Mark Ainsworth (bass), James Kirk (guitar), Scott Stronach (drums) are Matador. The band formed in 2020 and got to work quickly with They Were Here Before Us which we reviewed here at Divide and Conquer. The band worked on and released their followup The Surge. This release contains songs in typical post-rock fashion that are long and range between the six- and ten-minute mark.
“Dissociator” is the opener and again in post-rock fashion this song builds and builds to higher crescendos. One thing I noticed between the reverb-laced guitars and huge sounding drums was how good the production sounded. And once the distortion came I was completely on board with the aesthetics. Similar to their previous album, Sunn O))) and Deafheaven are reference points to the general sound.
“Projections” felt like the centerpiece. It almost reaches the ten-minute mark and is a bit of a roller coaster ride in terms of the dynamics. I really enjoyed this aspect of it because it felt a little more unpredictable. The song starts off with a strong performance in particular by the rhythm section. I loved the way the drums and bass drove the song at first. The middle section of the song was sort of like a breakdown and build. Right before the five-minute mark, it’s as if the band is going into the second section of the song. This time however the song excels and amplifies into some of the most ferocious moments on the album with a grand finale towards the tail end of the song.
I loved the drum work on “Ego Death” which takes fairly simple guitar and bass patterns and makes it feel dynamic and robust. There are major drone metal vibes around the three-minute mark but the song shifts in tone as the dissonance becomes a horizon of clarity which felt like one of the most hopeful moments on the album. The band starts to rock out hard and reaches a crescendo which drizzles with feedback from the thunderous storm.
They close with “Business Trip” and this song contains nasty and driving grooves. I was reminded of Tool on this song at points although still more post-rock inspired. The song does have other sections which turn the dynamics on their head. Towards the middle it feels like you’re in the middle of the desert before the whole band, without much warning, comes to slay.
This is a great album from a band that has chemistry. It’s an epic ride that I suggest starting from the beginning, if you want the full experience. Take a listen.
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