Pelican (band)

Last updated
Pelican performing at Sant Feliu Fest 2004.jpg
Pelican performing at Sant Feliu Fest in 2004
Background information
Origin Des Plaines, Illinois, United States
Years active2001 (2001)–present
Labels Hydra Head, Southern Lord, The Mylene Sheath
Associated actsTusk
MembersTrevor Shelley de Brauw
Bryan Herweg
Larry Herweg
Dallas Thomas
Past membersLaurent Schroeder-Lebec

Pelican is a post-metal quartet from Chicago, Illinois. Established in 2001, the band is known for their atmospheric and almost entirely instrumental style. They have released five studio albums and four EPs.

Post-metal is a style of music that is rooted in heavy metal but explores approaches beyond the genre's conventions. It emerged in the 1990s through the work of bands such as Neurosis and Godflesh who transformed metal texture through experimental composition. Associated with and inspired by post-rock and post-hardcore, the genre employs the darkness and intensity of extreme metal but emphasizes atmosphere, emotion, and even "revelation", drawing on a wide range of sources including ambient, noise, psychedelic, progressive, and classical music to develop an expansive but introspective sound. Post-metal songs are typically long, with loose and layered structures that discard the verse–chorus form in favor of crescendos and repeating themes. The sound centres on guitars and drums; any vocals are usually screamed or growled and resemble an additional instrument.

Illinois State of the United States of America

Illinois is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes region of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois is often noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway to the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.

An instrumental is a musical composition or recording without lyrics, or singing, although it might include some inarticulate vocals, such as shouted backup vocals in a Big Band setting. Through semantic widening, a broader sense of the word song may refer to instrumentals. The music is primarily or exclusively produced using musical instruments. An instrumental can exist in music notation, after it is written by a composer; in the mind of the composer ; as a piece that is performed live by a single instrumentalist or a musical ensemble, which could range in components from a duo or trio to a large Big Band, concert band or orchestra.


History and style

The band is known for dense combinations of different melodies and extended track lengths. It may be classified as stoner rock, doom metal, or post-rock. Larry Herweg, Trevor de Brauw, and Laurent Schroeder-Lebec are also three members of the band Tusk.

Stoner rock, also known as stoner metal or stoner doom, is a rock music fusion genre that combines elements of heavy metal and/or doom metal with psychedelic rock and acid rock. The name references cannabis consumption. The term desert rock is often used interchangeably with the term "stoner rock" to describe this genre; however, not all stoner rock bands would fall under the descriptor of "desert rock". Stoner rock is typically slow-to-mid tempo and features a heavily distorted, groove-laden bass-heavy sound, melodic vocals, and "retro" production. The genre emerged during the early 1990s and was pioneered foremost by Monster Magnet and the California bands Fu Manchu, Kyuss and Sleep.

Doom metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music that typically uses slower tempos, low-tuned guitars and a much "thicker" or "heavier" sound than other heavy metal genres. Both the music and the lyrics intend to evoke a sense of despair, dread, and impending doom. The genre is strongly influenced by the early work of Black Sabbath, who formed a prototype for doom metal with songs such as "Black Sabbath", "Children of the Grave", "Electric Funeral" and "Into the Void". During the first half of the 1980s, a number of bands from England, the United States and Sweden defined doom metal as a distinct genre.

Post-rock is a form of experimental rock characterized by a focus on exploring textures and timbre over traditional rock song structures, chords or riffs. Post-rock artists are often instrumental, typically combining rock guitars and drums with electronic instruments. The genre emerged within the indie and underground music scene of the 1980s and early 1990s. However, due to its abandonment of rock conventions, it often bears little resemblance musically to contemporary indie rock, borrowing instead from diverse sources including ambient music, electronica, jazz, dub, and minimalist classical.

Pelican previously signed to Hydra Head Records but is currently signed with Southern Lord Records roster. [1] Pelican toured with Wolves in the Throne Room to support their first EP for Southern Lord, Ephemeral, released on June 6, 2009. [2] What We All Come to Need was released on October 27, 2009. [3] Greg Anderson and Aaron Turner both appeared on the album. In celebration of the new album, the "Pelican Burger" was served at Kuma's Corner for one night. [4]

Hydra Head Records is an independent record label that specializes in extreme metal music, founded in New Mexico by Aaron Turner in 1993. It has another imprint, Hydra Head Noise Industries, which specializes in experimental and noise music.

Southern Lord is an American heavy metal record label that was founded in 1998 by Greg Anderson. Initially, Southern Lord specialized in what could broadly be classified as experimental metal, particularly the slow-moving doom metal, stoner rock, and drone metal subgenres. Some of the more notable artists on the label include Baptists, Earth, Om, Goatsnake, Khanate, Obliterations, Pelican, Sleep and Sunn O))), among others. More recently, the label expanded its line-up to include artists from the black metal subgenre, including releases by Twilight, Wolves in the Throne Room, Xasthur, and Striborg. They have also released albums by hardcore punk and crust punk bands like Burning Love, Agrimonia, and Wolfbrigade.

Wolves in the Throne Room American black metal band

Wolves in the Throne Room is an American black metal band formed in 2003 in Olympia, Washington by brothers Aaron and Nathan Weaver. They have released six full-length albums, two live albums, and one EP to date. They have stated one of the founding concepts of the band to be channeling the "energies of the Pacific Northwest's landscape" into musical form.

In 2012 Pelican announced a new EP, Ataraxia/Taraxis . In April 2012, they began a European tour, playing in England, Italy, Germany, Finland, the Dunk Festival in Belgium and the Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands. The support bands for this tour included Bo Ningen and Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster in the UK, and Tombs in continental Europe.

<i>Ataraxia/Taraxis</i> 2012 EP by Pelican

Ataraxia/Taraxis is a 2012 extended play (EP) by American post-metal band Pelican, released through Southern Lord Records on April 10, 2012. Ataraxia/Taraxis was Pelican's final release to include founding guitarist Laurent Schroeder-Lebec.

Roadburn Festival is an international music festival held in Tilburg, Netherlands every April since 1999. It was set up as a spin-off from the Roadburn music blog founded by Jurgen van den Brand and Walter Hoeijmakers. Originally focused on stoner rock, Roadburn grew into a major event spanning the entire spectrum of heavy rock and experimental music. The key staff involved with running the festival are Frens Frijns, Walter Hoeijmakers and Becky Laverty.

Tombs is a post-metal band from Brooklyn, New York, formed in 2007. Thus far, the group has released four full-length records, Winter Hours, Path of Totality, Savage Gold, and The Grand Annihilation.

In June 2012, the band announced an amicable split with guitarist and founding member Laurent Schroeder-Lebec. Schroeder-Lebec had not been touring with the band for the prior two years, with Dallas Thomas of The Swan King performing live in his stead, but not participating in the writing process. [5] On October 15, 2013, Pelican released its fifth studio album and first without Schroeder-Lebec, Forever Becoming . [6]

<i>Forever Becoming</i> 2013 studio album by Pelican

Forever Becoming is the fifth studio album by American post-metal band Pelican. The album was released on October 15, 2013 through Southern Lord Records. Forever Becoming marks Pelican's first release to not include founding guitarist Laurent Schroeder-Lebec.

Pelican announced three new upcoming releases in February 2019. The first of which was a remixing/remastering of Forever Becoming. While Pelican was satisfied with the original recordings, Chris Common mixed the tracks in a makeshift studio with "less-than-ideal circumstances" that "varnished the incredible tones generated during tracking". Southern Lord described the deluxe reissue as bringing "a new level of low-end depth, atmospheric clarity, and tight, punchy heaviness to the album". Pelican also announced new album was coming in 2019, and slated a new single from that album "Midnight and Mescaline"/"Darkness on the Stairs" for release on Record Store Day. [7] Months later in April 2019, Pelican released the track "Midnight and Mescaline" for online streaming and formally announced their sixth studio album would titled Nighttime Stories and would be released on June 7, 2019 through Southern Lord. [8]

Record Store Day annual event in April to celebrate independently-owned record stores

Record Store Day is an annual event inaugurated in 2008 and held on one Saturday every April and every Black Friday in November to "celebrate the culture of the independently owned record store". The day brings together fans, artists, and thousands of independent record stores across the world. A number of records are pressed specifically for Record Store Day, with a list of releases for each country, and are only distributed to shops participating in the event. The event began in the United States and remains headquartered there. Record Store Day has official international organizers in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Australia, Spain, and Poland.

<i>Nighttime Stories</i> 2019 studio album by Pelican

Nighttime Stories is the sixth studio album by American post-metal band Pelican. The album was released on June 7, 2019 through Southern Lord Records. In April 2019, Pelican released the song "Midnight and Mescaline" as a digital and 7-inch single.


Regarding the band's genre, de Brauw said, "I think people use genres and tags to serve a purpose – it gives people a frame of reference to understand music by – but I don’t think any artist feels comfortable being tagged as anything. I have an affinity for metal, but I don’t think of Pelican as a metal band. So when people call us ‘instrumetal’, or post-metal, or metalcore or whatever, I can see why they say that, but it’s not something that I feel a close connection with. I feel we’re part of a community with some bands – Mono are good friends of ours, but I don’t feel that we’re that similar musically. Their music is more similar to classical music, whereas I feel ours has more in common with punk and hardcore. I feel like we’re part of a trajectory of Midwest bands that kind of blend aggression with a pop sensibility, so while it’s easy to classify us with instrumental bands, we’re not instrumental by design. We just didn’t know how to put vocals in our music and for it to sound right. When you start a band, you don’t have it in mind to be an instrumental band – these things are afterthoughts when your music’s out there." [9]

Speaking on the plethora of labels used to describe Pelican's genre, bassist Bryan Herweg states that "it's flattering, really", and that "I take that as nobody being able to classify what we're doing. I really don't want to be fixed in one genre." [10]

As for the instrumental nature of the band, Herweg states that "I think there are limitations that come with having a vocalist. If we had some big burly man in front screaming, we'd be classified as metal. If we had some scrawny guy we'd be emo. As it is, no one can pin us down." [10]

Touring has evolved the band's style from "drawn-out... slow-building" to "more direct and faster, and straight to the point" material to provide more energy on stage. [9]




Studio albums
Live albums
Singles and music videos
Multi-format sets
Other appearances


  1. "Pelican joins Southern Lord, plans new EP". idiomag. 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2009-02-13.
  2. "Pelican announce "Ephemeral" EP". 2009-04-23. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
  3. "PELICAN Completes Work On New Album". . 4 August 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  4. "PELICAN Announce In-Store Performances; Pelican Burger Unveiled; CD Pre-order with exclusive content begins Tuesday". Southern Lord. 2009-10-09. Retrieved 2009-10-11.
  5. "PELICAN's LAURENT SCHROEDER-LEBEC Taking Indefinite Hiatus From Band". . Roadrunner Records. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  6. Heaney, Gregory. "Forever Becoming - Leican : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". Allmusic. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  7. 1 2 "Pelican To Release Midnight And Mescaline 7", Band's First New Music In Six Years, As Record Store Day Exclusive; June Tour With Cloakroom Booked + Remixed & Remastered Version Of Forever Becoming LP Out Now". Southern Lord Records . February 26, 2019. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  8. Minsker, Evan (April 11, 2019). "Pelican Announce New Album Nighttime Stories, Share New Song". Pitchfork . Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  9. 1 2 Mike Diver (2007-03-27). "Pelican: "We're neither trend setters nor trend followers"". Drowned in Sound . Retrieved 2007-03-29.
  10. 1 2 Allan Wigley (2006-06-14). "Pelican's music tough to categorize". Ottawa Sun . Archived from the original on 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2007-08-02.

Related Research Articles

Judas Priest British heavy metal band

Judas Priest are an English heavy metal band formed in West Bromwich in 1969. The band has sold over 50 million copies of their albums to date. They are frequently ranked as one of the greatest metal bands of all time. Despite an innovative and pioneering body of work in the latter half of the 1970s, the band struggled with indifferent record production and lack of major commercial success or attention until 1980, when they adopted a more simplified sound on the album British Steel, which helped shoot them to rock superstar status.

After Forever Dutch metal band

After Forever was a Dutch symphonic metal band with strong progressive metal influences. The band relied on the use of both soprano vocals and death grunts.

DragonForce British metal band

DragonForce are a British power metal band based in London, England. Formed in 1999, the group are known for their long and fast guitar solos, fantasy-themed lyrics, and electronic sounds in their music to add to their retro video game-influenced sound. DragonForce have released seven studio albums, two live albums, one compilation album, one live DVD and one demo.

Floor Jansen Dutch singer and songwriter

Floor Jansen is a Dutch singer, songwriter, and vocal coach. She is currently the lead vocalist of Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish.

I Killed the Prom Queen Australian metalcore band

I Killed the Prom Queen was an Australian metalcore band from Adelaide, formed in 2001. The band feature prominently on the Australian live music scene and toured the US, Japan and parts of Europe several times. They issued three studio albums, When Goodbye Means Forever... (2003) Music for the Recently Deceased (2006) – the latter reached the top 30 on the ARIA Albums Chart and most recently Beloved (2014). The group split up in April 2007 due to the inability to find a permanent vocalist. I Killed the Prom Queen reformed to play a farewell tour in mid-2008 and released a live album and DVD, Sleepless Nights and City Lights, which peaked in the top 50. In May 2011, the band reformed for the Destroy Music Tour with new vocalist Jamie Hope and spent the next two years working on a third studio album, which was released in early 2014.

<i>March into the Sea</i> 2005 EP by Pelican

March into the Sea is the second EP by Chicago-based instrumental metal band Pelican, released in 2005 by Hydra Head Records. The title track is the original version of the shortened song "March to the Sea" from their 2005 album The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw, which was released just a month-and-a-half later. The second track is a Justin Broadrick remix of "Angel Tears", a song from their 2003 debut full-length Australasia.

Lair of the Minotaur is a thrash/sludge metal band from Chicago, Illinois.

<i>City of Echoes</i> 2007 studio album by Pelican

City of Echoes is the third full-length album by American post-metal band Pelican, released in June 2007 on Hydra Head Records. The album's thematic center is one of globalization; critics received this intention with varying degrees of enthusiasm.

In This Moment American Metal Band

In This Moment is an American metal band from Los Angeles, California, formed by singer Maria Brink and guitarist Chris Howorth in 2005. They found drummer Jeff Fabb and started the band as Dying Star. Unhappy with their musical direction, they changed their name to In This Moment and gained two band members, guitarist Blake Bunzel and bassist Josh Newell. In 2005, bassist Newell left the band and was replaced by Pascual Romero, who was later replaced by Jesse Landry.

<i>Ephemeral</i> (EP) 2009 EP by Pelican

Ephemeral is the 2009 follow-up to the PLCN/TAAS split EP by American post-metal band Pelican. It is their first album to be released since signing to Southern Lord Records. The album consists of two previously unreleased songs in addition to a cover of "Geometry of Murder" by Earth featuring Earth guitarist Dylan Carlson.

Animals as Leaders American band

Animals as Leaders are an American instrumental progressive metal band from Washington, D.C. It currently consists of guitarists Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes and drummer Matt Garstka, having been formed by Abasi in 2007. They are a prominent band within the djent scene. Prosthetic Records released the band's eponymous debut album in 2009. They went on to release the albums Weightless (2011), The Joy of Motion (2014), and The Madness of Many (2016).

<i>What We All Come to Need</i> 2009 studio album by Pelican

What We All Come to Need is the fourth studio album by American post-metal band Pelican. The album was released on October 27, 2009 through Southern Lord Records and was the band's first for the label after leaving Hydra Head Records earlier in 2009.

Intervals is a Canadian progressive metal band. Formed in Toronto, Ontario, the band has toured throughout Canada and the United States with bands such as Animals as Leaders, Protest The Hero, Between The Buried and Me and The Contortionist.

Deny the Absolute single by Pelican

"Deny the Absolute" is a song by the American rock band Pelican and originates from the group's 2013 studio album Forever Becoming. Prior to the release of Forever Becoming, an alternate version of "Deny the Absolute" was released in two formats on August 20, 2013. The first was a 7" vinyl-only single released through The Mylene Sheath featuring the B-side "The Truce," and the second was an iTunes-only compilation EP released through Southern Lord Recordings featuring tracks from Pelican's previous Southern Lord releases such as What We All Come to Need, Ephemeral and a music video for "Lathe Biosas" from Ataraxia/Taraxis directed by Diona Mavis.

Dark Sermon is an American blackened death metal band from Tampa, Florida signed to eOne Music in North America and Nuclear Blast Records in Europe. The band was formed in 2009 under the name In Reference to a Sinking Ship and later changed their name to Dark Sermon in 2012. The band's most recent effort, The Oracle, was released on August 21, 2015 worldwide through eOne Music and Nuclear Blast Records. Dark Sermon has toured and played with many metal acts including Aborted, Chimaira, Sepultura, Behemoth, and Cattle Decapitation.

<i>The Cliff</i> (EP) 2015 EP by Pelican

The Cliff is a 2015 EP by American post-metal band Pelican, released through Southern Lord Records on February 24, 2015. Despite Pelican being a predominantly instrumental band, three of the EP's four tracks feature vocals.