ALBUM: LO! – Look And Behold

Release Date: September 26th, 2011
Label: Pelagic Records
Website: www.lookandbehold.net
MySpace: None available

Rating:

If you search high and low (pun intended) for Australian hardcore band LO! on any and all social networks you won’t have much luck. Even in their native land of Australia they keep a pretty low profile, a fact that is just as bizarre as the music they make. Made up of four “old hands” (despite being virtual unknowns) of the Sydney music scene, they attempt to incorporate elements from a range of genres as wide as death metal to classical. Giving their debut album ‘Look And Behold’ a listen, it’s clear that they have tried to fling all these elements together.

Despite listening to the album many times, I still cannot see the appeal of the band’s sludge ridden, doom/hardcore crossover. Mixing doom metal growls with traditional hardcore shouts is something that just doesn’t seem to fit. Don’t get me wrong, songs like ‘Deluge’ still sound pretty fucking massive, but all their aggression seems lost on me, despite it being my favourite track of this album. Too many tracks on this album seem utterly pointless, the rumbling of intro ‘Hath’ which builds into the opening track without an effort to make sure either piece of music fits together. The haunting but rather dull interludes ‘Seraphim’ and ‘Doth’ are also completely pointless, despite adding some rather disturbing ambience to the whole affair.

Staying further away from the traditional hardcore song structures are the industrial ambient sections of songs like ‘Moira Kindle’ and ‘Hued Tarantula’, which add a sense of doom to the songs, but they also add a sense of boredom as they force the song to go on for much, much longer than it should. When the band keeps it short (‘Fire At The Child Actors Guild’) they are a force to be reckoned with, which is terrifying in its own right. It songs like this and ‘Bastion’ that show how thunderously heavy this band could be if they simply cut out the unnecessary drama.

In its own rights, ‘Look And Behold’ is a decent album; it brings a breath of fresh air to a relatively dried up scene. However, I don’t think the hardcore scene really needs this breath of fresh air right now, and as narrow minded as it may seem to say this, I think that if the band followed a more generic formula they would come out of it sounding a hell of a lot better. Nevertheless, the band is following an interesting musical path and it will be interesting to see where they go from here.

Written by Oliver Thompson