Like a great instrumental jazz album, Kerretta’s experimental post-metal substitutes the human voice for simple yet engaging melodies and intricate rhythms. The mark of a successful instrumental album when the absence of a vocalist isn’t a thought in the listener’s mind.
Vilayer is reminiscent, in parts, of Isis’ first full-length, Celestial, with its subtle crescendos and crunchy breakdowns. The New Zealand trio experiment heavily with ambient and shoegazing, though their songs are significantly more concise than some of their forbears, most of them between the four and six minute marks with the exception of the final track, “Bone Amber Reign” which clocks in at just under ten.
Delicately walking the line between beauty and dissonance, Vilayer balances soft linear melodies with hard-rocking power sections and spacey interludes. The music is dark, but not depressing or gloomy. It is pensive, as if the band sees pain or suffering in their midst but rather than rebel violently they refrain to warily contemplate their resistance.
It is a huge sounding record and a different direction of progressive, instrumental rock music. Not entirely ground-breaking; bands like Pelican, Russian Circles and Dysrhythmia have all done something similar, but Kerretta have a place in this genre and, more importantly; they have plenty of room to explore it further.