Loviatar - Lightless review




Bandcamp music player
Reviewer:
8.3

22 users:
7.68
Band: Loviatar
Album: Lightless
Release date: April 2020


01. Suffocating Delirium
02. Horse In Thrall
03. Cave In
04. Silca
05. All The Witches You Failed To Burn
06. Lightless


I didn't know that I wanted to hear an alt/post/doom metal hybrid until I came across Lightless, but it turns out they go quite well together.

I saw Loviatar's sophomore record championed in a few places, and being on a constant search for new material during lockdown, I eagerly turned my attention towards Lightless. I've given the record a bunch of listens since its release and enjoyed every one of them; however, I've been a bit mystified by the classification it has been bestowed with. Several reviews described Lightless as a top-notch doom metal album, but whilst I don't argue with the 'top-notch' part, I haven't heard much doom that sounds close to this. Sure, opening track "Suffocating Delirium" is recognizable as doom, with the slow pace, menacing riffs, ethereal guitar leads and soulful vocals. However, the off-kilter rhythms that emerge halfway through the song already shows signs of divergence from the classic Candlemass template, which goes completely out the window by the time we reach "Horse In Thrall".

Now, I'm not normally as brave as some of my fellow reviewers on this website at going against the grain with genre classifications; certainly, I wouldn't have had the courage to label Torche as metalgaze or The Sabbathian as black metal when the world at large considered them to be sludge and doom bands, respectively. However, when I listen to a song such as "Horse In Thrall", I find my mind making comparisons to acts such as Votum, Sermon and Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster amongst others, which are alt, prog and/or post-metal bands, but certainly not doom. Just listen to the slick drum/bass groove and post-rock layering in the opening couple of minutes, the prog/alt-metal rhythms and guitar texturing when the vocals arrive, or the gentle yet impassioned singing as the drums rampage during the song's climax. There are elements on this song that could be considered as related to doom, which is why I mentioned the alt/post/doom tag in the opening line of this review, but I don't know how anyone could hear this song and think "this is a doom metal song"; however, I imagine a lot of people could hear it and think "this is a damn fine song, whatever genre it falls under".

The surprises don't stop coming once this track is over; "Cave In" is the third completely different-sounding song in a row, with its pounding drums driving Loviatar through an uptempo heavy metal cut. "Cave In" is a fun song with some pretty exciting lead guitar work throughout; however, I feel like it doesn't necessarily play to lead singer JD Gobeil's strengths. He pulls off a fairly classic epic doom tone when asked for on "Suffocating Delirium", whilst also effectively delivering the more unconventionally emotional delivery that fits more alt-influenced songs such as "Horse In Thrall". However, on "Cave In", his quick interjections unfortunately sound a bit flat and strained, giving the song a roughness that departs from the richness of most of the other tracks here. At the same time, some may feel like this suits the song's rambunctious vibe.

Lightless sustains the diversity displayed in its first trio of songs up until the end of the record. "Silica" is perhaps the most even combination of the alt/prog, post- and doom elements, with Gobeil suddenly channelling Ozzy Osbourne when he sings; it's a fairly mesmerizing combination. And just when you feel like there's no chance to be surprised any more, Loviatar set aside nearly 5 minutes on a sub-40-minute album for an acoustic guitar instrumental interlude, and what a delightfully vibrant interlude "All The Witches You Failed To Burn" is. Without wanting to turn this into a song-by-song review, I feel obliged to touch upon the 10-minute closing title track, which like "Silica" brings all the various elements together for one emphatic closing statement; however, this is probably the track that most leans towards doom outside of the opening track, with its slower pace, vocal melodies and melancholic guitar work.

It's impressive to have six songs that sound this diverse on such a short album without it feeling a bit disjointed, but Loviator pull off this exercise in genre-bending effortlessly through impressive flexibility across the board in terms of how they approach each song instrumentally, not to mention some damn fine songwriting. Quibbles over genre classifications aside, Lightless is a top-notch release, and it will be fascinating to see how Loviatar develop stylistically on any future releases.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8


 



Written on 31.05.2020 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments

Comments: 15   Visited by: 99 users
31.05.2020 - 22:23
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Cmon get some courage and call this what it is

symphonic metal
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




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31.05.2020 - 22:24
musclassia
Written by RaduP on 31.05.2020 at 22:23

Cmon get some courage and call this what it is

symphonic metal


It's actually folkcore
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31.05.2020 - 22:25
musclassia
Written by RaduP on 31.05.2020 at 22:23

Cmon get some courage and call this what it is

symphonic metal


Also do you get notifications when I publish a review or something? it's not even on the front page yet
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31.05.2020 - 22:26
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by musclassia on 31.05.2020 at 22:25

Written by RaduP on 31.05.2020 at 22:23

Cmon get some courage and call this what it is

symphonic metal


Also do you get notifications when I publish a review or something? it's not even on the front page yet

Yes, you're in my friends list
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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31.05.2020 - 22:27
musclassia
Written by RaduP on 31.05.2020 at 22:26

Written by musclassia on 31.05.2020 at 22:25


Also do you get notifications when I publish a review or something? it's not even on the front page yet

Yes, you're in my friends list


Huh, 9 years on the website and I didn't know what that did before now, I did wonder how you reacted to my reviews so quickly
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31.05.2020 - 22:30
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by musclassia on 31.05.2020 at 22:27

Huh, 9 years on the website and I didn't know what that did before now, I did wonder how you reacted to my reviews so quickly

Did you actually think I had a "Reviews" tab open and I constantly refreshed it hoping for another musclassia review?

I mean, no wonder that you're having a hard time discovering this site's features.
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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31.05.2020 - 22:32
musclassia
Written by RaduP on 31.05.2020 at 22:30

Written by musclassia on 31.05.2020 at 22:27

Huh, 9 years on the website and I didn't know what that did before now, I did wonder how you reacted to my reviews so quickly

Did you actually think I had a "Reviews" tab open and I constantly refreshed it hoping for another musclassia review?


Lockdown can do strange things to people

Anyway, before Nik comes and tells us to get back on-topic... have you heard the album?
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31.05.2020 - 22:34
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by musclassia on 31.05.2020 at 22:32

Anyway, before Nik comes and tells us to get back on-topic... have you heard the album?

Yes. I have heard most albums. I added this very band.

Now if you're asking me if I can remember anything from listening to it, that's another story. Gonna give this and Caligram another bump now. You do the same with Descend Into Despair and The Funeral Orchestra.
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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31.05.2020 - 22:35
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Behold I am now Radoupolos Patros:

----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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31.05.2020 - 22:45
musclassia
Written by RaduP on 31.05.2020 at 22:34


Gonna give this and Caligram another bump now. You do the same with Descend Into Despair and The Funeral Orchestra.


But I don't wanna...

I can probably time to check them out tomorrow, I suppose
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31.05.2020 - 22:55
nikarg
Mod
Written by RaduP on 31.05.2020 at 22:30

I mean, no wonder that you're having a hard time discovering this site's features.

This is gold.

Written by RaduP on 31.05.2020 at 22:35

Behold I am now Radoupolos Patros:



And this, too.

So, back on topic: I have listened to this album a couple of times, and I still find it hard to classify. To paraphrase what you say in the review, "this is a damn fine album, whatever genre it falls under". I like the fact that it is short and diverse, definitely deserves more listens.

Radu, I am currently listening to The Funeral Orchestra.
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31.05.2020 - 22:57
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 31.05.2020 at 22:55

Radu, I am currently listening to The Funeral Orchestra.

And with this I change the topic again

Is it already streaming?
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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31.05.2020 - 23:00
nikarg
Mod
Written by RaduP on 31.05.2020 at 22:57

Is it already streaming?

I don't think so.
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01.06.2020 - 21:13
Bardamu
Nice review. I've been listening to this most of the day - it's very good.
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01.06.2020 - 22:19
musclassia
Written by nikarg on 31.05.2020 at 22:55


So, back on topic: I have listened to this album a couple of times, and I still find it hard to classify. To paraphrase what you say in the review, "this is a damn fine album, whatever genre it falls under". I like the fact that it is short and diverse, definitely deserves more listens.



Yeah it's not worth quibbling over genres too much, it's an interesting approach done well with a healthy amount of variety is the most important thing. I think the limited runtime definitely works in its favour; it doesn't feel brief, but it also means there's no sag in quality at any point
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