Parhelia certainly love their guitar instrumentals, as demonstrated by 2006’s ‘First Light’ and the following year’s ‘Oceans Apart’. After these two EPs, a full album of this kind of music could have proved to be a hard slog but ‘Shifting Sands’ is not at all laboured even if it is rather one-dimensional.
On ‘Our Ship Has Sailed’, the guitars unwind and ache producing an epic but also admirably melodic instrumental. This is the key to what Parhelia do best and even though they seem to be about to break into heavy metal at any moment they usually hold back at the crucial moment. In this way, ‘Perpetual Motion’ and the title track frequently threaten to explode but never stray too far from a hook. The centrepiece ‘Pacific’ stands out for its shifts in pace, driving rhythms and a riveting, melancholic allure whilst ‘Time & Tide’ initially serves as an understated finale until it unleashes one last blast of metallic fury.
For those familiar with their earlier work, ‘Shifting Sands’ signifies no great diversion from their powerful rock formula but then again this should be no surprise. Since Parhelia could arguably be considered the Mötorhead of post-rock: no pretension or artistic conceits, just hard music played with uncompromising conviction.