re one of the best new bands I’ve heard in years. I almost feel tempted to review their EP right here and now, but I’m going to save it for later when I dole out the full observation of what is a wonderfully memorable listen. Obviously I’m a huge fan of the classic post metal acts (Neurosis, Isis, Cult Of Luna) as well as the more atmospheric rock of Tool and A Perfect Circle (we can even throw in Ashes Divide, if you want – such an under appreciated album) so if you’re not into this kind of stuff, you might not understand the ritualistic fury of such an act; but I can’t get enough of these guys. Buy the split for Raum Kingdom, but definitely give All We Expected a try too. Both bands have a great deal of promise and they’re worth your attention.

(4 Tracks, 43:00)

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