Published Dec 01, 2003Most of their detractors are eager to proclaim Explosions in the Sky as an after-the-fact post-rock hiccup, merely performing the funeral march as it's laid to rest, completely drained of any creativity it once held. While most of the genre's biggest names have grown terribly stale, EITS manages the daunting task of reviving the generally enervated "build, climax, repeat" formula. The last time the group played Toronto was during their stint as tour-mates with Trail of Dead, accomplishing the rare feat of out-performing the headlining act, which is especially impressive considering ToD's infamous live hysterics and EITS's lack of a vocalist or enigmatic front-man. Nearly two years later, the Austin, TX-based quartet's live show remains a uniquely deafening experience full of infectious and charismatic stage presence, now also complemented by an impressive restraint that is predominate on The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place. The set list consisted primarily of material from the new record, and though their new material focuses far more on melodic build than any sort of predictable climax, the show still managed to be remarkably intense. From opener "First Breath After Coma" to the indescribable energy of closer "Memorial" (watching the band perform this song was as mesmerising as the music itself), the band retained their incomparable ability to hypnotically lull their songs into being before sporadically pummelling them lifeless, leaving only a stunned audience behind after the walls of cacophonic distortion clear. Post-rock is dead? Against Explosions in the Sky, it never stood a chance.