Album Of The Month

From The Vaults

OK so you haven't brushed it off since 1998 - but that doesn't mean this oft overlooked gem doesn't have stonking great tracks. Blaze Bayley's finest hour!

Parhelia | ‘The Precipice Of Change’


The title may say one thing – but Parhelia crossed the precipice of change long ago.

It happened when they changed their name some years ago, and in so doing, freed themselves to make the kind of expansive post rock they’re now expert at.

Since then, the result has been albums of consistent high quality taking the listener on flights of gentle immagination and wistfulness backed up by some great instrumentation.

This is no exception.

I’m reminded hugely of The Gathering here on the opening tracks to this latest album, surprisingly from round about ‘Souvenirs’ and ‘The West Pole’, and of course post rock luminaries God Is An Astronaut, Sigur Ros and a dabble of Isis.

Both ‘Latitude By Longtitude’ and ‘Capricorn One’ have the kind of purity of guitar tone of those acts, which by the end of the second track gives way to a beautifully simple lead guitar line that is superbly poised.

It has the evocative quality of looking right up into the night sky that the artwork hints at, and having a little shooting star skirt across just for you.

‘Desert Of Thought’ is very drifty by comparison, as is ‘The Light That Guides Us’. ‘Magnetic North’ injects a bit more movement back into things, thanks to a freshly assertive bass that drives the song along.

‘Chemtrails’ is more definitively prog, with a nod to both Coheed & Cambria and Tool in there and some nice use of different tonalities in the guitars.

I’ve always rated Parhelia. They’re fantastic musicians who strive for tone, never showy and always judicious with their music. They have a dreamy quality thanks to clear as a bell clean guitars, and accompany the listener rather than intrude.

Perhaps it can get just a tad samey, but that’s maybe as a consequence of being an instrumental band. Very frequently in here I can hear the want of an Anneke Van Giersbergen or a Vinny Cavanagh to lift it to the angelic.

But that is not their chosen path. This music is absolutely full of atmosphere however and the band deserve continuing credit for ploughing a furrow that, if not exactly their own, they make their own.

There’s a corner of the night sky specifically reserved for this beautiful little album – listen and let it bring you there.

3.6 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 24/12/13


3 Comments
  1. Instrumental Post-Rock at it’s finest. A fantastic release, definitely a grower, and one of the best Irish releases of 2013! There’s a hell of a lot more going on than first meets the ear… truly immersive and hopefully a portent of more to come, especially in the progressive department, ala “Chemtrails” & “Capricorn One”.

    I think CT’s last sentence captures the sentiment perfectly!

  2. Fantastic music from an amazing band. I love the post rock genre . I dont agree with the need for vocals though. Another great post rock outfit (long distance calling) introduced vocals to their latest album, and for me, it destroyed them. I hope Parhelia stick to what they do majestically, and thats beautiful emotive and dreamlike soundscapes.

  3. Really enjoying the stream here. So glad they stuck at it.

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