Without fail and even though I wait as long as I can to make my year-end lists, there is always an album that comes to my attention at the end of each year that unfortunately does not make it on to my lists, even though it absolutely should have. Keor’s sophomore album, called “Petrichor”, is the culprit for 2018. This fantastic album would have made my top 30 list, possibly in the top half of it, too.
Keor is just one man from Montpellier, France. Victor Miranda Martin handles vocals, guitars, Mellotron, Hammond organ, soundscapes, sampled instruments, and additional keyboards. He writes and produces everything. Guests include: Reid Blackmore Noble on mandolin and orchestral percussions, Anaïde Apelian on clarinet, and Lucas de la Rosa on piano.
What can I say about this music? It is sublime in several different fashions. The music itself is progressive rock, I suppose, but you will hear elements from post-rock, prog metal, ambient music, symphonic rock, and even black metal. You will hear a smorgasbord of sounds, colors, and emotions; all while feeling the explosive rhythms and the shining melodies.
The guitars here are the real stars of the album. Victor’s guitar work is driving, frothing, and massive in scale. Licks explode out of nowhere to lead a song into entirely new directions and alternative sounds. That said, everything else is also played with precision and skill. The drums, for instance, lumber and pound with pure satisfaction and awesome blast beats, and the keys evoke the colors of so many different rainbows. In other words, everything is near perfect here.
Yes, I’m going to discuss each song, as there are only five. One reason to discuss each song is the fact that each song is quite different from the others, evoking different ideas and images. The title track, for instance, explodes into bright post metal ideas near the end, but then back into pure melodies that remind me of Christiaan Bruin’s “Days of Summer Gone”. That means it is both textured and muddled, while also detailed and exquisite. How in the world did Victor achieve that?
“The Nest of Evil” evokes the confusion and conflicts of this world, and so it comes across as dark and even quirky. I hear odes to Haken’s “The Mountain” on this song, especially “Cockroack King”, and I think the depiction of ruin and self-destruction on that Haken track is the same point of this one, as well. The song feels gritty, snarling, and dire. The last few minutes are absolutely stunning, dark, and monolithic. I can’t get enough of this song. It’s just one of those songs that sends chills down your spine.
“Snivel by the Pond” is melody-forward, almost being ambient and abstract in nature. It’s more about feeling the wetness and muddiness of human loneliness than the visceral drive of the other tracks. This piano melody is delicate and whimsical, and the glorious keys near the end feel almost like a carnival of nature. This track, despite its lack of drive, is one of my favorites, if not my favorite overall.
“Terence” was my favorite initially. It displays contrasts between driving segments and lush melodies. The guitar instrumental near the middle is simply amazing, thrashing wildly and satisfyingly. “Abyssal Bloom” saves the darkest tones for last. It is truly blackened, but also flourishing and imaginative. It is spacey, but also guitar-driven; dark, but with hopeful light. It is a fantastically-composed ending to an album that knows exactly what it wants to be.
How did I not stumble upon Keor in the past? “Petrichor” is practically a spiritual experience because of how deeply and convincingly it draws you into its world. In the realm of instrumentals, too, the album succeeds on almost every level. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy!
Find Keor online: