It isn't exactly news that post-rock — in all its many versions — is going through some sort of second (or even third) coming around the world, as also proven by the continued success of such bands as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mono, and so on (and we had a taste of this recently with Russian Circles as well).
Over the last decade or so, the seed of transcendent instrumental music has been sown in Ukraine as well, initially thanks to an idea by Igor (also known as Stoned Jesus' guitarist). Krobak are a quartet consisting of Igor himself (guitar), Asya (bass), Natasha (drums) e Marko (violin), originally inspired by the afore-mentioned names. Let me tell you straight away that the band clearly stepped up with "Nightbound".
The strong visual impact of the cover artwork, with its dark distinct lines and a diverse crowd of quasi-prehistoric animals conveys a general idea of the sheer colossal volume of the material we are about to listen to. The title "Nightbound" also comes from Igor's mind, apparently inspired by a Russian word, which left a positive impression on the rest of the band (the nocturnal theme is then reprised in "So Quietly Falls The Night" too).
This album is somewhat structured as a live setlist opening with "Stringer Bell", the perfect textbook post-rock song executed with heartfelt passion, which can work as the ideal soundtrack to pretty much anything you are experiencing. In "No Pressure, Choice Is Yours", the quartet goes on a much faster ride where, once again, the violin works very well together with the more traditional instruments. The following "So Quietly Falls The Night" focuses more on atmospheres and it shows some character especially in the middle (where the violin even reminded me of My Dying Bride), as Krobak never lose sight of their ultimate goal in the creation of this extremely conscious and multi-faceted work.
The ending track "Marching For The Freedom We Have Lost" almost works as an encore to the previous thirty minutes. A melancholic and almost visual touch, with which Krobak attempt at reaching out to our innermost strings in order to stimulate a reflection on recovering something that we as humans seem to have lost: the freedom to feel and not to hate.
I can say "Nightbound" is a really rewarding album, which might have even found some room somewhere in my 2016 list, had I listened to it a few months earlier. Krobak's latest work is suitable to any environment, as I have listened to it on countryside roads, around medieval alleys, gardens, and whatnot. If you like post-rock and are looking for some relatively new band, you will definitely want to check out this Ukrainian quartet.