Music Dirty birds

The Chicago "instrumental metal" quartet Pelican arrived on the scene in 2003 with a well-received EP they coyly called Untitled. The four-song release was recorded by band members Laurent Lebec (guitar), Trevor de Brauw (guitar), Larry Herweg (drums), and Bryan Herweg (bass) for only $300 and subsequently distributed by Hydrahead records. The quartet resurfaced in 2004 with Australasia, a full-length debut that paved the way for two consecutive SXSW appearances and landed them on several year-end top 20 lists.


Pelican's latest effort, the sprawling The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw, is a seven-track helping of their signature heavy yet melodic sound. Like their previous work, the album includes intense, tightly wound, guitar-driven compositions that draw comparisons to bands like Isis and Neurosis, sans vocals. The freedom to work without vocals has allowed the band to explore its most evocative, cinematic inclinations. Adrenaline-fueled cuts such as "Last Day of Winter," "March Into the Sea," and "Autumn into Summer" invite listeners with measured pacing, relentless riffs, and an intoxicating emotional sludge.

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The group's syrupy hard rock hits home both for fans of the genre and listeners who simply appreciate tight musicianship. Pelican's highly amplified anthems should definitely strike a chord in the Alamo City, an enduring mecca for metal, even the kind that occupies the artsiest fringes.

- M. Solis

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