Tangled Thoughts of Leaving – Yield to Despair

8 Production
9 Composition
9 Mood
10 Instrumentation

Tangled Thoughts of Leaving are a sensation. Their career-defining performance on Dunk!-festival was absolutely mind-boggling – an opinion which is probably shared by hundreds of other people who attended the same gig. Among them were the members of The Ocean, who are coincidentally owners of the German record label Pelagic Records. “We had to get involved. This is music that the world needs to hear,” they declared, as they got down to business. Now, six months after that fateful performance, Pelagic are releasing “Yield to Despair” on CD as well as digital download.

Tangled Thoughts of Leaving are a sensation. “Yield to Despair” will prove that to its listener time and again, with its original brand of alternative music that is just indescribable. The intricate fusion of post-metal with elements of jazz and noise portrayed already came to ripen on their 2011 debut “Deaden the Fields”, but Tangled Thoughts of Leaving have been together since 2009 which shows just how much influence geographic location has on the popularity of a band. “Yield to Despair” continues in the same vein as “Deaden the Fields”, with lengthy compositions, virtuosic instrumentation and that intrinsic ethos that is typical for this band. This second album however, is a much darker affair than the band’s debut. Where “Deaden the Fields” could be lighthearted and even joy-inducing at times, “Yield to Despair” really seems to have written, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” all over its visage. “Downbeat” is supposed to be the album’s single, but it is a frightening 19 minutes long, intense as hell, yet really fulfilling at the same time; which is really typical for this album. Each of these five songs is so terrifyingly dark and intense, but at the same time, so awe-inspiring and technical, turning “Yield to Despair” into a thrill to listen to.

RELEASE DATE: 14 September 2015 LABEL: Pelagic Records

This is one of the few albums ever that manages to reduce my thoughts to mere expletives at least three times in one listening session. I have seen the band play live at an amazing festival, I have been listening to their work intensively for six months, I know what this band is capable of – but I just can’t seem to get over it. The technical skill of the musicians is so incredible (granted, some members are more proficient than others), that Tangled Thoughts of Leaving are easily elevated out of the slimy undergrowth and straight into the Empyrean of music.

Yet, it is not only musicianship that makes “Yield to Despair” stand out from the crowd. It is also the band’s ability to channel their skill into good and balanced compositions. Yes, the notes-per-minute rate of this album is awfully high at some points, but for some reason, the music remains attractive for a longer time. Despite the frequent outbursts of sonic violence, led by both drums and piano, it is easy to just relax to this album, while the music washes over all of your thoughts. Ultimately however, it is in the way the band intersperses slower, more elegant passages among its shredding that their true artistry becomes known. The moments of country – no, almost spaghetti western stylishness that breaks through in “Shaking of Futility” as well as on the title track, for example, make this album an absolute treasure.

“Yield to Despair” is an atmospheric masterpiece because it manages to retain its typical mood throughout the album, and also right up to the packaging. Gracing the CD version of the album are some excellent pencil drawings by Australian visual artist Teo Treloar. The especially dramatic frontispiece really frightened me in a physical way, when I saw the CD first. Together with the album title it made a connection in my mind, which showed me exactly what this record was about.

Tangled Thoughts of Leaving are a sensation. Where “Deaden the Fields” established the band’s sound and ethos, “Yield to Despair” is the album that affirms their sonic mastery. It is an album that needs to be experienced in the first place, because there is no band on earth that is able to bring forth such sounds as these.

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