Black Light Burns
Lotus Island


3.5
great

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
January 23rd, 2013 | 76 replies


Release Date: 01/21/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Wes Borland goes really experimental.

The release of The Moment You Realize You're Going To Fall a few months ago found mastermind Wes Borland at a really creative phase in his life, crafting a 65 minute collage of diverse tunes, merging several influences into a weirdly insular yet cohesive effort.

Dropping another record after only six months, Lotus Island is a door for Borland to experiment at his will. Sitting behind the mixing desk by himself for the first time, he took 100% control over the output and doing a great job. The whole concept does reflect the title, because from the first second the listener is drawn into this ethereal world. There are few proper songs, Borland focusing this time more on the ambient side of Black Light Burns.

Wes has always had a knack for abstract art, as evidenced to a certain extent in his music and more on his paintings (the band's album covers, but also some of Limp Bizkit's ones) and Lotus Island is mostly a chance for his odd ideas to flourish. Heard alongside Alejandro Jodorowsky's controversial movie The Holy Mountain, like he advised the listeners to do so, all the brooding instrumental pieces do make more sense as they follow the plot line, switching moods from scene to scene. For example (without spoiling anything), 'The Dancers' fits the scene where the people are waltzing to the mariachi band, or 'The Master' marks the scene where the alchemist takes the thief under his wing and teaches him valuable lessons.

Lotus Island's ambient side is somewhat a darker version of the instrumentals found on the band's 2008's Cover Your Heart And The Anvil Pants Odyssey. While those sketches were lighter and more conventional in sound, the tunes here are much more somber. Ranging from barely audible synth lines ('The Thief'), to evil, 80s influenced industrial soundscapes that sound almost Soviet-like ('The City'), the record is quite unpredictable at times, like the false start to 'The Hate Of My Life' in the middle of 'The Thief' for only a few measures, and the 'The Master''s coda that features some effect-laden vocals that sound like an imitation of kids' voices. Meanwhile, 'The Dancers' is comprised of more exotic instrumentation, such as a bouzouki, first found last year on 'The Colour Escapes' or 'The Opportunists' that feels like an alternate version of the title track on The Moment You Realize You're Going To Fall. At some point, it borrows the bass line and the delayed guitars are featured prominently throughout. Still, it's one of the most accomplished instrumentals here and makes for a great listen.

Leaving the instrumentals aside, there are a few tracks here that have a proper structure and vocals. However, these are more bass oriented and feature various synth lines or eerie guitars, as opposed to the usual affairs. Even so, they are solid tracks that fit well the album's mood and make it more interesting and varied. 'The Hate Of My Life' sounds like a pop song gone wrong. There are various "ooohs" and background vocals accompanying him over a heavily distorted bass and a beat that is reminiscent of 'The Girl In Black' off The Moment.... The song 'It Rapes All In It's Path' finally sees the light of day on this record, albeit in a remixed version. First used on the Underworld: Awakening soundtrack, the song is a mid-tempo, straight forward slow burner, that features some cool vocals. There is also a nice, prolonged, rather dissonant outro consisting of delayed guitars and an industrial sound loop. There are various indicators that identify Lotus Island's starting point as the same bulk of melodies as The Moment..., but the album switches direction and expands on a different, more free form route, in the end feeling like a strange half-counterpart to the aforementioned effort.

Even if it's an interesting, creativity exercise, Lotus Island doesn't have the consistency and power to stand out as high as the main records, much like Cover Your Heart's case. Still, it has its own niche in the band's catalog, as it portrays an esoteric side of Black Light Burns. Also, the experimental nature makes it harder to digest for newcomers and some fans alike. Still, giving credit where is due, Lotus Island expands the band's output into an interesting direction that combined with the usual, harder stuff, would make for a really strong successor.



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user ratings (35)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)
Black Light Burns' concept album is an unpredictable ride filled with tons of experimentation and ch...


Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2013


3398 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

While there isn't an official stream, the album can be heard on Youtube. It is available through the band's official website, tour merch stand and digital retailers. Constructive criticism appreciated.

The Hate Of My Life - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izfKFtP8kCs
The Opportunists - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuvCA7IsfLM
It Rapes All In It's Path - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m05X8HG66Pw
The Dancers - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgDgSerZHAc
It's Good To Be Gold - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9201tH_n20

Digging: Amplifier - Mystoria

tommygun
January 23rd 2013


24932 Comments


nice review man pos

Digging: Broods - Evergreen

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2013


3398 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks man. you should definitely check this out while watching that movie,it's a weird experience (mainly the movie if you haven't seen it)
also, thanks mods for featuring this!

tommygun
January 23rd 2013


24932 Comments


sounds interesting dude will add movie and album to my list

Captain North
January 23rd 2013


6787 Comments


Good review. And hmmm I'll be interested to hear this. I loved cruel melody but I found the moment a bit boring

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2013


3398 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@captainnorth - well this shares some ideas with his previous record, but it's by far the weirdest thing in the catalog
@andcas - like he said, limp bizkit is where the cash comes, so he can afford to do whatever he feels like with black light burns. i think he still enjoys making limp bizkit records, at least music wise.

Imperial
January 23rd 2013


1731 Comments


While the album is cool and I enjoyed the atmosphere it just doesn't have enough to keep me coming back.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2013


7391 Comments


Great review man. I don't know if I'll check this out though.

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

DrGonzo1937
January 23rd 2013


5663 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Gonna have to check this out. Really like this band.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2013


3398 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Imperial - That's the main flaw. It has less substance and less tracks to get stuck in your head.
@silentpotato - The Moment.. was a slight departure from the first record. This is related the previous one, but a lot more experimental.
@greg - Thanks. You should check it out with The Holy Mountain.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2013


3449 Comments


Nice review man, gratz on the feature, have a pos. If you'd like more specific feedback just let me know and I'll give you some. Would I like this if I could never really get into the last album from these guys, or should I try that one again since I might like it on a second listen?

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2013


3398 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks! Well, if you didn't enjoy The Moment... you could give it a second spin. Some of the tracks grew on me a lot, especially Your Head Will Be Rotting On A Spike, the title track, I Want You To, Scream Hallelujah, The Colour Escapes or How To Look Naked.
Lotus Island is mostly dark ambient with a few tracks interspersed. It's a different affair from The Moment. You could listen to it while watching The Holy Mountain. The tracks' timings coincide with the scenes in the movie in the first 40 minutes.
If you have the time, you could give me specific feedback. I am sure there are some mistakes I missed correcting.

Killerhit
January 23rd 2013


5250 Comments


This isn't so bad

BassDemon333
January 23rd 2013


3377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Loving the instrumentals on this

Digging: Mudvayne - L.D. 50

SeaAnemone
January 23rd 2013


20304 Comments


"The Swans"

Digging: Holy Sons - Lost Decade II

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
January 23rd 2013


21959 Comments


that summary feels sarcastic

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2013


3449 Comments


Sweet, I guess I'll give The Moment another try - I kind of liked it, I guess, I don't really know why I didn't listen again. Anyways, for more specific stuff:

Sitting behind the mixing desk by himself for the first time, he assured 100% control over the output and doing a great job.

"assured" isn't the right word here. Maybe "took?"

'The Dancers' fits the scene where the people are waltzing to the mariachi band, or 'The Master'

and, not or

Really solid first half of the review overall, I really like how it talks about how creative Wes Borland can be with his more abstract stuff and how it all makes sense.

Lotus Island's ambient side a darker version of the instrumentals found on the band's 2008's Cover Your Heart And The Anvil Pants Odyssey. While those sketches where lighter and more conventional in sound, the tunes here are much more somber.

1. missing a verb in the first sentence
2. "where" should be "were"

or the 'The Master''s stark coda that features some effect-laden vocals that sound like an imitation of kids' voices.

should probably be "or "The Master's"..." Also, "stark coda" is kind of a meaningless phrase to me.

At this point, I feel like your review is flagging a little. You're not really talking so much about what makes the album on the whole a great album but more about what each individual song consists of. I also think it gets a bit overlong here, and I don't really think you need about half of the second half of your review.

and a beat that reminisces 'The Girl In Black' off The Moment

that's reminiscent of

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2013


3449 Comments


off The Moment....The song 'It Rapes All In It's Path' finally sees the light of day on this
record, albeit in a remixed version.

1. you probably need a space between sentences, took me a while to figure out there was a break
2. This is a good example of you getting "lost in the details" a little bit, you don't really need
to go into this much detail because it starts getting kind of tedious.

First used on the Underworld: Awakening soundtrack, the song is a mid-tempo, straight forward
slow burner, that features some cool vocals and a prolonged, rather dissonant outro consisting of
delayed guitars and an industrial sound loop.

Great. So what? I feel like this could be a really great sentence but you don't really put it in
terms of whether it's a good thing or not. It's more a descriptor than an analysis.

Overall, really great review. I think that it could definitely be shortened a good amount and it
would still say the same thing, but this definitely deserved the feature it got. Looking forward to
your writing some more!

also my comment was too long :/

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2013


3398 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for pointing out the mistakes. I guess I should've checked the review more before posting it.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2013


3449 Comments


No, it's fine. I just wish Sputnik had some sort of editing process - it's not really the simple mistakes that are the problem, it's more the organization and ideas I care about that could be better. I know Jacob and I have a system where we send each other reviews before we publish them so we can make it better, and that helps immensely. Your review was really good though, definitely deserved the feature.



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