* * * *
In the head-down, all-consuming world of instrumental rock they don't come any more powerful than Mogwai. Since forming in Glasgow in 1996, the quintet have been among the leaders in the post-rock genre, alongside bands like Tortoise, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Explosions In the Sky. And on sixth album
The Hawk Is Howling
they reinforce the influence they take from metal with a beautiful and oppressive racket rivalling post-metal acts like Isis and Cult of Luna.
is more intense and sonic than 2006's tuneful
, easily the band's most accessible release.
It's on the dissonant chug and churn of
, and the latter stages of
I Love You
I'm Going To Blow Up Your School
, where the band show their true metal grunt. But then it's balanced by the light, slightly wheezy swing of
The Sun Smells Too Loud
and the smouldering intensity of
, the perfect example of not needing lyrics and vocals to get your message across.
It's the kind of music that escalates, sometimes erupting, but often just simmering and teetering expectantly as it does on Sigur Ros-like opener
I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead
, and the aptly titled last track
, which grinds out an epic ending to a dark, yet satisfying, record.