Pelican - _Forever Becoming_
(Southern Lord Records, 2013)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (6.5 out of 10)
Ever since the departure of Pelican's guitarist and founding member Laurent Schroeder-Lebec, speculation regarding the band's future has gone down two tracks. The first was the realistic one that assumed the band would pull the curtain after such an event and each member would look to make new music elsewhere under a different moniker. The second track was that Pelican would continue but with a massively different sound that would definitely polarize fans. So after announcing that Dallas Thomas will be replacing Schroeder-Lebec, the first track was blocked and _Forever Becoming_ was to be the title of Pelican's fifth studio album. The departure of a founding member is of course a key point in any band's path, but in Pelican's case, the resulting album is one that shows growth and confidence, enough to dispel any doubts.

Looking back at the abominable 2012 EP _Ataraxia / Taraxis_, it would have made sense to assume that a new album without the band's founding guitarist would definitely put them on a new road; and that's correct in a sense. _Forever Becoming_ is the sound of Pelican on a new road -- a road on which their music actually sounds good. It is an album that continues their inconsistent streak of releases but luckily, this one errs on the pleasant side. It starts off very cleverly with "Terminal", which is a brooding intro with the air of an approaching winter; perfect for a chilly fall afternoon in the open air. "Deny the Absolute" gets things moving with a little more fluidity and brings a nice heavier sound.

Speaking of heaviness, _Forever Becoming_ is another step away from the heavy sound of _Australasia_, but there's still a lot of heaviness in Larry Herweg's strokes. His drumming style has always been considered to be Pelican's weakest point because of how heavy-handed his playing is. This is something that he's consistently displayed and it's definitely a trace from his days with the much heavier band Lair of the Minotaur. On "Immutable Dusk" though, he starts to show that certain lightness of touch that he's been missing all these years and it really does make a difference once it's added. A drummer with a finely-tuned sense of dynamics can complement delicate segments like those on "Threnody" or "The Cliff", and some powerful fills could have created some interesting peaks and valleys in the rather flat "Vestiges".

The album comes to a close after the nine minute "Perpetual Dawn", which continues Pelican's habit of having a song title with a positive connotation (take for example "Nightendday" and "Last Day of Winter") that reflects the positivity of the music. It also succeeds in summarizing where Pelican is, or least aims to be, as a band at this point in its career. _Forever Becoming_ is still far from their finest hour but it's certainly a couple of steps above 2009's _What We All Come to Need_. It's definitely a decent effort but one that doesn't seem to have as much staying power as their debut.


(article published 1/12/2013)

5/6/2012 D Lake 6 Pelican - Ataraxia / Taraxis
7/27/2007 J Montague 5 Pelican - City of Echoes
6/8/2005 J Montague 8.5 Pelican - March Into the Sea
RSS Feed RSS   Facebook Facebook   Twitter Twitter  ::  Mobile : Text  ::  HTML : CSS  ::  Sitemap

All contents copyright 1995-2023 their individual creators.  All rights reserved.  Do not reproduce without permission.

All opinions expressed in Chronicles of Chaos are opinions held at the time of writing by the individuals expressing them.
They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of anyone else, past or present.