SET AND SETTING- ‘Tabula Rasa’

Set and Setting’s last album struck a brilliant balance. 2017’s ‘Reflectionless’ was part starry ambience, part metallic technicality, all instrumental awesomeness. A year later and ‘Tabula Rasa’ sees the scales tip, perhaps naturally, towards the heavier end of the scale. There are harder edges, heavier riffs, and extra helpings of ominous darkness here. The shift will work for some, there’s little denying this is a more immediate effort, but a touch of what made this Floridian four-piece stand out has faded away. ‘Perenial Longing’ soars expertly spacewards and the sombre tone of ‘Elucidation’ (with novel use of horns) is excellent, but while ‘Revisions Through…’ is Mastodon with all the fat trimmed off, some of the brains are missing too, and ‘…The Black Swan’ is about as typical as post-metal can get. It’s still streets ahead of most of the competition and regularly defies categorisation but ‘Tabula Rasa’ sees Set and Setting settle for a lesser standard.

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