Out of Audubon, Iowa, Cities of the Plain is a musical project from the mind of Sam Blum. With this latest album, Salt, we are reminded of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. With a warning from the heavens that their sinful city will be laid to waste, one instruction is given: do not look back. Even if you are not familiar with the story, I think there are enough clues here to decide what happens.
And that may be, at least in part, why this story lends itself so well to an instrumental format. It's not so much the narrative itself...what is important are the reactions. Salt is a multi-movement progressive tale where no words are necessary. Mixing some crunchy Darkest Hour riffs with post-rock and sludge, to say the result is "atmospheric" is a bit of a herp-a-derp. It's quite breathtaking.
The closest overall parallel would most definitely be Russian Circles. And I'm talking the good ol' days of Enter when metal was still an applicable descriptor. Those unfamiliar with RC might also draw some mild connections to Tool. The guitar lines and fabric of drums and bass form some that is scintillating and expressive. While some music in the atmospheric category is more focused on state of mind than hooks, Cities of the Plain know that these concepts are not mutual exceptions.
Once again, an instrumental act proves that you don't need vocals to tell a story. Salt is progressive, atmospheric, and above all; gorgeous. It covers more ground in 20 minutes than most groups can in 60. There are different, complex emotions conveyed on each track presented both through spacey transcendancy and crunchy rock grooves. Pick this up today for Name Your Price and DON'T LOOK BACK.