Loathe

It Let It In And It Took Everything

Written by: KW on 05/02/2020 23:40:21

Loathe have been garnering quite a lot of buzz in the modern hardcore / metalcore sphere in the last couple of years and for understandable reasons. Their brand of juxtaposing metallic hardcore with dreamy melodies is very distinct, and being a pretty big fan of the band, this newest release from the Liverpool-based heavyweights has been one of my most anticipated releases of 2020…. well, at least until the track “Two-Way Mirror” was released as a single. Loathe are a band who have been pretty vocal about their Deftones influence, and it has not exactly been hard to hear why either — yet it always seemed like a complementary feature to their otherwise unique sound. But the aforementioned single just rubbed me the completely wrong way. In it, the inspiration turns borderline tasteless, to the extent that almost everything about the songwriting sounds derivative of the beloved alt-metal gods, just with heavier production. If you ask me, it was a quite massive step down in originality from a band that until then had seemed to be at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of metalcore, and as such, it single-handedly deflated my excitement for this new album “I Let It in and It Took Everything”, especially as I subsequently heard that it wouldn’t be the only track to take huge notes from Chino and company.

Luckily, everything else on this record turns out to be brilliant. Sure, there are overtones of Deftones influence to be found sprinkled all over the record, yet every other endeavour here is miles more successful in evolving that sound rather than just imitating it. “Screaming” features the ethereal, atmospheric vocal style of Chino Moreno, but then combines it with a main riff that is weirdly ’90s alt-rock, but with Loathe’s signature bass-heavy sound; melodic, yet also really noisy, like a metalcore version of Smashing Pumpkins. And while on the subject of production, this thing just sounds absolutely incredible. There is an emphasis on bass in both tone and mix that is rarely heard in metal, and it serves as the mortar for the at times contrasting styles presented across the album, while also incorporating some very distinct sound design in the form of industrial noise and cinematic soundscapes into the mix. “Is It Really You” comes close to being a little too on the nose for me again, but it is saved by some wonderfully blissful ’80s-sounding synths and an incredibly groovy swing beat as the backbone for a truly chilling vocal performance in the chorus. “A Sad Cartoon” stands as one of the clear highlights of the record, mixing the various influences perfectly to create a track that makes you want to weep from the sheer beauty of it while engaged in furious headbanging.

I’d say those songs stand on one side of the overall coin that is the album. While that aspect is generally melodic and dreamy, the underbelly shows a disgusting, murky side to the band that is apocalyptically fucking heavy. Like ridiculously so. “Aggressive Evolution” features pummelling nu-metal jump-the-fuck-up riffs with raging screams and growls. “Broken Vision Rhythm” turns up the tempo in a chaos-fuelled, short outburst of hardcore beef that is sure to get the pit ninjas in a fighting spirit. “New Faces in the Dark” combines Meshuggah-style down-tuned, syncopated riffing intertwined with brief moments to catch a breath in the soaring choruses, and it all culminates in this disintegrating breakdown of pure noise which sounds on the verge of destroying my speakers with its unspeakable heaviness. It is truly a masterclass in relentless dissonance, and it not only made my jaw hit the floor but then also punched it clean off — my god is that ending brutal. “Gored” continues the Meshuggah grooves in droves, until “Heavy Is the Head That Falls with the Weight of a Thousand Thoughts” swoops in with a track that is certain to end up as the most abrasive beatdown of the year. It even includes a blackgazing intro, which is a sound that hasn’t really been a part of the band’s repertoire before, yet they even nail this aspect. The remainder of the track, however, is so unbelievably down-tuned that the notes are on the verge of being completely indistinguishable, yet the production keeps this hurricane of squealing riffs and earth-shaking chugs from falling apart, and instead sustains just enough control over it. I couldn’t help but burst out in laughter in disbelief of how anyone could produce something this vile, and I absolutely adore Loathe for it. The title track serves as the perfect ending to a truly forward-thinking metalcore record by combining all of the sounds heard in the aforementioned songs in a beautiful piece of aggression and serenity, where especially the huge, atmospheric middle section is truly hypnotic.

“I Let It in and It Took Everything” is a metalcore masterpiece with very few missteps, then. Progressive and futuristic, this really shouldn’t be missed by anyone — even if you heard “Two-Way Mirror” and were unimpressed like I was. The metalcore genre often gets a bad rep for being stuck in its ways, but Loathe really are one of the bands that shut up the naysayers in this regard. We’re only a month into the year, yet I can already proclaim this as a top album of the year contender for me. Get ready to have your ears blown out in one moment, and soaring through the sky in the next.

9

Download: Aggressive Evolution, New Faces in the Dark, Screaming, Heavy Is the Head That Falls with the Weight of a Thousand Thoughts, A Sad Cartoon, I Let It in and It Took Everything…
For the fans of: Code Orange, Deftones, Lotus Eater, Reflections
Listen: Facebook

Release date 07.02.2020
SharpTone Records

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