I’ve noticed that in a lot of the album reviews I’ve done in the past few months I’ve made one specific observation: the lack of a verse-chorus-verse structure. I bring this up whenever I get the chance because it’s usually associated with a more experimental presentation that I notice and appreciate, but by now I’ve probably reviewed more albums that don’t adhere to this standard songwriting practice than do. So strap in as I talk about yet another structurally experimental release, this drone metal EP by Mythless.
Confession: Metal music isn’t one of my areas of expertise, and I had never intentionally listened to a drone metal project before so I didn’t really know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to find a very restrained, emotive group of songs, kind of like a souped up Animal Collective sound. Opening track “Dreadless” kicks things off with a frenetic drumbeat and soft keys to propel things forward slowly, for me this was the weakest off the project because it had this one annoying piano line that kept popping up but the rest of the track was quite good; the vocals have a very intriguing cadence that says as much as the lyrics behind them and the way the drum patterns combine to elevate the song.
It only gets better from there, with closing track Glossless being a particular highlight. It has the slow, characteristic buildup of drone but with a driving pace and exciting horns that propel the track forward in a unique and fun way. The chanting vocals suit this instrumental style perfectly and the unceasing motion of the track makes every line feel like a powerful mantra which is the kind of maximalist vibe that I want to see out of this type of freeform, emotionally charged music.
Drone and its various forms has always felt somewhat unapproachable to me, as I got into music through vocal-focused indie rock and this is structurally different in almost every way. But if you’re like me and want to dip your toe into drone music but don’t know where to start, “We” is a pretty great place to begin, it’s accessible and almost like the pop of ambient music where it takes concepts that are definitely unique to the genre and packages them into short bursts of enjoyment. I know I have a long way to go and that this is a genre I’m by no means an expert on, but I know a good EP when I hear one and this definitely fits the bill.