5 years after the début, Canadian Greylevel (originally a duo that has grown up to become a full 5 member band), is now back with their sophomore: their awaited Hypostatic Union. And if Opus One had already shown a project with focused ideas and some degree of quality, this new album shows that an evolutionary path on the right direction has been taken. The music is solid and convincing, within its assertive framed parameters and emphatic artefacts.
For starters, the name of the band is quite illustrative of its musicality. The sonic adventures of Greylevel sound exactly like that: a playing in various degrees of grey, from its lighter tones to the darker, visiting all tonalities within. In this aspect, bands like (later) Metamorphosis, Vinc Project, (early) Pinneaple Thief and (a darker side of) Overhead immediately come to my mind, namely in what concerns the music colors, moods and emotions that are displayed and explored. Or even (very much indirectly) Antimatter and Anekdoten...like a sonic statement of “practice what you preach”. The more subtle yet present reminiscences of (mid-term) Porcupine Tree, (also mid-term) Radiohead and RPWL can also be noted, though the latest are not at all representative or can serve as guidance for those who want to know exactly how this band sounds.
When comparing to their first album, the sound here is much more consolidated and dynamic, with insidious guitar playing that, often, present a heavier and distorted (and tortured) sound that then is interlude by acoustic passages where normally the keys draw lush tapestries. In that aspect, this is (like said) a very solid release. The emotional singing not only perfectly match the various degrees of luminosity (or its absence), but do tremendously help to the wanted result. To be honest, this new album has exactly the ingredients that were missing in Opus One in order to make this band a name to keep a close eye upon. The drumming is very effective; the keyboards are stronger and more accurate in transporting the listener forth and from the various musical scenarios; and then the guitars have simply blown out of proportions the emotional effect and the dynamic flowing of the music.
If I had been quite impressed with their first album, now that I am listening to this new venture I cannot help myself thinking on how this band has evolved in terms of sound, quality, capacity to create different atmospheres and architect their tracks in an effective way that can make you feel cosy and warm with the same ease that it makes you feel dislocated, cold and distant, all in the same track and between tracks.
The album grows at each listen, as it needs you to enter the spirit of it. But when you do, you are rewarded with an excellent result and a very complete package for the genre. Just hold on to the roller-coaster of emotions…