Absolute Punk Review: Gangs

“We are the Bull. You are the china shop” – And So I Watch You From Afar

How often do you see a bands myspace page ‘catchphrase’ actually give an accurate representation of the band? They stampeded into the post rock scene with blistering weight and precision. Helped by their increasingly famous live shows that are guaranteed to give you a good nights sleep & on the back of an incredibly dynamic and solid self titled debut album, the band has now released Gangs; an eight track leviathan. For a band that works as hard as they do, and keep in touch with their fan base as much as time allows them, you had to say that the pendulum has been gravitating in their favor even before a second of new material was heard…so the “sophomore slump” was not necessarily something any of their fans had in mind; and rightly so because Gangs is as great as it is massive.

The album begins in emphatic fashion with BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION, launching crunching guitars towards you before an extended build with technical, finicky riff-age that eventually launches you back into the walls of crushing sound…their formula on display from the outset. In the quieter moments, the classic ‘post rock’ rears its head where calmer moments and melodies build into something massive, ASIWYFA do not fall victim of sounding “just like every other post rock band” though; they have a distinct style, a capacity for the different and the angular and when the noise hits at its climax, you are guaranteed to pick up your air guitar.

Search:Party:Animal and Think:Breathe:Destroy guide you through a myriad of twisting guitar and up tempo drum work effortlessly without sounding too ‘mathy’ or ambiguous. The balance is there, and good thing to for all too often do bands shred to the point that they lose sight of the overall cohesion of the song. ASIWYFA have really nailed it in this respect; they know when and how to unleash the different stages and dynamics of each song.

7 Billion People All Alive At Once and Homes - …Samara To Belfast sweep you through landscapes of music ranging from the soft and beautiful to the aforementioned weight of their heavier moments.

Like their self titled debut, there are no vocals on this album but there are the occasional "oi’s" and "hah’s" but they are fewer or at least less noticeable this time around which I personally find to be a shame. They were always so well placed and consciously urged the listener into an even higher state of musical frenzy and in a live setting this worked to the bands favor…not to mention they are just so much fun.

ASIWYFA have tirelessly toured their way through an ever growing army of fans across Europe and the US without losing sight of their roots and continuously wowing critics with their blend of monstrous anthems and technical prowess. That said, the band have not revolutionized themselves with Gangs. They have taken what they knew they were at good first time round, shed some of the cliché post rock elements and pressed on in a direction which at this stage in their career was perhaps a safer bet as opposed to trying something completely new, but it was the right bet. It is always hard for instrumental bands these days to stake their claim in the ‘post rock’ world but ASIWYFA have taken their flag and shattered the earth underneath it to call at least a little piece of it their own.

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