Loma Prieta

Self Portrait

Written by: PP on 07/09/2017 21:41:56

If you dig deep within the realms of American revivalist screamo scene, you'll find lots of buzz about a San Francisco-based band called Loma Prieta. They've released five records, which have earned them somewhat of a cult status within fans of original screamo, or skramz as some call it, but for us European fans they've mostly flown underneath the radar despite having visited a couple of times already on basement style tours. They're back again, so you're due for an introduction, especially because their fifth album "Self-Portrait" might be their best one, depending on which way you look at it.

In the past, Loma Prieta took pride in delivering an intense, almost devastating form of screamo that echoed influence from genre pioneers like Orchid and Saetia. Here, melodies were secondary to the atmosphere of pure chaos and uncontrollable energy unleashed through menacing, razor-sharp screams and rapid tempo changes, comparable to Sed Non Satiata or Kaospilot to name but a few. In contrast, "Self-Portrait" takes a more melodic and structured approach, where they are best described as a messier and looser interpretation of screamo than what Touché Amoré produces. It's still noisy and chaotic with an eerie 90s vibe complete with punk-fueled dissonance of the kind that's so characteristic for Deathwish bands, but the soundscape is complemented with back-chillingly beautiful passages of intense melody.

One such example is "Roadside Cross", a chaotic track that adds uplifting, yet complex lead guitar lines and semi-clean howls to create a perfect balance between aggression and melody, culminating in an awe-inspiring chorus that's among the best I've heard in the screamo scene in many years. Think all the way back to "~ (Tilde)" by Touché Amore for a better example of conveying raw emotion than this track. Similarly, "Nostalgia" and "More Perfect" rely on a carefully calibrated mixture of ferocious screamo and more tempered atmospherics, and the end result is nothing short of brilliant. And what about the album closing piece "Satellite", a six-minute progressive monster that uses quiet/loud and chaotic/tranquil dynamics precisely in the right way to forge a formidable wall of discordant guitars and charming melody.

While some might prefer the more aggressive approach of older albums, for me personally, the additional melody and sense of progression push Loma Prieta to new level. The songwriting, possibly inspired by Pianos Become The Teeth, is more ambitious than ever before, resulting in a brilliant mix of intense emotional charge and caustic melodies that carry an artsy vibe to them. A must own piece of revivalist screamo.


Download: Roadside Cross, Nostalgia, More Perfect, Satellite
For the fans of: Saetia, Frameworks, (old) Pianos Become The Teeth, Suis La Lune, Kaospilot, Sed Non Satiata, Orchid
Listen: Facebook

Release date 02.10.2015
Deathwish Inc.

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