Lo-Pan
In Tensions


4.0
excellent

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
January 15th, 2017 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Amid struggles, Lo-Pan still delivers top notch material…

Lo-Pan have entered a winning streak ever since they released Sasquanaut in 2009. The pummeling tunes full of grooves, tight riffs and cool vocals skyrocketed them above the multitude of average stoner bands rising every day. Anxiously waiting for a follow-up to the excellent Colossus, I was a bit bummed initially to see In Tensions is only an EP. Still, looking back, I rapidly understood why we received only 22 minutes of new music instead of a full length. The band suffered two major setbacks since we last heard from them: the first came in 2014 when they parted ways with long time guitarist, Brian Fristoe and last year, his replacement (Adrian Zambrano) too. Moreover, they left Small Stone Recordings in favor of Aqualamb, who handles the current work. Overall, it must’ve been a frustrating process, hence the title, yet amid struggles they didn’t fail to deliver top notch material.

Musically, In Tensions continues down the path Colossus took. Lo-Pan haven’t changed much since their inception, but worked a lot on their formula, soon excelling in the field. Thus, there’s a welcomed familiarity from the first second when they burst into ‘Go West’. Its intensity and tempo reminisces ‘Regulus’, one of their best songs to date. Luckily, they steer away through some tom-heavy drumming patterns during the verses and dirty guitar riffs, while Jeff Martin sings his heart out. He was pushed all the way up in front, paying off as he has one of the best voices in the genre. Moving on, ‘Sink or Swim’ is another catchy addition that boasts scorching rhythms occasionally breaking into more melodic parts for the chorus. The magic is augmented during these switches, since the instrumental is considerably harsher than the vocals, creating a really nice contrast throughout.

‘Long Live the King’ continues the string of robust cuts, sharing some of the heaviest grooves Lo-Pan have tracked so far. The constant onslaught of raucous guitars and fat bass lines are punctuated really well by the meticulous production, significantly relying on their power whilst remaining crystal clear. On the contrast, through ‘Pathfinder’ the guys have also made an effort to expand the record’s sonic palette a bit. The song starts slower, intertwining leads from both stringed instruments and straightforward drums, before Jeff joins in. Halfway, they switch to a faster tempo, leaving the singer to lead on until finishing off with solos and a crushing, but melodic coda. A perfect end to this ramming EP, the track shows there’s no sign of weakness, only more grooves for everybody. Although In Tensions remains Zambrano’s sole contribution, this is not just a stop-gap between LPs, but a sweet listen that showcases the chemistry between him and the guys. Chris Thompson will have to prove himself as he follows in the footsteps of two strong guitarists.




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user ratings (23)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 15th 2017


4252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great stuff as always from Lo-Pan. For those interested, there's a really cool book with lyrics from all their records bundled with the CD/LP. - http://lo-pan-rock.bandcamp.com/album/in-tensions

Underflow
January 15th 2017


3739 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is fantastic, good lord.

greg84
Emeritus
January 15th 2017


7584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great EP for sure

Pho3nix
January 15th 2017


266 Comments


I remember Sasquanout being really good, need to listen to this

EasterInTheBatcave
January 15th 2017


227 Comments


I liked Salvador. I'll check this out soon. Good review.

Dewinged
January 15th 2017


3820 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Jesus, this is good.

Digging: The Devil and the Almighty Blues - II

Dewinged
January 15th 2017


3820 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If I had to add a negative note it would be that all songs are on the same key and the vocals sound very similar within tracks but apart from that... Great.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 16th 2017


4252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If you liked previous albums, this should be just as enjoyable.



Yeah, I agree, there was more diversity on full lengths.

Dewinged
January 16th 2017


3820 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First time listening to these guys Raúl, all thanks to your review ;)



I will check the others too.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 16th 2017


4252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers!

If you like Lo-Pan, check out Gozu as well (if you haven't already). Both bands are groovy and fun.

Dewinged
January 16th 2017


3820 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Will do!

Lalka
January 16th 2017


95 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

aaa. i did not know this is coming. need to get it.

Sunnyvale
January 17th 2017


559 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Never listened to this band before, digging this so far.

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
January 18th 2017


12779 Comments


might check this out of curiosity

Digging: Atalanta - Tainted

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
January 18th 2017


12779 Comments


not for me nope. too hard rock-y

ScuroFantasma
Contributing Reviewer
January 19th 2017


9925 Comments


This is pretty cool, nothing special imo, solid 3/5 probs

Digging: Nokturnal Mortum - Verity



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