Lantern For A Gale: Lands More Hostile

The new EP from melodic hardcore band Lantern for a Gale is a formidable beast of a release, five tracks that brings music to challenge, rile up, and leave one lying in their own fluids whilst at the same time treating them to some of the more creative and melodic hardcore sounds heard in a long while. Lands More Hostile takes no prisoners as it ruptures the senses with sounds that strike hard, cut deep, and leave a long lingering mark.

The quintet from the North Coast of Ireland first came to notice with their debut self titled EP of January 2011, the release firmly setting the band as ones to keep an eye on amongst what seems like an ever flourishing waver of new bands from the country. Formed in 2010 the line-up of vocalist Paul Michael, drummer Allan Starrs, bassist Jamie Thompson, and guitarists Danny McConaghie and Andy Hasson has a hard working ethic that has seen  them honing their skills and sounds through persistent touring and Irish festival appearances at Pigstock, Stendhal and Rathlin Island.

      Lands More Hostile is a marked progress from their impressive debut, the band bringing a depth and melodic invention to their still stark hardcore sound that makes each song a continual mesh of intensity, aggression, and thoughtful melodic play. There is a tighter and mature touch to their songwriting that is translated in sounds with an accomplished feel yet still leaves rooms for plenty of promise for things ahead. The one surprising difference is the vocals of Michael, never the easiest to warm to initially he seems to have gone the other way to the band musically. On the debut he was a strong and forceful vocalist that suited the sounds around him but on Lands More Hostile he has found even more aggression and bile to go the opposite way to the warmer and more defined melodic craft the music has. This makes it a bigger test to acclimatize to his delivery but brings a great edge which drives the songs deeper.

From the opening As We Sleep the EP is coarse and caustic, a salt rub on the senses which is carefully and impressively tempered by the melodic invention. The opener surges through the ear with pummelling rhythms that dodge around like a skilled boxer and guitars which light up the air with incisive and sharp enterprise. The group shouts and harmonies work a treat as a contrast to Michael whilst the bass rumbles intently and patiently behind. It is an impressive start that alone shows the progression made by the band.

The following Inauthentic Selves and Interpreting Nothing continue the fine sounds in much the same vein as the opener though with plenty of variety within their walls. The songs pound the senses with the impressive rhythms of Starrs until they scream for lenience and scrape the nerves raw with the acidic sounds and it all combines into a strong and satisfying result.

The band end the release with the best two songs. Against Diabolum from the first note intrudes deeper than ever with the resourceful guitars whilst the vocals become more bestial alone and in group effort. The track niggles at the ear as a compulsive groove wraps itself tightly around the powerful riffs which power the varied direction of the song. The track is a continual intrigue with its unpredictable direction and offshoots leaving one very satisfied. The closing Punctual Equilibrium is the same, a song which gives no hint of its diverse and continually changing path. The track hurtles, canters and prowls, its sounds wonderfully imaginative and the perfect blend of smooth and coarse, whilst the vocals as always leave flesh flayed.

Released through Savour Your Scene Records, Lands More Hostile is a fine release that as well as giving much pleasure still offers clear promise for even greater things ahead from Lantern For A Gale. They are not always the easiest band to get on terms with but very rewarding when one does.

Ringmaster 27/04/2012

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Litrosis: I Am Death

From Greece symphonic black metal band Litrosis have their debut album I Am Death released May 1st through Pitch Black Records as part of their Blackest Pitch Series. Recently signed to the label the band makes a strong and striking entry into the series of unique black metal releases that the label is releasing under the banner. The Blackest Pitch Series features an eclectic blend of black metal bands and sounds that bring something different to the genre and there is no doubting the Greek quintet do just that, self described as extreme epic metal the release is a mighty and stirring collection of expansive dark songs that explore and spread beyond their boundaries with skill and impressive results.

Formed in 2010 the band of vocalist Vassilis, guitarist Alex “Ad Ventus”, bassist Stergios, drummer Eli, and Vassilis “Q-Snc” on keyboards and orchestration, from a core black metal vein encompass symphonic and in some ways progressive metal with a wise and wizened touch that creates music which consumes and takes the senses into ventures that are intimidating, challenging, and impressively rewarding. Based in Greece with some members in the UK and US, Litrosis has created an album which is far reaching and deeply intrusive, the perfect blend.

The release opens with the excellent short instrumental Litrosis, its brewing and sinister ambience a rousing battle cry and epic introduction to the sounds ahead. Epic horns, vocal harmonies, and an atmosphere announcing a titanic force ahead, lead straight into Insomniac’s Lullaby. The song ruptures defences with blistering riffs and a scorching melodic guitar before rampaging with full intensity across the senses, trampling them under foot with devastating rhythms and grizzled venom spraying vocals.  It is a reasonably expected type of black metal attack but with insurgent and imaginative solo and guitar meanderings which impress deeply.

The diversity and real flair of the band is unveiled from the next track on. Soulcide opens with a beautiful classical guitar caressing of the ear with flowing keys and mesmeric bass to match. The track is majestic and immediately sets the band as imaginative and accomplished. As the intensity rises and darkens the guitars spark to light up the track with sharp and striking play whilst the keys wrap around the ear with a warmth and grace to temper the harsh and destructive power alongside.

As the likes of the aggressive and seemingly vindictive Burn The Sun, the compulsive and crushing Countless Wounds, and the title track leave the senses bloody and gasping for breath from the onslaught the album shows no mercy despite offering up sparkling invention and tempering asides. The band is at its very best though when they let the imaginative craft and ideas have a fuller rein. The brooding opening to Blood Red Desert Plain suggests more of the same of that which came just before it but although still a battering upon the ear it brings a glorious crimson skyline with grand soaring keys to add a full and epic disposition to the track and ear.

The album ends on two gems of songs firstly In The Grave, a mesmeric and captivating slice of progressive/epic rock. Though not convinced by the vocals at times the song still leaves one deeply satisfied by the musicianship and emotive sounds displayed. The closing Bury The Dead is the perfect finale, a track that slowly emerges like a warm and reassuring day, its arms extended and welcoming the emotions in to full and expressive passionate keys.  The instrumental is touching and evocative, and further evidence of the talent and promise of Litrosis.

I Am Death is excellent, whether fracturing the senses or taking them on beautiful journeys Litrosis does it so very well. The only complaint that stops the album rising to be a release of the year contender is the production. Personally it felt oppressive to the quality within; it caged the music stopping the full force and majesty to flow with clarity. The fact the album is still so good shows how impressive it really is and one all should make an acquaintance with.

RingMaster 27/04/2012

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