Review Summary: Bathing in the pulsing moonlight.
Humans are fickle things. Prone to violence, peace, and deep-seated emotions. Loathe are not the first band whose music seems to capture a complete picture of the emotional spectrum of humanity. There have been countless before them, but only one in my view truly capitalized on it - Deftones. The whole musical structure of that band deviated between grotesque, pumping violence and dreamy, drugged-up sexuality. They were masters of their time, but eventually a band had to explore their sound with first-rate success and infuse it with new themes. Loathe brings an interesting hand to the table by capitalizing on that aesthetic with the masterful blend of post-apocalyptic atmosphere that soaked through their last album. This is not only a classic soundtrack in the making, but a band pushing themselves to heights that are staggering to imagine them passing. It’s fear, it’s love, it’s sex, it’s violence, but more than anything else it is anthemically human.
At first glance, the lack of a powerful backstory makes this album a little harder to quantify. If there was no death, or love, or storm, as is the spark of most masterpieces, it seems as if it would be harder to ascertain just what inspired such success. Yet, I disagree. This is not an album that can be boxed into the fuel chamber that powers most albums. Sure, there’s been a trend recently for Metalcore to move towards a more progressive sound, but considering their last album, it seems as if Loathe is more interested in creating a sonic weapon that capitalizes on their influences and vision rather than ‘move’ anything. It’s a chaotic symphony of recognized emotion here. The careful blend of thick, riffy breakdowns, apocalyptic distortion, and eerie, electronically-induced atmospheres, do not lend well to the idea of a single thread, but rather an understanding that the band wanted to expand on every one of their emotions via a calculated mixture of production and musicianship. It’s cathartic without limit.
There is a slow build of tension on Theme before a gradual release on Aggressive Evolution, and then a series of reliefs during the track before an absolute explosion on Broken Vision Rhythm. An analyst could repeat endlessly that this is a steady rhythm throughout the album, but what’s the point？ Build gradually, release, build viciously, explode; all the while blending Nu-Metal, Post-Metal, Metalcore, Shoegaze, Industrial, Post-Hardcore, and Post-Rock. Yet, there’s so much more to it than just a goddamn algorithm. Loathe channels the very best of Deftones’ soul and expands it effortlessly with their atmospheric Metalcore sound.
You’re no longer trapped in the end-of-times arctic storm that came from The Cold Sun, but that doesn’t mean you’re free from making sense of the undercurrent. The band will hold you under the water until you understand just what makes breathing so beautiful. It’s all human emotion, a wild contrast of acid-tinted streetlights and pulsing rage that carries this album into nearly unprecedented territories. It’s not afraid of risk, nor is it afraid of being called an imitation by revisiting the masters of the past to build something so powerful that it might just set a decade long precedent. Loathe are here to stay, and I’m just fine with that.