Most kids in the metal scene will have probably already heard about this Pelican record by the time this is printed, so this message is for the rest of you: stop whatever you are doing, and figure out a way to buy Australasia! It is as good as everyone has been saying!
This wonderful masterpiece features sludgy, thick and syrupy guitar riffs which pound and steamroll through the entire record, never once pausing to take a breath. They occasionally do weird harmonics tricks -- think Coalesce -- but the majority of the guitar riffs are slow, progressive pounders, similar to early Godflesh riffs. The drums are uncomplicated, explosive and steady, rarely offering up unnecessary fills or other foolish fanciness. There are no vocals to speak of, this album is entirely instrumental.
So, what's so wonderful about an instrumental, mid-tempo sludge metal album? I'm not exactly sure, but the melodies and delivery of the songs on this record are simply masterful. The sound quality is pristine, and the guitars have that J. Robbins/Jawbox feel. I guess you could consider these guys math-metal, as well, although the time changes on this record are not all that frequent and are very subtle. I'm sorry I can't properly articulate why, but Australasia is simply one of the most striking, unforgettable and enjoyable metal albums that I've heard in years.
Hydrahead Records: http://www.hydrahead.com/