Thisquietarmy Unconquered

Montreal’s Eric Quach is turning his pseudonym and label into a very reliable outlet for genre-transgressive music. The label’s recent releases have included two excellent handmade EPs by Apillow (Below the Sea’s Patrick Lacharité) and the Sales Department (formerly Beef Terminal, MD Matheson). Quach’s music, released here by a Polish label, crosses boundaries where ambient guitar spills over into the world of doom/drone. Helping with the heavier lifting is guest Aidan Baker of Nadja, who adds portent to the opening track. The first four tracks work as an uninterrupted suite that undulates from the ominously shimmering hum of "Battlefield Arkestrah” through to "Warchitects,” where the drums are finally unleashed. The album’s second half lets a little more light in. "Death of Sailor” improvises watery travel around a slightly crippled guitar loop, while "The Great Escapist” features guest vocals by Meryem Yildiz, edging a too little closely to romantic metal territory, but without the synth or string section to truly wreck everything. Standout track "Mercenary Flags” imagines what Eluvium might sound like if more Jesu influence crept in. Definitely for fans of heavier ambience, Quach expertly avoids making an album from a single grey mood. (Foreshadow)