Swedish Port Noir already made an impact when their debut album Puls was released in 2013 as their music fused the likes of Muse with Tool and topped it with a gentle touch of pop and postrock. The four track EP Neon, that hit the shelves last year indicated that the band had embraced the poppy side of their music and thereby could be lost on progressive rock fans. However, the second full album brought revenge; Any Way The Wind Carries takes them back to the music of the first album and even beyond. The Swedish trio responsible for the album still consist of vocalists and guitar player Love Andersson, guitar player Andreas Hollstrand and drummer Andreas Wiberg.
Any Way The Wind Carries sees the addition of the good old fashioned synths, to give the compositions more depth and the overall sound has become more intense, darker, but still melodic with a rougher edge. Musically the reference to Maynard James Keenan of Tool and A Perfect Circle is obvious, Love also has that significant melodramatic sound that perfectly suits to Port Noir's music, listen to Fur / Rye and you will agree and experience the beauty of Port noir's music. The aforementioned synths take a song like Earth to another level-here the band sounds like the perfect marriage of Leprous' musical style and vocals and Agent Fresco for the melodic element and the emotional part of the vocals. No wonder Earth is one of my personal favourites on the album. Vous Et Nous stylistically also has some (minor) Leprous references, but where the Norwegian band is the perfect master in minimalistic riffs and intense vocals, Port Noir adds a more melodic guitar playing, which differs them and helps them create their own identity. Any Way The Wind Carries sees a lot of variation in the compositions, songs like Black From The Ink, Exile, The Sleep and Beyond The Pale; with a nice eighties feel, show a perfect balance between the modern heavy guitar sound and smooth melodic passages. Others like the title track Any Way The Wind Carries and Come What May are more straight-forward and will be perfect songs to enjoy during a concert. Slightly different is the final track The Oak Crown, which takes down the tempo, but also intensifies their music with emotional vocals and a desperate atmosphere.
The addition of the well-used synths on Any Way The Wind Carries, do take this album a huge step further up the ladder since the release of Puls. To me it seems the overall sound has grown in depth and intensity, due to the additional layers that can be found in Port Noir's music. For me, this will be an album that I will keep playing on and on, just because of the album's atmosphere. Progressive fans that like the aforementioned Leprous and Agent Fresco, really should listen to this fabulous album, but also fans of Tool and Karnivool will absolutely find music to their likings on Any Way The Wind Carries.
***** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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