Review Summary: So say Neurosis and Isis had a baby and Talk Talk and Slint had a baby, then those babies met and had a baby, and that baby met the baby of Godspeed and Pg.99 and they had a baby. Thats Lvmen.
Do you know that feeling you get when something great happens to you and you want to tell the world about it? It could be something big, like marrying your long time girlfriend or landing a big job. Or maybe when you were a kid who had just completed The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time and couldn’t wait to get to school the next day to tell your friends. While many things can get someone excited in this way, for me it is music. Whenever I come across a record that I know others will love I can’t help but get excited to tell everyone and anyone willing to listen. Enter Lvmen, a Czech based band that creates an eclectic mix of Neurosis/Isis style post-metal, Slint/Talk Talk-esque post-rock and pg.99 screamotional vocals. They also mix in samples from movies and radio much like Godspeed You! Black Emperor. If namedropping those six bands doesn’t get you interested you should probably stop reading now.
Greeting the listener are the echoed voices of a Czech man over the somber sounds of dual guitar melodies and a smooth rhythm section. Right from the start it is immediately noticeable that the production is top notch, each of the guitars fill a channel while the drum and bass is perfectly centered in the mix. The lead guitar melody is usually placed far right and high in the mix, while the second guitar will play spacey tunes from far left. When the music gets louder and faster the production gets grittier and crunchier, still staying impeccably beautiful. Of course highlighting this production is the band. The drummer is nothing short of remarkable, never playing typical beats or getting too out of control. Both of the guitarists know exactly what they are there to do at any given time. Weather it be slow and relaxing ethereal sounds or face melting riffs, the guitarists are always spot on. The bass is fairly audible, but takes the traditional roll in music of supporting the song and locking in with the band. It is hard to single out one instrument because the band truly plays as a band, only on repeat listens will the listener pick up on the tiny nuances of each of the instruments.
The first track, ‘no. 8’ may deceive the listener, as it follows a moderate tempo at a leisurely pace, highly reminiscent of typical post-rock. The guitarists twang out bluesy melodies as the drum and bass carry the song along. Fading off on laughter of the same Czech man that introduced us to Mondo
. ‘no. 9’ continues where ‘no. 8’ left off, with a calming guitar melody and a light tempo. At this point the listener will be relaxed and entranced by the soothing sounds of Lvmen, until the album takes a 360 and the band speeds up as foreign screams wail out of the vocalists about 2 minutes into the track. The band does not rely, or even utilize vocals often; instead, the band uses their voices as another instrument that will appear only at the climaxes of the tracks. The music remains extremely unpredictable. At one moment the band will play an uplifting major piece just to explode into a frenzy of screams and minor chords. ‘no. 11’ uses this through-composed method the best, starting with electronic noises whirling around the channels as the guitars set the haunting mood. At just over 6 minutes, the track takes a countless amount of twists and turns while staying on a heavy post-metal riff through its entirety. All of the tracks blend into one another, creative a cohesive work that stays fresh with each new track. Samples from old Czech movies will usually start and end each track. Sometimes English samples are included, such as in ‘no. 12’ when an English man talks the listener through death and entering the next life. The samples are haunting, only adding to the overall effect of Mondo
Lvmen may have created one of the best pieces of music no one has heard. Dabbling in more genres than one band should, but mastering them all, Mondo
is a hidden gem in the music world. If you are a fan of post-anything, Lvmen is not a band to skip on.