Nowadays, the term “post-rock” usually conjures up the sturm und drang of bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, and Explosions in the Sky, i.e., slow-burning instrumental pieces that build up to dramatic climaxes and often possess a decidedly post-apocalyptic tenor.
But on “Ascension,” Sweden’s Oh Hiroshima opt for something more subdued, though no less stunning. To be sure, the song is plenty brooding, with Oskar Nilsson’s cavernous drums sounding like distant thunder. But the subdued strings and Jakob Hemström’s layered guitars and hushed vocals imbue it with an elegiac quality that recalls, of all things, The Cure. As such, when the song reaches its inevitable climax, it hits in a different way than the aforementioned bands.
Much like Deafheaven expanded upon their “blackgaze” sound on their most recent album, Oh Hiroshima have expanded upon their post-rock sound with “Ascension,” and the result is a song of stirring beauty.