[sic] Magazine

The Ascent of Everest – Is Not Defeated

The Ascent of Everest are a Tennessee post-rock collective with orchestral and traditional rock influences. The outfit formed in 2005, a pivotal period for the post-rock genre. Having been the exploding musical scene for a while, signs of entropy were already visible to those looking closely. The genre had split into variants. Its leading exponents were household names but a swathe of copyists offered nothing in the way of added value for an already saturated market. Post-rock was tiring and a good many releases were tired. Yet there were always interesting artists to fan the embers.

The Ascent of Everest were one such. Two albums were released that decade but then they went dark. Now the group break their nine year hiatus with third LP Is Not Defeated. Indeed the front cover runs the heading The Ascent Of Everest Is Not Defeated; i.e. with no punctuation whatsoever.

It feels like a statement of defiance.

In many ways it is. Is Not Defeated hasn’t been nine years in the making by design. Although work began circa 2012 the band has been beset by difficulties, – illness of various members, financial concerns and the loss of their home/studio to development work. Somehow they endured. Is Not Defeated is a hefty comeback, a double album full of contrasts – power and subtlety, progressiveness and accessibility. De facto first track ‘Buried In Leaves’ feels like signature TAoE, a portentous piece with chiming guitars propelled by an assured rhythm section. Yet this is no Brainiac, high-brow release. There’s a lot on offer here, for fans and newcomers alike. True, the more baroque chamber pieces could easily have found a home on the UKs Gizeh label. Yet there are moments that bring to mind the works of 4AD and even the shoegazer movement that undoubtedly took its influences from 4ADs flagship acts. There’s an ethereal folk rock feel at times, not unlike Slowdives cover of ‘Golden Hair’. ‘Words Fail’ has a loose playful, quality that puts me in mind of 4AD dub act Dif Juz. It isn’t the only jamming piece to be found here. There’s a sense and a logic to the fact that this release is coming on Hammock Music.

Fans of God Is An Astronaut, Yndi Halda, Pelican and GY!BE will find plenty to absorb here.