Review Summary: Lost in the sound of misdirection.
Amid the stale grooves and cliched clean vocals of Lost in the Waves
lies a constant phrase at the back of the mind: “Wait, where have I heard this before”? And you’d be correct for asking that question if you’re familiar with any sort of metalcore, as LANDMVRKS’ latest record is just a giant recycled hodgepodge of all the 21st century -core tropes you can imagine. The group’s music is far removed from the manic energy and engaging songwriting of their debut album Hollow
at this point, instead opting for generic riffs and overly polished clean singing. I’m not against a band trying to expand their sound and explore different styles, but there’s also a difference between genuinely trying to experiment and just being trendy; Lost in the Waves
definitely falls in the latter category. Hell, that became clear the moment “Visage” started and frontman Florent Salfati began lifelessly rapping over the most sterile hip-hop beat imaginable. Then it became even more clear with the sugary “woah-oh-oh!” vocal harmonies that kicked off the following track “Tired of It All". Simply put, this album has none of the edge you’d want from a metalcore record; and sadly, nothing that replaces the aggression is all that good either. “Say No Word” is one of the only songs that actually promises at what the project could have been, alternating between blastbeat-driven chugs and heavy grooves while having much better screaming and rapping than the other tracks. But again, it’s only a small glimmer of hope as the next track “Always” returns to the same vaguely poppy choruses and limp verses as before. It almost becomes tragic when you have a solid song that gets undercut by the band’s own songwriting choices, especially in the case of “Overrated". The first 30 seconds are so intense and belligerent, only to be completely fucking ruined by a really grating attempt to sound anthemic in the chorus. This album could seriously do without all the “woah-oh” backing vocals.
It really is a tragedy, too, because there’s clearly a lot of talent here. The same band who released Hollow
is still in this record; they’re just buried under so many bad songwriting decisions and glossy production values that it’s often hard to tell. But it’s worth noting that Salfati is a really talented and versatile vocalist, and his screams and gutturals are the clear highlight of Lost in the Waves
. He absolutely tears it up in the aforementioned “Say No Word” switching from rapid-fire rapping to throat-shredding screams at the drop of a hat; meanwhile, his clean vocals are best-displayed on the somber closing ballad “Paralyzed", which features some pretty stunning belting near the end. The musicians are also very proficient, which is a trait they definitely carried over from the previous two albums. I’ve never had any complaints about the technical skills of the members, no matter the quality of the group’s songwriting. So in the end, the real core issue of Lost in the Waves
is that LANDMVRKS just seem lost. They can’t pick a direction, and it’s as if they saw what every big metalcore band is currently doing and decided to imitate all of them at the same time. As a result, they don’t have their own identity anymore and seem content just treading water... what a shame.