Pothamus have given this crazy year the epic post-sludge soundtrack it deserves

Belgium has long been a hotbed for excellent post-rock and post-metal. Ever since Amenra began reaping underground acclaim in the early 2000s, the country has been home to a slew of brilliant genre bands and spotless experimental labels.

Pothamus continue the proud history of post-rock in their homeland with their debut album, Raya. They wear that Amenra influence on their sleeve, but also add characteristics of Cult Of Luna and even Om.

Making an hour of music out of just six songs, Raya is so expansive and hypnotic that it belies its creators’ inexperience. Produced by Chiaran Verheyden (who manned the dials for fellow Belgians Psychonaut’s otherworldly Unfold The God Man), it relies on the same gradual crawl that Amenra have used to create alluring dreamscapes.

However, while Amenra’s atmospheres are built through smooth guitar chords ascending to blackened crescendos, Pothamus use chopping basslines, dark synths and distant, quasi-spiritual choirs. Their heavy climaxes have all the fuzz and groove you’d get from Cult Of Luna, with just enough Sleep chucked in for good measure.

Fusing all the best bits from sludge and post-metal’s most lauded heavyweights into one, Raya is a mighty odyssey for genre fans, or just those who want to disappear into a totally alien aura for a short time.

Raya is released on December 4 via Consoulling Agency (opens in new tab).

Pothamus

(Image credit: Press)

Louder’s resident Cult Of Luna obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.