It’s strange how enigmatic things can leave us so curious to scratch and claw away until we get the full picture. Skulking and creeping out of a pretty dark crevice with a sight of utter blight, Loathe‘s mystery is the name of their game, and this lack of identity or an embodiment to cling onto is one of the main points that allows the heavy hitting newcomers to reel subjects into their atramentous world.
With their 2015 EP, ‘Prepare Consume Proceed’ (re-issued in 2016 following their signing with SharpTone Records), Loathe introduced their bleak conceptually driven presence with a story that revolved around themes of loss, ascension, and murder. Their anonymity beared comparisons to that of once unidentifiable figureheads Slipknot, and now, with a little less of a veil, they step into their debut full-length ‘The Cold Sun’ with a bigger concept, and a wider scope.
Those already accustomed to the groove driven sonics of Loathe will find that it’s more or less business as usual to begin with. Lead singles and two first tracks proper ‘It’s Yours’ and ‘Dance On My Skin’ carry a bounce and weight that gets your head banging back and forth automatically; the former of the two carries a towering chorus thanks to the slick cleans from guitarist/vocalist, Erik Bickerstaffe.
Indeed, melody is something that is truly embraced and implemented for all of its strengths for the duration of the LP. ‘Stigmata’ will have you hitting that replay button ’til you nail that chorus into your cranium, and ‘East Of Eden’ has some of the sharpest hooks penned by the band to date. The aggression rarely lets up thanks to the feral roars of Kadeem France, and the relentless drum work from Sean Radcliffe that sees out ‘P.U.R.P.L.E.’ gets your heart pounding hard.
The general concept of ‘The Cold Sun’ surrounds that of an apocalypse and, with the soundscapes and electronic textures that are showcased here, the sense of urgency and major cataclysm are undeniable. They push the album to become a more fluid listen, gelling it into one body of work, and keeping that locomotive of impending dread consistent.
There’s layers here that could easily come from Trent Reznor‘s text book, slide into ‘Antichrist Superstar’-era Marilyn Manson, or even act as the bedding for one of the latest two Architects records. It wouldn’t be too crazy to make some slight comparisons towards the likes of Tool, Deftones, or even as far as Pink Floyd for curtain closer, ‘Babylon…’, consistently shifting gears before an Imogen Heap-esque vocoder rings out.
Daring to go bold as soon as they leave the gates, ‘The Cold Sun’ is almost as much of a solidifying debut as it is a soundtrack for the end of time. Though at times it feels like the concept is a little up in the air, the aggression, atmosphere, and swift waves of emotions are truly being enforced from start-to-finish, and with it, we learn to Loathe as one.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)