Post-metal is one of those genre labels that’s somewhat lost its meaning over the years. Originally used to label metal bands who didn’t fit any genre convention, it’s now a well established sound with distinctive hallmarks and trappings. So, along comes Folian with their debut full-length, Blue Mirror, which can only rightly be described as “post-metal”, but solely because of their ability to completely shatter genre norms, and venture wherever they sonically well please.
The main theme of Blue Mirror is duality, specifically the duality of being, and the struggle for clarity in times of hardship. This theme is incredibly clear in both the songwriting and production: for each dreamy, droning synth layer, there is a low, distorted sub kick; for every glossy guitar line, there’s a fuzz laden doom riff. The second track, ‘Go Alone’, demonstrates all these facets wonderfully. Though all these individual elements sound contrasting (and in a sense they are) the way Folian are able to make them feel cohesive is effortless. Each track takes on an otherworldly, psychedelic vibe which is nothing like what regular psych rock has to offer. Here, Folian’s psychedelia is cold, aggressive, yet oddly comfortable, and when coupled with the lyrics, which are both a joy to read and alarmingly close to home, Blue Mirror evokes that same bittersweet tug that shoegaze has perfected so well.
To use a somewhat pointless couplet, Blue Mirror is “truly unique”. The pairing of crushing, drone doom guitars and glossy, shoegaze inspired passages has certainly been somewhat dabbled in before, but none so with such extreme separation as this album.
Words: Sean Elias