Darius Grain Front Cover 1400X1400Hummus is one of those labels that goes under the radar yet turns out top quality music through various genres and young Swiss horde Darius is one such act whose debut here showcases a maturity in song writing well beyond their embryonic years of existence. “Grain” is a debut full of sonic delights as the opener “Apache Assault” begins with a very sombre guitar hook and accompanying percussive touches. As the song intensifies it is typical of a band not afraid to stretch the confines of post rock and metal into something more palpable than plain math guitar sensibilities. The delicate instrumentation throughout this release typifies the bands unerring sense of confidence to stride forward in whatever direction they choose within their songs which vary in length significantly.

Instrumental music is a genre I have grown to adore in the last few years and whether it’s the melancholic splendour of this band or the more aggressive Maybeshewill right down into the dark wave retro electronic style that has gathered momentum in recent years the whole approach to instrumental music in the extreme phase has generated a healthy scene that I find particularly enthralling and inventive. As the opener ends the sublime melody of “Samantha” serves to introduce “Okkotemasu”, a ten minute track that weaves auditory threads around a doleful guitar hook and melody. Layering the song with ever increasing complexity is extremely subtly done, as the purposeful and deliberate transformation of the song is steeped in sadness as the guitar leads reminded me of 70s improvisations.

“Quasar” is heavier, contrasting with the previous songs it still revels in solemnity with sublimely executed tempo changes into gentler and more serene guitar work. Adding to this opus is a female choir whose exquisite vocalisations add panache and elegance to already majestic tunes. Parts of this listen like latter era Anathema, with acoustic guitar passages cementing together the various components of “Sane” as the guitar work will have some thinking about the softer moments of Opeth, right down to their acoustic album “Damnation” at times. Closing this release is “Used”, a sonic narcotic if ever I heard one, its grandiose approach is heartbreaking yet uplifting as the tune surges and lulls like flexing lungs and enhanced terrifically by the female choir that is so delicately poised wherever they appear. There is an effusive musical aroma about this release that is toxic and hedonistic in the way the band captures magnificent fluctuations in mood and ethos; a thoroughly engaging debut.

(8/10 Martin Harris)