HAMASAARI is a word I don’t understand and the most popular search engine of our day, Google, returns no results aside from this band. One might even call this word Ineffable, which is a little appropriate.
Inspired by titans of the progressive field that include PORCUPINE TREE, PINK FLOYD, and KLONE; this French quintet brings a wall of sound with delicate motifs running throughout. This feeling is almost verging on soulful melancholy.
The album begins with Different Time – a slow building track that serves to set the scene. It is, I think, useful to consider the mindset of the listener here. If you are not OK with listening to one minute and forty seconds of the musical equivalent of leaves slowly drifting on a calm pond, then you may struggle to be brought on board. However, if you wait a little longer you will be met with something more typical, undulating bass lines and energetic and almost desperate vocals.
We then progress to Crumbs which may be fitting lyrically but has the rather unfortunate effect of implying that this song is a leftover which is simply not true. Driving guitars carry this song in a relatively simplistic manner but each beat, pulse and note is not wasted but instead becomes the host that invites us with them on the journey.
It is with some alarming regularity that a band that is progressive in nature has a song titled Bleak. The word is both highly emotive and punchy that it springs to mind when describing certain parts of human emotion. This particular offering is indeed bleak. The beat slowly rocks from side to side and the vocals seem to be lacking much of the energy that previous tracks have delivered. Tonally this song is on point but I find it hard to say I like it, though to some limited extent I do understand it. That is, of course, until the song takes on a substantially more doom metal tone. The guitars that were almost paper thin now dominate and crash around the other instrumentation, which changes the entire feeling from one of being quietly lost to the desperation of having rubble fall around you. It is an unexpected, but not an unwanted tonal shift that really adds a little more depth here
White Pinnacles begins as if it is the offspring of PINK FLOYD’s Another Brick In The Wall Pt.2 and Ghost Reveries era OPETH. In fact it reminds me so strongly of the latter that I’m curious as to why they did not list them among their influences. I think that this is where the album both succeeds and fails. The songs are varied which shows a great range in the band’s capabilities but may be limiting to an audience who will want specific things from them. To be clear this is not a failure of the music itself but rather one of expectation.
The album ends on Prognosis, which sheds the high energy brashness. Instead it favours being an atmospheric, mournful piece of art that resolves and book ends the album very nicely.
In summation, this is a fine album but really requires an enjoyment of the broad spectrums of atmospheric and progressive music. Whilst I can hear elements of the bands inspirations here, there is so much more to be found in an interesting, infuriating and even a magical kind of way. Indeed to paraphrase and possibly mis-translate the band, it is a stormy ritual invoking drops of rain, light and dark and some bright spots of hope.
Words: Jacob McCrone
Ineffable will be released on 3rd March 2023.
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