Sometimes, I come away from an album with one impression: that was rock-solid. There are albums this year like that; quite a few, actually. Feather Mountain’s new album To Exit a Maelstrom is the very definition of a rock-solid album that holds up to scrutiny and repeat listens very, very well. The album released on September 2nd.
Feather Mountain, you may recall, was one of my picks for “hidden gem” back in 2019 with their album Nidus. They are a Danish band that I feel has begun to come into their own sound more and more. The band consists of Andreas Dahl-Blumenberg, Christian Dahl-Blumenberg. Jens Baalkilde Andersen, and Mikkel Aaen Lohmann.
The band plays a progressive metal that is influenced greatly by alternative rock. You’ll hear some Tool in their guitar licks and bass, but I think naming influences is a lost cause here. Their sound is good because of its overall effect, primarily, not its separated parts. Thus, you’ll hear some musing guitar parts, powerful explosions of bass and riffs, raw lyrics, a mix of harsh and clean vox, and great choruses. No, it isn’t anything overly eccentric or groundbreaking, but it is certainly enjoyable, and it rocks.
One thing I’ve noted is how far the band has come. Nidus was a good debut, but it still felt rough around the edges—usually in a good way. To Exit a Maelstrom is significantly more polished, both in production and in composition. The band really seems to know what they want to sound like, and so they give themselves completely to the emotions and raw atmosphere here. I admire that.
The album has eight songs and is about 45 minutes long. That works in the band’s favor. The two singles were “August Mantra” and “Sincere”, and they are excellent choices. The former is a ponderous opener that turns fierce and heavy. I love the vocals on it. “Sincere” is one of the most beautiful songs on the album. It deftly contrasts delicate vocal melodies and piano with thunderous metallic portions. I love this song and its attention to detail and yet also to overall impact.
I think the rest of the album is just as good. “Beneath Your Pale Face” has some of the strongest vocals on the album with its strained and vulnerable style. “Pariah” has a slow-burning, low-key heaviness to it that I really like. “Bliss” is probably my second favorite with its subtle melody and pealing instrumental near the end; it might have my favorite chorus, too. The closer “Maelstrom” is an achievement for the band, I think, with its 10-minute runtime, gracious demeanor, and grand ending. I love the horns that arrive in the last few minutes—that melody is one I hum to myself often. I think it’s the best song on the album, for sure.
So, there you have it. Feather Mountain’s sophomore effort has bested their debut, and by a substantial amount. To Exit a Maelstrom has many inspiring and inspired moments, from beautiful melodies to stark and aching lyrics, and everything in between. I think this album will grow on me as the year progresses, and I think this type of album could bridge the gap for people new to progressive rock and metal in general.
Find Feather Mountain online: