When I think of post-metal, I think of the color gray – this deep, melancholic sound that reminds me of rainy days and under-the-surface emotions. It’s supposed to be a soothing alternative to the intricacies of the other genres, a balm of sorts that allows a reset when you least expect it. Adding more elements from other genres may ruin that soothing atmosphere if not done correctly, especially if you have a penchant for the heavier instruments. However, in the case of Tanjiir’s Purnima, the prog elements that make up the backbone here not only add to the atmosphere of the record, they also give it a silver lining.
Now, if you were expecting vocals, there are none to be found. Purnima is entirely instrumental, conveying enough emotion without the use of vocals. Instead, the album asks you to suspend disbelief and just listen along for 40 minutes as they take your hand and guide you through a seamless, musical journey filled with stark joy and inherent melancholy. First track “This Planet Does Not Harbor Life” is melancholic in scope, but the heavy, melodic guitar employed throughout the song gives it color and warmth that makes you question when Tanjiir is going to drop the post-metal. The instrumentation is superbly executed, each musician coming in at different points to add texture and structure to a seamless flow that never breaks. You’d think the music would shift in mood or speed due to the various touches and embeds of noise and beats in every stroke or drum kick, but no – instead, what you get is consistent, upbeat music that does not shy away from being joyous. Even in its more aggressive and heaviest moments, Tanjiir stays on course to create this intense wall of sound that makes you forget about reality for a while.
It’s in this liminal space where the band immediately kicks it up a notch by bringing in that deep, atonal drum that makes your heart drop to the floor.
Although the album stays consistent within its themes — even throwing some aspects of prog reminiscent of what sounds like Ocean Machine — it’s the track “Hypergiant” that made something click in my brain. It’s possibly the heaviest track on the album, it is rivaled by the eleven-minute behemoth “Ad Astra,” with a slight doom influence that rivals Sinistro. It felt foreign in what was thus far a somewhat lively album, and it makes you wonder if they would expand on those themes as Purnima continues to play. Coming back to this song again and again after repeated listens, it’s the compelling, sinister tone at the beginning that makes me take notice of what’s happening here. It’s such a major shift from earlier in the album that it takes a while for it to settle in, but once it does, you notice touches and references to it throughout the rest of the album. These soft doom touches can also be found most prominently on “On The Shores of an Endless Ocean” – the track following “Hypergiant” – an immersive track that also utilizes a lot of prog to bring back to the same headspace that “This Planet..” put you in and keeps you there until the album ends.
And when it does, you will want to replay it again just to capture that headspace once more.