Having cut their teeth in various bands over the previous 4 years all across the North West of England, the four members of A LAKE OF AYES came together in late 2018 through a mutual love of bands such as Russian Circles God is an Astronaut, Isis and Bossk. After initially jamming together, Slav (guitar) and Si (drums ex-Alter Eden) put a call out for like-minded musicians around Manchester and Lewis (bass ex-Dead Sea Apes) and Dom (guitar) answered. Quickly realising their combined tastes and skills complemented one another perfectly, they jumped into a recording studio to lay down some demos in March of 2019 and by April they were on the gigging circuit in and around Manchester. Clocking up shows at The Star and Garter (Manchester), The Rigger (Stoke) and Sunbird Records (Darwen) to name but a few this has cemented them in the underground Manchester scene. Fast forward 3 years from their inception, the band’s brand new 5-tracker “Ouro Sobre Azul” is released via Ripcord Records and today, we’re stoked to celebrate it with a special track by track commentary and the band’s top picks for “post-everything” / post-metal records in 2020/2021!
Having used this time to fine-tune their sound and tighten their craft, they once againjumped in the studio to lay down their mini-album ‘Ouro Sobre Azul‘ (literally “”Gold Over Blue”” in Portuguese) at No Studios with Joe Clayton (Pijn, Leeched, Curse These Metal Hands Ithaca), thoughtfully chosen to bring out the bands as-of-yet untapped potential, and mastered by Tom Peters at Trapdoor Studios (Alpha Male Tea Party, The Hyena Kill, VASA, Body Hound).
Crushing riffs with surprising clarity intertwine with meandering, melancholic passages of subtlety and underlying tension allow this record to work seamlessly. Unlike a lot of post-metal, A Lake of Ayes bring driving focus to their songs.
Whilst on the longer side, none of the tracks outstay their welcome. The instrumentation is incredibly precise whilst deliberately avoiding the realms of tech-metal;the drums especially resonate with a sense of urgency but allow the focus to be drawn to the glistening guitars or punchy bass. The cymbals shimmer, lifting the listening experience to fill the space remaining between the accurate, controlled aggression of the bass lines and the juxtaposing guitars each of which holds their own by remaining sonically unique yet remarkably complimentary.
For full track by track breakdown of “Ouro Sobre Azul”, scroll further down.
Lewis’ Top 10 favourite post-everything Covid-19 lockdown Records, in random order:
1. Push – Heads
The almost spoken word Aussie accented vocals of the whole 10 tracks really set the tone of an aggressive and punchy album where it seems like the drums and bass take the lead. This should definitely be the soundtrack to the next Mad Max film.
I saw Svalbard in 2019 at the Manchester Punk Festival and wasn’t hugely into them. Recently my housemate said I should give them another try and that their new album will win me over. Alas, it did and now I am in love. Shoegaze, post-metal & hardcore go together quite well it seems…
3. Infinity Stare – Alpha Male Tea Party
Tom Peters (guitars) mastered our album so it would be completely amiss of us not to include his band’s album in this list. AMTP lead the way in the British math(s) rock scene, chugs & widdles a plenty on this album.
4. Inlet – Hum
Hum’s triumphant return! And what a return! Easily my favourite album of 2020, awfully overlooked in ‘album of the year’ lists. Such sad news to hear of Bryan St.Pere’s recent passing.
5. Drool – Part Chimp
How do you improve on Part Chimp’s already massive, fuzzy, filthy sound? Add another bassist, obviously. This most recent output is more of the same Part Chimp that we all know & love and that’s exactly what we want to hear.
6. Habits – Elephant Tree
Elephant Tree do the whole dreamlike soundscapes so well. The entire album is superbly mixed and mastered, every instrument is given room to shine. The UK is doing alright in the stoner/doom category currently.
7. Ellengaest – Crippled Black Phoenix
The most gothic piece of music I’ve ever heard and my mum was a full card carrying goth of the 80’s so clearly I have the most informed insight on the topic. Also CBP’s leader Justin Greaves’ featured in genre leading bands such as Iron Monkey & Electric Wizard so it’s gotta be good.
8. Groundswells – Wren
Dutty rayt dutty. Absolutely massive album. Dissonance all over the place. Would absolutely love to play a show with this lot.
9. Mestarin Kynsi – Oranssi Pazuzu
Mayhem do post-metal, essentially. So damn evil and overbearing. Wonderful listening for autumn evenings.
10. Consolamentum – Year of no Light
I love the stop/start nature of this album, when you think a track is fading out to finish it comes back for another round of crushing guitars and dual drums.
A Lake Of Ayes – Ouro Sobre Azul
Track by track commentary:
This track’s beginnings start from the embryonic incarnation of the band of just Si (drums) & Slav (guitars) jamming together in Stockport. The skeleton of the song was written at home by Slav and brought to the jams. It was finalised in its current guise when Lewis (bass & vocals) joined the band. It’s a good introduction to the band and the style we were looking for. It’s a great example of just jamming and letting the song form without having to meticulously dissect everything, essentially why the track goes through so many different tonal shifts.
The track that really solidified us as a band as this being the first track we wrote as a full line up after Dom (guitars & vocals) joined and we moved the band to Manchester. The message behind the song and who it’s dedicated to just screams raw emotion. I think it’s our most ‘laid bare’ track. A slightly different approach to Jeff’s Bridge as Preserve focuses on the wall of sound build up, with it changing shape, becoming bigger & bolder until the ending drawn out notes. It’s also noticeable as the first track which utilised vocals, something which up ‘til now we were totally against.
Attack Ships On Fire
This track is noticeable as being the track we paid the most attention to in terms of transitions and carving out the right path. Without intending for Attack Ships to be one of the singles, it’s probably our most straight forward track. We condensed a lot of the power and density alongside the ambience and psychedelia that we love to experiment with. There’s no real recollection of us necessarily messing around with it once we got the bare bones of the track together, just had that gut feeling of ‘that’s it’. R.I.P Rutger Hauer
Tell Schrodinger I’m Alive
This is the most ‘accurate’ song in terms of demonstrating what kind of band and sound we are. At this point of writing, we’d built a lot of confidence and trust as a writing unit and this genuinely shows in this song. It’s a journey without the clichés of that saying, the lull of the false sense of security with the ambient opening to when the heavy section drops in, again there’s a complete tonal shift which we wanted to be as abrasive as possible without it sounding disjointed. The lyrics arise from having a panic attack and writing about it. Currently it’s the only track written which features all four of us on gang vox. We just tried ticking all the boxes of the styles we love with this one.
The initial ideas of this song were much more ‘drone’ than the one you hear on the album, also was completely written back to front. Again, another example of our jam-like writing style fleshing out into a song, it’s got this frenetic trippiness that changes dynamic just when you think you have a grip on what the song is doing. We’ve always thought of this one as a song of three sections, the first being the high-octane tinged intro and initial riffs, the second when things are slowed right down in the stoner almost bluesy section before really experiencing a messy trip where we’re almost playing 4 separate solo’s the songs climax.