The time has come for Rannoch.
Formed in England in 2004 by Ian Gillings (guitar/vocals), Richard Page (guitar/vocals) and Paul Lloyd (bass/vocals), the band called on drummer Dan Presland (Black Lava, A Million Dead Birds Laughing, ex-Ne Obliviscaris) to bring Conflagrations, their third album, to life.
The four musicians open with Degenerate Era, an introductory composition which first lets a few melancholic notes float through before heaviness takes its place, followed by a few heavy howls before a new phase of sweetness which leads us to Prism Black and its crushing jerky riffs. The approach is as intricate and complex as violent, allowing the modern mix to develop its full potential during the frantic dissonant parts where vocals add the melting some weight, but also during the airy clean break, crushed by a long lead part before heaviness returns. The haunting elements give way to Threads, which slightly speeds things up while keeping the pachydermic groove, but with some softer backing vocals to temper the devastating blast’s fury. Screams also become more visceral before Conflagrations allows us a short respite with its introduction, which gently progresses to a transcendent passage before welcoming the powerful sound and massive vocal parts back, which at times turn into heady lyrics, before letting the Prog roots lead us to Daguerreotype and its limitless aggression. The sound remains extremely precise in the most virulent parts, proof of a very high power mastery, but also of the more heady groovy parts overlaid with an airy dissonance, or of the eerie calm which prevails on Earth-Recycle, a strange interlude which leads us to Threnody to a Dying Star, the very long last composition, honoring the band’s Progressive influences by gradually strengthening its riffs until they explode with saturation. The instrumental part remains very intense, alternating relentless rhythmics and scathing shrilling leads without vocals, before finally returning to its starting speed, to close the album with rich sonorities.
Rannoch is an incredibly solid project that knows how to let heaviness, groove and fury express themselves via massive riffs while drawing on its diverse influences. Conflagrations will fascinate fans of technicality and astonish more than one listener!