Pijn pretty much exploded onto the Manchester live scene early last year, playing some righteous support slots but backing it up with a ferocious set of progressive, expansive and bone crushing metal. Having teased us with various snippets of recorded material over the past few months, this Manchester based collective are finally ready to unleash their debut release ‘Floodlit‘.
‘Dumbstruck & Floodlit‘ opens this four part affair in an astonishing fashion. It begins with an uplifting drone of effect heavy guitars and strings that makes way for a spiky yet warm guitar line. This soon explodes into a post-rock passage of crashing drums and regimented bass tones. It’s an incredibly uplifting and almost joyous start that is soon turned on its head. A more somber, bewildering section saunters in, featuring gently strummed guitars and distant, haunting vocals. The rhythm section comes back in along with an enticing violin line that slowly helps re-build momentum, before quickly fading to make way for an unexpected eruption of sound. From blast beats to a strong, meaty riff as screamed vocals bellow and move towards a dramatic, super heavy crescendo of distorted bass, strings, saxophone and guttural guitars. It is a ridiculously exciting piece of music that moves through so many different tones and emotions that just makes you want to experience it over and over again.
‘Hazel‘ is a beautiful two minute piece that acts as an outro to the previous track, which soothes and repairs with a simplistic, delayed piano line, building with layers of ambient synths and guitars. To me, this track really shows off how much detail Pijn put in here, with it feeling like they’re telling a story of sorts through the different timbres and feelings of the instrumentation.
‘Cassandra‘ is another short piece that acts an introduction to final track ‘Lacquer‘, which immediately sparks off a darker tone as distorted, reverb heavy guitar melodies sprawl into a cacophony of distortion and a growling rhythm section with violins soaring dramatically over top. The second half of the track slows down, playing with dynamics as beautiful layers of strings, guitars and piano swirl around your ears, finally concluding on the spiky yet warm guitar tone we hear at the start of the record as a French spoken-word piece is played out. It’s very prog, but not just for the sake of it. Every minute of this record has been painstakingly constructed and thought over and for that, there is never a dull moment. Pijn keep you right in the palm of their hand throughout.
In conclusion, Floodlit is very much a statement of intent. It’s ambitious, beautiful and uncompromising all at the same time. I felt something strong when I first experienced this band live and this record cements a feeling that I’ve stumbled upon something unique, exciting and ultimately rather special in Pijn.