Pelican (band)

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

Pelican performing at Sant Feliu Fest in 2004
Pelican performing at Sant Feliu Fest in 2004
Background information
OriginChicago, Illinois, U.S.
Years active2001–present
LabelsHydra Head, Southern Lord, The Mylene Sheath
Associated actsTusk
MembersTrevor Shelley de Brauw
Bryan Herweg
Larry Herweg
Dallas Thomas
Past membersLaurent Schroeder-Lebec

History and styleEdit

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.

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]

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.

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]

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]


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]


  • Trevor de Brauw – guitar (2001–present)
  • Bryan Herweg – bass (2001–present)
  • Larry Herweg – drums (2001–present)
  • Dallas Thomas – guitar (2012–present)
  • Laurent Schroeder-Lebec – guitars (2001–2012)


Studio albums
  • Pelican / Scissorfight / The Austerity Program (2003)
  • Pelican / Playing Enemy (2005)
  • Pelican / Mono (2005)
  • These Arms Are Snakes / Pelican (2008)
  • Young Widows / Pelican (2009)
Live albums
  • Arktika (Live from Russia) (2014)
  • Live at Dunk!Fest 2016 (2016)
Singles and music videos
  • "Autumn into Summer" (2005)
  • "Dead Between the Walls" (2007)
  • "Lost in the Headlights" (2008)
  • "Final Breath" (2010)
  • "Lathe Biosas" (2012)
  • "Deny the Absolute" (2013)
  • "Midnight and Mescaline"/"Darkness on the Stairs" (2019)[7]
  • Live in Chicago 06/11/03 (2005)
Multi-format sets
Other appearances


  1. ^ "Pelican joins Southern Lord, plans new EP". idiomag. February 12, 2009. Retrieved February 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "Pelican announce "Ephemeral" EP". April 23, 2009. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
  3. ^ "PELICAN Completes Work On New Album". August 4, 2009. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  4. ^ "PELICAN Announce In-Store Performances; Pelican Burger Unveiled; CD Pre-order with exclusive content begins Tuesday". Southern Lord. October 9, 2009. Retrieved October 11, 2009.
  5. ^ "PELICAN's LAURENT SCHROEDER-LEBEC Taking Indefinite Hiatus From Band". Roadrunner Records. June 26, 2012. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  6. ^ Heaney, Gregory. "Forever Becoming - Leican : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". Allmusic. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  7. ^ a b "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. ^ a b Mike Diver (March 27, 2007). "Pelican: "We're neither trend setters nor trend followers"". Drowned in Sound. Archived from the original on May 23, 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2007.
  10. ^ a b Allan Wigley (June 14, 2006). "Pelican's music tough to categorize". Ottawa Sun. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2007.

External linksEdit