Metal is currently waist deep in a really exciting transformative stage. Just look at all the former metalheads returning back to the genre with renewed excitement. Think about it — Mastadon, Jesu, Isis, Red Sparowes, Pelican, Converge etc. — all amazing bands twisting expectations about what metal is and should be. Personally, I like how these bands mesh a sort of mathy, indie melancholy with certified ferocity, and few perform this difficult balance as well as Chicago quartet Pelican.

Their site is peppered with tongue-in-cheek allusions to being “triumphant” but the truth is there isn’t a better word to describe their reclaiming of that proverbial “wall of sound” from Phil Spector. Seriously, just listen to “Far From Fields” from their upcoming third LP City of Echoes and if the absolutely epic stretch around 3:30 doesn’t have you struggling to uncover the meaning of life, then head directly to the morgue. It makes me want to take someone else’s life just so I have more for myself. I mean that in a good way of course. This is an advanced leak because the record doesn’t drop until June 5th, but should build the anticipation. In the meantime, get off the loveseat and grab their other equally “triumphant” records.

RIYL: Exlposions in the Sky, Red Sparowes, Hum, Party of Helicopters, Slint, Mouth of the Architect, Don Caballero

READ: Check out the Pelican Website or the band’s MySpace page

BUY: Get your Pelican on at