In 2011, Australian violators Lo! seized and exposed raw nerves within the senses with their debut album Look And Behold, at the same time they lit a furnace of passion towards their sonic creativity for a great many such as us. Monstrorum Historia sees the return of the Sydney quartet but would it have the same power and enslavement as its predecessor. The simple answer is yes and then some. The band once again forge their own distinct form of invasive metal through a merger of the most insidious strains of hardcore, black metal, and crushing sludge metal, but this time the resulting corrosive tempest is even more impressive and ferocious, and wonderfully exhausting.
Released via Pelagic Records, the new album unleashes a brawl of violent imagination and creative intensity which makes its predecessor’s vicious beauty seem almost lightweight in comparison. Their breeding of sonic antagonism and contagious invention has found stronger potent depths and the imagination of the band a greater open malevolence which leaves only undiluted sore pleasure and invigorated intrusive satisfaction in its caustic wash.
The opening track As Above is a slowly dawning menace, the dramatic keys marking its arrival suggesting danger soon accompanied with the same intent by the sonic commentary of the guitar. As thumping rhythms from drummer Adrian Griffin bring their intimidation to bear upon the brewing event, the bass of Adrian Shapiro unleashes a predatory prowl which only increases the stature of the compelling intimidation. It is an instrumental which taunts and plays with the fears and punctuated by accumulated crescendo of all elements, it is a stirring and impossibly strong hook to start off the release.
Its departure is barely a whisper past before the following Bloody Vultures swoops with its hungry ravaging. Persistent virulent riffs abrase the surface of the ear whilst vocalist Jamie-Leigh Smith adds his caustic squalls with equal intensity and spite to proceedings, the delivery and attack of the frontman also having taken a leap on in intensity, his malicious searing squalls as well as the control he exerts honed to reap their strongest effect. Snarling like a beast in heat, the song shifts its poise continually without losing any power in its attack but ultimately it’s intent to chew up the listener with crushing rhythms and carnally inspired riffing wins out.
Tracks such as the equally carnivorous Ghost Promenade and the sonically intrusive Caruncula work on the senses further, softening up their defences with enthralling invidious invention whilst the villainous temptation Haven, Beneath Weeping Willows takes the listener on a walk through a landscape of doom coated atmospheres and tantalising yet sinister dark avenues. The instrumental is a canvas for thoughts and emotions yet an open aural painting in sound which conjures an inescapable distrustful landscape expertly sculpted from the uncomplicated but inspired strokes of the guitar of Carl Whitbread and the bass of Shapiro.
Across its length Monstrorum Historia continues to impress and spark emotive hysteria towards its contents. Certainly it is an album which will not find a home with all but if its rapacious noise and intent makes that union it is instant ardour. Further songs such as Fallen Leaves with its suspicious dark atmospheres toying with the psyche, the fiery and brutal Lichtenberg Figures, and the deliciously hypnotic Palisades of Fire lay out further greedy grasping temptation for nothing less than full eager digestion in return, their continuance of the addictive sonic deviancy at large helping to provide as the only option by the end of the album, an instant irresistible return to its ferocious grip.
Monstrorum Historia is a barbed and spiky triumph with a ferocity and invention which leaves not only wounds and scars within its recipients but unbridled acclaim and passion. Lo! is one of the noise giants and just gets better and better.
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from