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Hills Like White Lions – Meander

Hills Like White Lions
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 25 May 2023, 6:02 AM

Progressive/Post-Metal trio HILLS LIKE WHITE LIONS formed in Austria in 2020. This is the band’s sophomore album, and it has one song, with seven separate movements. “Meander Pt 1 Coral” is the first. Clean guitars and vocals open the song, with a solemn feeling. Drums join in, followed by a distorted riff, and the smooth sound continues. It reminds me of darker shades of the color blue. The riff grows darker and more adventurous, and Progressive elements come through. “Meander Pt 2 Maelstrom” begins the same way. The vocal harmonies are very expressive and emotional. “Take me home,” he croons. Additional layers of music are slowly added, and it’s clear that this approach is what the band is all about. The layers are as gorgeous as they are depressing.

“Meander Pt 3 Acedia” is a short two-minute instrumental, with another smooth and dreamy sound. For the first time, I hear elements of persuasion, and positivity. “Meander Pt 4 Black Tide” is heavier and darker out of the gates. The rhythm guitars move slowly, with backing elements filling in the sky. Bass carries some of the despondent and tender melodies for a period of time, with vocals that seem to constantly question the world around them. It begins to pick up, with more and more sonority, and the crescendo of emotions feels very real. “Meander Pt 5 Cataract” begins with a distorted riff and some nice Progressive time keeping. The pace is quicker, and the song hits differently than others. The depressive elements are still very much there, but an ardent resolve also runs through the song. It slowly grows darker, with some nifty drum fills, until the positives sound comes round once more.

“Meander Pt 6 Nihil” features a slow and steady rain in the background, and those depressive elements are really sticking through the seams. They are reflected in the increasing vocal harmonies. The lengthy “Meander Pt 7 Mondgrau” closes the album. A mixture of odd timing meters, hardened Metal, and atmospheric bliss fuels this song, and the landscape shifts many times along the way. If you open your heart and let this song sing to you, it can really make an impact. Overall, this album is mostly about the emotional atmosphere that the band develops. Many of the movements were depressing, augmenting the darker side of life. But some were positive as well, urging you to act. This duality plays out on the album with tender concern, although, at the heart of it, to meander means to “find a winding course,” which means the fulfillment comes from the journey, and not the destination. What will you find on your journey, and will you be able to face it?

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Meander Pt 1 Coral
2. Meander Pt 2 Maelstrom
3. Meander Pt 3 Acedia
4. Meander Pt 4 Black Tide
5. Meander Pt 5 Cataract
6. Meander Pt 6 Nihil
7. Meander Pt 7 Mondgrau
Alexander Augustin – Bass
Hannes Lettner – Drums
Florian Wagner – Vocals, Guitars
Record Label: Independent


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