Pelican is one of the few bands with which you can use the term "soundscape" without sounding pretentious, because that’s really the only way to describe its sound. Rather than just throwing some songs together and calling it an album, the band weaves an atmosphere, an aural journey across the frozen wastelands of the soul.

OK, that’s pretty pretentious, but the bleak glacier on the cover certainly evokes that, and since there are no lyrics, I’m just going with what I have to look at.

Looking at the song titles, this seems to be a concept album about the progression of seasons in the Arctic, expressed entirely through instrumental sounds – and as much as I’d like to mock Pelican for such a pompous endeavor, the band actually pulls it off. By taking the sludgy post-metal of Neurosis and Isis, getting rid of the growling vocals and adding quiet acoustic passages, the band sends each listener on his or her own individual emotional journey, drifting with the music as it flows from tranquil seas to churning whirlpools.

You wouldn’t want to put this on at a party (unless you really want to kill the festive mood), but it’s the perfect soundtrack to sitting alone in your apartment, in the dark, contemplating the movements of glaciers.

Grade: A