Post-metal is one of those genres where, if things are done correctly, you will end up with an emotional, expansive atmosphere that makes you sway and feel something completely new. This genre is a tricky one to categorize, as it stands somewhere within the experimentation of avant-garde metal and the technical mastery of progressive metal. It sounds like a mixture of all of these genres but, simultaneously, it is none of these. Because of its undefined nature, post-metal allows for massive sound and technical experimentation, mixing elements together like a particle collider. In the case of Irish band Raum Kingdom, their debut Everything & Nothing brings post-metal, reminiscent of Isis (the band, not the militia), while mixing sludge elements into their music.
Everything & Nothing starts off with “Summon,” a track that begins with a fuzzy soundscape before the vocals come in, expressing something similar to rage or possibly desperation. What happens next is a moving yet paced soundscape that feels like a paradox: it doesn’t seem to move anywhere yet it moves towards something. The vocals alternate between audibly spoken and soaring throughout the track, but the music is blistering and hostile, with the drums keeping things consistent while the guitars bleed through. However, things eventually slow down and what once was comforting – the evenly paced “quiet” moments – has suddenly become terrifying, leading to the next track “Dig.” “Summon” feels like a false start, grooming you for what’s to come, and you can only hope that whatever it will be doesn’t singe you with its ferocity. Eventually, what you get is music that hits you like a ton of bricks, infused with trappings of sludge that makes the atmosphere seem heavier than what you’d expect from a post-metal album. The band’s drone aspect is heavy throughout as well, creating a haze that doesn’t go away, even when the vocals change.
There are also some feminine sounding vocals that feature prominently in “Winter,” which adds texture to the music. This balanced a lot of the harsher elements on the album, including the vocals, but not quite the same as Cult of Luna’s Mariner, where it was prominently featured throughout. It also may be a sound trick as they are peppered in other tracks, just in a lower tone. Perhaps those are vocalist David Lee’s control over his own voice, but there are times where you can’t differentiate between his and the female sound.
All in all, Everything & Nothing is a heavy album that requires your full attention. The music makes you sway on its rhythm and demands that you invest in it. Every time Everything & Nothing plays, you might hear something different – whether it is in the soundscape or in the melody underneath the atmosphere. This is truly a musical experience that needs individual exploration.