Loathe (UK)
I Let It In And It Took Everything


5.0
classic

Review

by Mateo Ottie CONTRIBUTOR (32 Reviews)
February 7th, 2024 | 10 replies


Release Date: 2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: what would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Loathe’s ‘I Let It In and It Took Everything’ was released 4 years ago today and when I pressed play at midnight that day, to say I had no idea of the absolute chokehold and impact this album would have on me is a complete and total understatement.

Responsible for the trend of integrating shoegaze elements into metalcore, ‘I Let It In and It Took Everything’ is a genre-defining album, becoming incredibly influential in a short time span and there’s no wonder why. The record is one of the most ambitious releases in modern metal, and is one of the most cohesive- yet chaotic records out today.

Released in 2020 at the oncoming of the pandemic, there’s an allure of escapism and uneasiness that runs through the album’s core- from the opening “Theme” till the closing title track, the listener is transported to another dimension entirely both instrumentally and lyrically. From the record’s sound, to its distinct visual style and George Lever’s incredible production, ‘I Let It In and It Took Everything’ feels as though it firmly exists in its own world, one that is dark and full of shadows, yet mirrored to our own. The album’s title is intended to evoke an array of emotions and is a metaphor for, as the band puts it, “the destruction of safety”.

This phrase consumes the record and informs the perspectives throughout each track from the start, tackling individual’s and collective’s own destructive tendencies on the groovy and fast-paced openers “Aggressive Evolution” and “Broken Vision Rhythm”. This feeling of uncertainty and insecurity continues across even the album’s softer tracks, with the hazy, ambient mid-tempo ballad “Two Way Mirror” grappling with mistrust and strained relationships within one’s own family- focusing around one question:

“what would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

This question becomes an oft-repeated motif throughout the record, being applicable to numerous situations and perspectives, coming to a head on “A Sad Cartoon”. The song takes on the most introspective viewpoint of the question on the album- Detailing one’s own struggle with self-doubt and self-love and their own realized potential amidst societal pressure and intimidation. The track also in many ways culminates the record’s sonic identity in addition to it’s lyrical- being the perfect balance between the ethereal, ambient side of the album and its groovy metallic side, taking the listener on its own journey during it’s 5-minute runtime and subsequent reprise.

The song also means a lot to me on a personal level- and I’ve found myself connecting to it deeply through my consistent struggles with these very topics. “A Sad Cartoon” stands as one of my favorite songs ever written, and when I had the privilege of experiencing the full album live in 2022, I experienced something I have never seen or felt before or since when that song played. In a cramped, filled to the brim room that had been body to body the entire set… Everyone in the crowd spread out and soaked in the moment when the song started- many closed their eyes and just felt the music and for lack of a better term, let it in and let it take over them. It was one of the most surreal (and dare I say almost spiritual?) experiences I’ve ever had- and just as it does on record, it even further live showed to be the pinnacle of what the entire album had been building up to with each prior track, and man, what a payoff it is.

Continuing the album’s world-building and plunging into its dark, bleak atmosphere, “New Faces In The Dark” and “Red Room” follow up “Two Way Mirror” by telling a nightmarish tale of domestic abuse and betrayal over harrowing instrumentation and samples from Silent Hill. Dealing with the internal fall out of the tracks comes the off-kilter “Screaming”, which although opposite in tone to its predecessors, sees the protagonist processing with their trauma and learning to step out past their fear and not letting their trauma define them.

The depth of the world of ‘ILIIAITE’ is impressive as is, but it became even more realized and expanded on when Loathe released a companion record a year later ‘The Things They Believe’, an instrumental album of equally immersive soundscapes. With both records being released when they did, Loathe gracefully conveys the essence of the isolation we all were in at their release, even though they were created before those circumstances had even been a thing. I genuinely believe this one of the reasons ‘ILIIAITE’ is as impactful as it has become. Concurrent with the escapist-yet surreal nature of both records, It’s a rare thought-provoking album that moves you. And sonically, it’s just as moving solely as a piece of music, whether its the intense, black metal-hardcore fusion of “Heavy Is The Head That Falls With The Weight Of A Thousand Thoughts” or the serene, relaxed beauty of “Is It Really You”.

If it somehow wasn’t already clear, this album means a lot to me and I now consider it to be my favorite album of all time. I remember hearing it on release night and afterwards saying “this wasn’t an album this was an experience”, and that still rings true today.

Remember the question posed earlier in the review? Well, the album is the answer to its own motif- “what would you do if you weren’t afraid?” - it’s a record that takes an enormous amount of risks and it pays off beautifully, encapsulating the feelings of anxiety-ridden isolation and steps out into the unknown, and encourages listeners to do the same.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Crxmateo
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2024


165 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Side note: I had the privilege of interviewing Erik and Feisal of Loathe about this album and the creative process behind it back in 2022. It's still something I think about quite often and am proud of, so if that interests you, feel free to check it out here:



https://youtu.be/FWn9y4ovMvw?si=8PuF6z8ICjRppKjL



bellovddd
February 7th 2024


6566 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Gored and Two-Way Mirror my favourite tracks. This was all I listened to during COVID!

Tundra
February 7th 2024


9855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This were a crackin' album innit lads

ProphetNimd
February 7th 2024


230 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Really glad I got to see them play this album in full a year and change ago. I've been to a lot of shows but that one was a real treat. Incredible band, incredible album.

KillingMoon
February 7th 2024


117 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Their live performance when they played this album was pretty stellar. Screaming, Gored, Two-Way Mirror, Is It Really You? etc...there's a lot of big songs on here. Very good stuff.

AnimalForce1
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2024


877 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Holy shit it’s 4 years old?



Great rev Mateo, this is one of my favorite core albums released in the last few years, so it’s always nice to see a positive rev grace the front page!

Calc
February 7th 2024


17377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this was on heavy rotation back then yeesh

AnimalForce1
Contributing Reviewer
February 7th 2024


877 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I should respin it soon-ish

artificialbox
February 8th 2024


2061 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

goated album frfr. i’ve never seen this band live in person but watching their outbreak set on youtube is what made me bump this to a 5.

twlight
February 8th 2024


9023 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

seeing these lads live in London was life altering. i always liked them but something about that performance made them one of my favorite bands



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