The last Wings of the ISANG release was in 2017. Now in 2021, the band returns with The Borderline between Hope and Despair and reintroduces their post-rock and psychedelic sound. The 10 song album is dense and powerful. Each track makes a statement and burns imagery into your head as it grows over each verse. Adding to the album are two vocal features by ASEUL, who helps add to the tracks by giving them a female voice over the darker tones.
A lot of The Borderline between Hope and Despair is instrumental with vocals coming in at different times. The guitars, bass, and drums are all in conversation, building on each beat. The guitars play the main voice to build the audio pathways. Bass guitar helps put foundations and stakes into the ground that note bigger steps. The drumming is excellent, highlighting steps and adding to the swelling track movement.
Breaking the album up by song disrupts the experience you will have listening from start to finish. There’s a precise journey that the listener will have going from “Shadow” to “Eternity.” Interestingly, ASEUL’s features happen on “Shadow” and “Eternity,” giving the album a start and bookend. When her voice comes through the instrumentals, it gives you a chill. It’s almost like her position is to present the retreating tide before the song hits a high point of energy.
Post-rock composition uses a lot of repetitive rhythms and melodies and the most talented bands find ways to constantly add and subtract to build interesting verses. Wings of the ISANG never have this problem. You always know what part of the song you’re in and even with tracks ranging from five to almost nine minutes, there’s never a lull or boredom. Also, the recording and mixing of The Borderline between Hope and Despair are perfect. Wings of the ISANG balance every instrument and when one needs a feature, the sound is centered without feeling awkward.
I’ve listened to Wings of the ISANG’s album many times and each added playthrough reveals something new. The density of the album is amazing and Wings of the ISANG also make it possible for new listeners to find elements that are easy to attach to. Post-rock is one of my favorite genres and bands inside this genre seem to come with one or two albums before disappearing into the ether. Wings of the ISANG was one of the bands I thought called it quits, but The Borderline between Hope and Despair gives me hope for the genre. This album is one of the best of 2021.