Dear reader, take note: if you want a synopsis of how this album sounds and whether I recommend it or not, scroll to the final paragraph. If you would like to read my experience and my thoughts of the story of this album, please read on :)
This album just oozes memories of traveling and adventure. If you like your Postrock connected to a central theme, this one is right up your ally. It tells the tale of a post apocalyptic world where we doomed ourselves due to the effects of the climate crisis. Some adventurers set out to seek new meanings and that's the central theme of this album. Onward to the accompanied music!
You could think that, due to the Post-apocalyptic theme, the music is dark, brooding and aggressive, but... refreshingly so, it's not! Opener "Let Me Steer, As I Am the Bigger Captain" has a rather positive attitude where the makings of a new adventure awaits. It's a soothing track with an excellent lead guitar that starts of the adventurous feeling you'll get from listening. The shift at the 4:30 minutes mark is quite excellent and enhances the positive, uplifting vibe you'll definitely feel. It's, quite frankly, a stunning opener.
Follow-up "I Will Guide You over Oceans and Across Troubled Lands" shifts the narrative to a more disrupted future where uncertainty is key. The track has a very different structure then what you could be used to without an ebb-and-flow and this continues a bit in intro of the third song called "We Are All, In All Places, Strangers and Pilgrims, Travelers and Sojourners" It starts off with subtle soundscapes that sounds as if they were recorded under water, but soon, this track evolves in a pleasant track with a high pitched guitar sound that hearkens back to older work of the band. The 10 minute long playing time creates ample opportunity to shift and turn, while staying cohesive with the atmosphere of the first track.We're back at full-on adventuring :)
Beyond Us, Only Darkness is quite the ominous title but the track isn't that bleak. It has a more brooding atmosphere, but the striking thought is that our adventures in this barren world, aren't without options. It may have the loudest climax of this album, but sparkles of hope continue shining through. As if our adventures have to overcome some deep troubles, but with determination, they carry on.
7+ minutes long "Nothing to Go Home To, Nothing There to Come Home For, No Home to Return to". (phew, you guys make it difficult with these titles :) ) is a stunner. Maybe there's some acceptance for our group of adventurers that nothing will ever be the same. There will come a time of great uncertainty. Mysterious soundscapes at the background, a guiding lead-guitar with an amazing sounding clap-effect makes this track a beautiful point of subtlety on this album. At the 5:20 mark, there's a slight shift to a more unsettling / disoriented proposition for our survivors.
One Day I Will Find the Right Words and They Will Be Simple shifts back to open skies and more clarity for our band of brothers and sisters. At the 4 minutes mark you can just feel the energy and determination of our group. Onwards and no looking back is the key to surviving this. Note the lovely drum rhythms in the background.
Album finisher "For Now, We Travel" is short and sweet and sounds like a sort of epilogue. In the earlier story, there's determination and the story finishes. Before they reach their place to be, there's a whole lot of traveling that needs to be done. It sounds as if the listener is looking from above, watching the group go for miles and miles. The heavy keys are magnificent by the way and confuses the listener a bit: will they make it?
Well, I can tell you (without trying to sound too cliché) this album is the best Postrock album I've ever had the pleasure to listen to made by a band from the Netherlands. Sometimes, readers and listeners ask me if I know of some great Dutch based Postrock bands and boy, All Shall be Well is the one. This album doesn't have the instant-satisfying stand-alone tracks like the new Caspian album, but it's an album that you can thoroughly enjoy as a whole. Whether you'll listen to ZWARTGROEN with 100% attention while enjoying a good glass of whisky (that comes highly recommended, I can tell you :) ), or whether you'll play this album during other activities like studying or reading, you'll be satisfied either way. There's a lovely flow in these tracks, every pluck of the guitar is crystal clear, the album sounds fantastic.
Added bonus: You can get a High quality download from All Shall be Well - Bandcamp for free due to the "Pay what you want"-amount. You'll also have the option to buy a cd or vinyl that comes with simply breathtaking artwork. Why won't you dive in? Enjoy, guys and girls!