Experimental metal tends to be a very hit-or-miss genre. Some bands come along and blow the minds of anyone who happened to be listening, making them question what the hell they just heard, while others come along and are fairly underwhelming.
Hertfordshire mob Petlib. (formerly known as Pet Library) are here to give the genre a go with their debut album, ‘Maker’.
The record gets off to an ominous start with ‘Dayseven’. The deep vocals paired with the jarring piano and background noises, creates an uneasy feeling from the second the needle hits, which, on this kind of album, is absolutely perfect.
‘Return’ is a short and punky track that even ventures into progressive rock territory, with some odd time signatures and interesting chords. The vocals add an unparalleled intensity that will have any listener biting their nails. Lead single, ‘Shell’, however, is a much heavier piece, both musically and emotionally, with the intense vocals kicked up more than a few notches.
The album has its softer points as well. ‘Ache’ is a piano-led track with mournful vocals that even the hardest and heaviest of metal fan will struggle to leave dry-eyed.
The title track finishes the album off in epic fashion. The ominous electronic whistling sound in the intro subsides into a tense drum roll with a guitar line playing off of it, before unleashing a full Enter Shikari-style attack. In the first verse it calls back to the opening track, with just a piano and a spoken vocal line, with the addition of synthesised strings that amp the emotion up. In the final minute, the song breaks down and loses all sense of control, keeping you on the edge of your seat until the last second.
While experimental metal is a difficult genre to pull off, Petlib. have managed it here. The contrast of the ominous tone, calming spoken vocals, and heavy instrumentals come together to create a soundscape unfathomable to most metal fans. ‘Maker’ is not an album to listen to in the background; it needs your undivided attention.
20/All things Scottish Rock/Emo/Metal