Mountainscape / Cinematic Post-Metal Mastery At 229 The Venue

For the London leg of the launch tour of the new album Iridescent from Reading three-piece Mountainscape, they were joined by Cambridge’s The Grey and Maebe from Bristol at 229’s intimate Venue 2 on Great Portland Street. There was a fairly small but appreciative audience for the first band, Maebe, but they played as if the room were full. The venue filled as the night went on, with a decent-sized and enthusiastic crowd for the other two bands.

Mountainscape

229 The Venue (Venue 2) – 7 June 2024

Words: Marisa Adams

Photography: Ryan Shotison

Mountainscape - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
Mountainscape – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison

Playing a mix of material from their new cinematic post-Metal album Iridescent and previous album Atoms Unfurling, Mountainscape treated us to a technical, ornate feast of instrumental narrative artistry with a clear sound which was faithful to their recorded material.

Under multicoloured lighting, grand, epic themes grew around a core of poignant melodies, delivered with an intense and consummate skill by all three musicians, who expressed warm appreciation to a very receptive and demonstrative crowd.

Mountainscape - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
Mountainscape – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison

Their music would perfectly describe, not just in sketch but in painstaking colour-saturated detail, every inch of their namesake and the elemental forces which created it.

They opened with new single Towering Monoliths, which could be the soundtrack to an epic ascent in flight alongside a rocky leviathan; a statuesque immensity of beetling edges, yawning fissures and jagged outcrops, caught with wisps of cloud and battered by mighty weathers which sent hair flying in the audience.

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Mountainscape - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
Mountainscape – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison

Finally breaking through far above into sunlight and soaring with lyrical harmonies over an immense fractal range of multihued peaks set in incandescent cumulonimbus, this vast edifice with its crowning sierra is revealed to be but one of a series of such structures rising out of a vast plain many a mile below. 

Mountainscape - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
Mountainscape – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison

What followed would be an apt and lavish description of the detail and the immensity of height and breadth of these lofty cordilleras receding chromatically to the edge of sight.

Arising out of serene, dreamlike soundscapes and complex yearning melodies with ethereal choral notes, heavy, blackened, intricate walls of sound bloomed. At times, these evoked a sky over sublime vistas darkening into airy thunderheads, which erupted into dense melodic storms, with cataracts of riffs over bass-heavy grooves.

Mountainscape - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
Mountainscape – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison

At others, a great ship sailing through the whitecaps of a mountain sea as shafts of pearly light broke through cloud or underground, a jewelled cave opening into vast caverns, their titanic crystals breaking through the earth to make a forest of formidable terrain.

Mountainscape - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
Mountainscape – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison

The trio closed the night with new single Iridescent, a garden of a safe haven after a perilous journey, undoubtedly worthy of the crowd’s enthusiastic response.

Mountainscape - 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison
Mountainscape – 229 The Venue – 7 June 2024. Photo: Ryan Shotison

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