Loviatar Brings Doom Upon the Masses
Prosthetic Records has a good habit of signing metal bands that could be palatable to just about any music lover but still deserve underground credibility. With the release of Loviatar last week, you can add one more solid band to that list.
With the tribal drumming, clean and dynamic guitar work, and the ability to transition from meandering melody to crushing riff makes me wonder if Loviatar is the next logical evolution of Tool clone bands. With heavy reliance on doom (in the vein of Spirit Adrift) and post-metal motifs, there’s a stark difference between the two bands, but with one critical similarity: they both earn a grand total of zero uncomfortable normies and are still able to write big catchy riffs within a dark atmosphere. Also, there may be a borrowed tone or two that you can catch in the interludes if you’re paying close attention.
The first three songs make up the Stygian Wyrm Trilogy, a vague but interesting tale of an ancient dragon (finally, I can listen to stories about the mythical beasts and steel without all that falsetto!). Each song is distinct, with “Nascent” being an excellent intro to their post-metal building abilities, “Discordant” acting as a short catchy groove, and “Ascendant” combining the two talents to make the best song on the album.
“Discordant”, the second song of the trilogy, starts with frantic shredding that sets the pace for the rest of the track. Under four minutes, the track wastes no time and stands out a little strangely against their otherwise patient songwriting. Were they trying to make a “radio single” of some kind? Probably not, but it is a logical split in the trilogy to avoid having a two track, 37-minute long LP. I may be the outlier who would have preferred it that way instead.
It took me a second listen to really start to dig the drunk uncle, Mastodon-esque vocals, especially when I wish there was a little more grit to some parts, but it fits thematically. Ancient mythology needs to be crooned with an uncertain pitch to make it human and emotional. These are stories to be told, not to be read.
Perhaps I spoke too soon about the best song on the album. Loviatar nearly hit the coveted self-titled song on a self-titled album by naming their 19-minute closer “Blind Goddess of the Nine Plagues”, which is a description of the Loviatar deity. If you’re into epics and have the time, after about six minutes of setting the scene, the song really kicks into high gear and stays up there. Blast beats even find their way into the mix, joining a constantly varying melody and prominent bass lines. It’s a well-built song that doesn’t overstay its welcome until maybe the last minutes in the outro.
If you need a break from the gnarliness of underground metal, but still want to stick around the neighborhood, Loviatar has your back. For being extremely well executed but not quite mind-blowing, I give this:
4 Out ov 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell