Simplicity, patience and pacing colliding with power, density and unrelenting volume. Belgium based TURPENTINE VALLEY reduces its post-metal to purity, ‘etching’ it to the soul of anyone open to it. No words, massive sound. Hitting it hard. Layered guitars. Growling bass. Allowing music to tell its story: slow, intense, hard and relentless.
Although its members already play together for more than half a lifetime, Turpentine Valley still could be called a rather young band, only seeing the light in 2016. Releasing its debut album ‘Etch’ through Dunk!records on November 1st 2019 was the next step in spreading its instrumental post-metal ever since. Three songs from that record (‘Vergeten’, ‘Trauma’ & ‘Abrupt’) can be heard in the soundtrack of the Netflix crime drama ‘The Twelve’.
On 25 February, Dunk!Records releases successor ‘ALDER‘ on 12” vinyl, Ripcord Records takes care of the release of this album on tape. On this new album, the band explores the dark boundaries of the instrumental post-metal genre even more explicitly, without compromising on melody and intensity.
‘Parabel’, the opening single from “Alder” was released on December 16, 2021 and was also the first song that was finished for this new album and the only one the band included in their live playlist before.
Exactly 2 years ago Turpentine Valley released its debut album ‘ETCH‘ on Dunk!Records. No better moment for the post-metal trio to announce their next record called ‘ALDER’, to be released on February 25 2022 through Dunk!Records again. Alder has been produced by Tim Toegaert. Recording, mixing and mastering was done by Stef Exelmans, On this new album, the band explores the dark boundaries of the instrumental post-metal genre even more explicitly, without compromising on melody and intensity.
Artwork and track list will be released later, as will dates for a number of release shows. “We look back on an instructive writing process,” the band explains, “where jam sessions had to be replaced by writing music from a distance. But we ourselves are already super proud of the result and we are especially grateful that Dunk!Records has given us the opportunity, support and confidence again to release our new music.”
Turpentine Valley is: Kristof Balduyck – guitars, Thomas Maes – bass, Roel Berlaen – drums
“Alder” is being released on 25th February, with preorders starting 28th January. It is being released on vinyl by Dunk!Records (Belgium), on vinyl and CD by A Thousand Arms (US) and on cassette by Ripcord Records (UK).
Words by TURPENTINE VALLEY:
Music As A Soundtrack To A Thousand Different Lives
Simplicity, patience and pacing colliding with power, density and unrelenting volume.
“For the three of us (Kristof – guitar, Thomas – Bass, Roel – drums), Turpentine Valley is all about reducing post-metal to purity, ‘etching’ it to the soul of anyone open to it. No words, massive sound. Hitting it hard. Layered guitars. Growling bass. Allowing music to tell its story: slow, intense, hard and relentless. Although we had already played together for more than half a lifetime, Turpentine Valley still could be called a rather young band, only seeing the light in 2016. Releasing our debut album ‘Etch’ through Dunk!records on November 1st 2019 was the next step in spreading our instrumental post-metal ever since. Three songs from that record (‘Vergeten’, ‘Trauma’ & ‘Abrupt’) can be heard in the soundtrack of the Netflix crime drama ‘The Twelve’. On 25 February 2022, Dunk!Records releases our successor ‘ALDER’ on 12” vinyl in the EU, A Thousand Arms Records takes care of the US-release on vinyl and cd and Ripcord Records is taking care of the UK-release of this album on tape. On this new album, we explore the dark boundaries of the instrumental post-metal genre even more explicitly, without compromising on melody and intensity.”
From 1 message to a thousand personal stories
What’s remarkable for an instrumental post-metal band like us is that we never made instrumental music before we started this band about 6 years ago. As teenagers and twenty-somethings we did play together in numerous local (mainly) hardcore and punk bands. In the late 90s until late 2000s, that was the music we grew up with and found our way in to express ourselves in. Oddly enough, because it was the ideal outlet to let our voices be heard (preferably as loudly as possible;-)), to activate listeners’ consciences, or simply to be able to say in music what you couldn’t put into words in other circumstances. In short: lyrics were as important as the music that supported them for us back then. Gigs were cool if everyone sang along to the choruses or even took over from the singer. And we drew our inspiration from like-minded bands that managed to put together the songs we only dreamt of making ourselves, including in-your-face lyrics, hard riffs and catchy melodies. A lively scene was a real blessing for the young guys we were at the time. We found our ideologies and beliefs in a subculture where everything revolved around music, where we were understood and where we felt at home. The fact that we were shouting our message out to an audience full of like-minded people on a weekly basis, and barely getting heard out there (let alone making a meaningful difference), didn’t seem to really come to mind to any of us. Call it naivety, immaturity or just the fact that we were also largely about having fun amongst friends.
20 years later, we are no less convinced of our principles, but we no longer necessarily want to shout our opinions from the rooftops. This time, we want to use music to create an experience, a feeling. This time, it is more important for us to take the listeners on a trip that they can fill in themselves with their own experiences, which best suits the atmosphere a song radiates. For us, it’s about shaping a context or a soundtrack in which we hope people can recognize themselves or a situation they’ve been through. Hoping that the music heals or helps them to cope with it, brings you strength or satisfaction. How the content of the song is filled in, we prefer to leave to the listener. The most important thing is that the music gives you goose bumps as a listener.
A picture paints a thousand words. Instrumental music does too!
Playing instrumental music was an obvious thing for us from the very beginning of the band. Just because we wanted to focus on what we wanted to say with our instruments this time, without a text taking the listener by the hand, telling him or her the story we wrote from our own experiences. But we found out quickly that there are limits to what we were able to do in taking this choice, because it was far from easy to keep it musically exciting and captivating enough without a ‘storyteller’ in the band. Strangely enough, this made us realize what power music can have on its own. Until then, vocals and ‘lyrics with a strong message‘ dominated our musical preferences so much that the music itself was always inferior to it or had a supporting role to emphasize a certain anger or frustration by means of the loudest or fastest riffs or craziest breaks. Instrumental music logically provides a lot less distraction and forces you as a listener to concentrate on the music itself, to look for the message behind it yourself or – even better – to find out what meaning it holds for you personally as a listener. This is what gives us the most satisfaction at the moment. Because of course, as a band, you write a song from a certain feeling, but even then, for the three of us, there might be a totally different story behind it. When someone comes to us after a show, telling us that a certain song reminds him or her of a certain experience that is totally the opposite of our own idea when writing it, then we’ve accomplished our mission.
Because that is what we strive for: to leave our music as open to interpretation as possible. Hence the Dutch titles, which are no more than the original working titles based on good-sounding words that often have a link to English, but do not carry any message about what the song is about. Song titles in the first place should not push the listener too far into a certain direction in terms of content before even having heard the music that comes with it.
And yet … 1 song with lyrics on ‘ALDER’
Just to put ourselves into perspective and contradict everything said before: yes, the closing track ‘Veeleer’ on the new Turpentine Valley record ‘ALDER’ has lyrics. But also here – just like the music on the rest of the record – it gives the listener all the space for his own interpretation, as it is only abstractly written. The Dutch text is written in such a way that everyone can project it onto an experience from his or her own life, even though we wrote it from a specific angle. The fact that it took no less than 14 years to get these lyrics finished is a good example of these aforementioned thoughts. Words can be weighed and measured over and over again to get them right; the way you want them to express a feeling, but at some point, they must come out anyhow. Preferably in such a way that they perfectly reflect a self-experienced feeling and at the same time leave room for every listener’s own interpretation. If there is one thing this song has taught us, it is that instrumental music simply tends to bend itself in that direction so much easier.
– Thomas – Kristof – Roel