“Minus” is the fourth album release from Krakow. The album I know best is their second, Diin (2012), which is unremittingly grey and bleak. I prepared myself for another desolate journey.

Sure enough the patient lumbering tones of developing post metal are on us. The wailed vocals of “Black Wandering Sun” sound disturbed and not entirely in keeping, but there is atmosphere and intent in the instrumentals. The vocal technique is evidently deliberate as the feeble and distantly echoing cries find themselves about the controlled harshness of “Sirens” too. Violence prevails but I just couldn’t reconcile the vocals and the menace. “The Stranger” is a little better. It is haunting in nature and breaks off into an obscure, fuzzy world. Dreaminess and harshness collide in a good and interesting way. Ponderous and meandering gloom characterise the essentially post metal “From Fire, From Stone”. The distant cries are there once more. There’s a nice twist as the vocalist cries on his own without accompaniment, reflecting alienation and isolation before the grim and powerful pounding returns. The impact is grisly. There’s always more than a hint of Neurosis in all this, and the title track testifies to the theory, if proof were needed. Less layered than some of what has gone before, it ploughs on for nine minutes in a melancholic and absorbing way. The pattern is simpler and more appealing. There are instrumental explosions, which are appropriate to this enveloping adventure. “Tidlaus” is a good follow-up. It’s quietly bleak and haunting. I became hypnotised until the moment towards the end where a strange chorus cuts in and woke me up from the misty world that Krakow had done so well to create.

I found “Minus” a bit of a mixture. Instrumentally we have both developing atmospheres and contrasts. I didn’t really go for the vocals, which I found weak and disjointed compared to the rest of it. Krakow’s instrumental artistry is as beguiling as any. They tell a tale powerfully enough with the need for distraction.

(7/10 Andrew Doherty)