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Instar is Danish trio Silo's debut and despite its use of traditional instruments (drums, bass and guitars) this is no ordinary rock album. Although Silo grew up on a diet of 1990s heavy metal, the riffs have been stripped to the bone and are augmented by warm ambient textures, analogue synths and digital manipulation.

Flake sets the scene; occasional bass and guitar stabs eventually join a metronome drumbeat and a single synth note. A lazy guitar riff that echoes Throbbing Gristle completes this wonderfully hypnotic opener. Beat 41 and Cowboy, with its 'Lobe style' ending of burbling electronics and subtle piano riff, follow this theme, creating a sort of ambient rock with layers of guitar loops and occasional analogue synth noises.

Variety comes with the energetic Asset, which adds whispery vocals to the mix over a chugging bassline and relentless guitar loop, and Templates, an atmospheric, emotive theme for the post everything generation.

I suppose the term 'post rock' is more appropriate than 'rock' as a description for the album. Comparisons with Tortoise and perhaps the best of USA grunge acts may be made, but whether those references are of any use is debatable. Instar has its own voice and it shouts louder than most of its contemporaries. The digital elements, be it the manipulation of instruments or the added textures, move this album into a realm of intrigue. The combination of hard-edged riffs, chugging loops, metronome beats and ambient synths create an excellent rock album for the 'post-everything' generation.

Craig Grannell (April, 1999)

Cover artwork