ALBUM REVIEW: Loathe – I Let It In And It Took Everything

Release Date: February 7th 2020
Label: SharpTone Records


Everyone wants to make that one special record, akin to capturing lightning in a bottle, or a documentation of everyone pushing themselves to the extreme, almost suffering for their art to get everything absolutely perfect.

For Loathe‘s debut, ‘The Cold Sun’, something was clearly bubbling underneath, waiting to burst out of the traps, it’s now been let loose on their second album, ‘I Let It In And It Took Everything’. Whether it’s metalcore, deathcore, alternative metal, shoegaze, or icy electronica, all the elements that Loathe combine together are now melded together into one dangerous package.

‘Theme’, a washy synth-driven interlude lets you know that something big is about to happen. With guitars that squeal and swirl, ‘Aggressive Evolution’ kicks things off for real. Its gnarly low end is simply un-ignorable, and this song exudes an overwhelming power that’ll find a million different ways to manifest itself across the record. Every single low end frequency is filled; this is a record with limitless ambitions.

It’s one thing to be influenced by Deftones, but it’s another thing to use these techniques associated with them and create something that completely overtakes you, which is precisely what the aforementioned song’s chorus does – Erik Bickerstaffe‘s clean vocals certainly have a smooth Chino Moreno-esque tone, but sit perfectly on top of the wall of sound. The ending breakdown is a cavalcade of organised chaos, and just like Code Orange, they know how to bludgeon you with a million different things happening at once, courtesy largely of the insane guitar work from Connor Sweeney and Bickerstaffe.

For ‘Broken Vision Rhythm’, which continues and flows so impressively from the previous song, every single frequency on the low-end is filled again. It’s a punishing affair that batters you around the head.

Yet, on an album full of statements of intent, ‘Two Way Mirror’ may be among the strongest; a dreamy, atmospheric number that captures a mood perfectly. As a recent single, this would’ve been to many a first introduction to Loathe‘s current incorporation of this sound, but this still barely scratches the surface as to what they can really do.

‘Screaming’ is as close as the band get to pure indie-rock territory (yes, you read that correctly), with similarities to bands like The Cure and My Bloody Valentine as strong as they get. Kadeem France‘s growth as a vocalist is one of the key factors in this album, as we see his vocal dexterity has grown alongside the musical canvas of his bandmates.

‘Is It Really You’ begins with washy 1980s-style synths, and you really notice the cinematic qualities that they bring to the table. Indeed, anyone involved in Loathe could write a film soundtrack in the future, and they’re only on their second album. The actual song itself is another highlight; a morose, tender moment on the album that could’ve been taken from ‘Saturday Night Wrist’, with its melody soaring above the already impressive instrumentation. Evidently, Loathe can truly seduce you as well as penetrate your skull with a pneumatic drill.

On the flip side, ‘Heavy Is The Head That Falls With The Weight Of A Thousand Thoughts’ may be the best heavy offering on the album. In case you wondered what else they can do, they kick off this off with a blast-beat section. And, just after an intergalactic Norma Jean-sounding tease, all hell is unleashed with their signature bludgeoning assault on the senses.

The album’s title-track and closer begins with a guitar riff that sets the scene, and this song straddles everything that Loathe do brilliantly in one package, and, just when it sounds like it’s about to explode into a final wave of intensity, it’s over. Probably as an intended effect, it leaves you wanting more. 50 minutes has rarely gone by quicker.

‘I Let It In And It Took Everything’ is a massive leap from ‘The Cold Sun’, and you still feel that the best is yet to come from Loathe. Their innate ability to journey across many sounds and pull them off so effortlessly is simply stunning. When a myriad of bands that are clearly more inspired by music culture rather than music itself continue to pollute the airwaves, a band who feel limitless and so clearly want to incorporate a genuine love of all styles of music should be welcomed and supported with open arms. Loathe are on the precipice of becoming larger than life. Let it in, and let it take everything.