It’s not totally fair to label Adore as Deafheaven + Gojira – because Calgary-based Numenorean have blown me away with their unique and captivating take on post-metal. If Sunbather is “that pink album”, then Adore may end up being “that purple album”. Rarely is a band’s first impression so visceral, so widescreen, and so stunning. A big part of the record’s success is melding of styles to create one of the most emotional listening experiences in recent memory.
Let’s be clear about one thing: post-black metal can be mesmerizing upon first blush – most will recall their first encounter with the lush soundscapes and wrenching blackened aggression; mine was Deafheaven’s Roads to Judah, at least the one that first hit me. What’s most impressive about Adore is how it seems to recapture that feeling because so few bands can be this heavy and emotional at the same time. Sure, the Gojira-styled riffing and haunting atmospherics take things to another level – “Portrait of Places” are wonderful hybrids of blackened fury and Gojira’s resonant proggy death metal. Maybe that term, proggy, gets to why I adore Adore so damn much; this is a record that is wholly progressive in idea and scope, but Numenorean never play like a prog band – preferring to let flourishing ambient soundscapes wash over the songs at will, only to be interrupted by a blackened freakout or a delightful death riff.
Adore is chock full of great ideas, but it’s in the execution that this album shines. Few bands are this gut-wrenching, so willing to come across as human despite sonic excellence. Numenorean will be new to many, but prepare to embrace a classic like this when it washes over you.