As the Poets Affirm - The Jaws that Bite, The Claws that Catch
Independent
forward-thinking instrumental majesty
10 songs (57:54)
Release year: 2004
As The Poets Affirm
Reviewed by Nathanael
Album of the month

Let’s face it, as much we love certain albums or bands in our collection, one must never stop exploring different musical realms in order to keep one’s mind open and ears refreshed. There is always more out there, and though that may seem daunting at times, it is also a feeling of groundless excitement at the notion that a mind-blowing surprise of an album may be waiting for you just around the corner.

Having dedicated the majority of my time to exploring the sphere of metal, I eventually grew somewhat tired after five years of listening to the same bands and styles. Yearning for something fresh, a casual recommendation lead me to check out the website of a band from my town of current residence, Ottawa, Canada. Seeing that they offered a few songs for download, I checked out the samples and was thoroughly intrigued and impressed. After weeks of listening to the few songs I had, I eventually found and purchased their album, and that’s when it happened…

Have you ever listened to an album for the first time and felt so overjoyed with what you were hearing that you didn’t know what to do with yourself? Well when I listened to The Jaws that Bite, the Claws that Catch for the first time, that’s exactly what happened. Not since Agalloch’s The Mantle had I experienced such strong sentiments toward an album upon first listen.

Specializing in emotive instrumental soundscapes, As the Poets Affirm are the type of band that, though not overtly “metal”, will appeal to the metalheads out there who appreciate music of high quality and composition. With a line up of seven members, guitar, bass, percussion, and drums intertwine with synthesizers, strings and horns to create beautiful, tragic, and compelling music that any open minded metalhead will surely embrace.

Opening track Snow White Wings in the Bottomless Blue kicks things off in fine form with dreamy clean guitars before cello and horns enter the fold and give the song a more urgent tone that eventually breaks down to reveal the songs fragile melodic core before tribal/war drums usher in the songs conclusion. This sort of build up to break down strategy is used throughout the album with great effect. Whether you desire dark, and brooding, or light, dreamy passages, As the Poets Affirm have you covered.

With unmistakable Post Rock influences permeating throughout, The Jaws that Catch… manages to create vast soundscapes within mere five or six minute time frames. However, with the amount of effortless mood shifts in each song, time begins to take strange shapes as the album progresses.

Being a huge fan of the vast, expansive nature of bands like Isis, Pelican, Red Sparowes, Explosions in the Sky, and Agalloch, those who appreciate these artists will surely find a place in their heart for As the Poets Affirm.

Several parts Indie, Post, and Prog Rock, forward-thinking instrumental majesty seems to me the most appropriate label.

Killing Songs :
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Nathanael quoted 95 / 100
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