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.