Lo!

Look And Behold

Written by: PP on 24/01/2012 00:35:59

Having experienced the Australian hardcore scene first hand while living in Melbourne a few years ago, news of a brand new unit making their way halfway across the world to European promotion should be met with a welcoming response because the country has one of the strongest heavy music scenes I've seen in any country I've stayed at. Lo!, a Sydney based progressive hardcore unit, is yet another solid group in a string of great bands from the region, and their debut album "Look And Behold" is a lesson in how to combine thick, roaring progressive hardcore with sludgy elements and come across with a clean, crushingly heavy sound in the end.

Slightly reminiscent of the substance-filled prog hardcore of The Ocean, it makes sense that Lo! have attracted the attention of Germany's Pelagic Records (home of The Ocean). Their soundscapes are as intricate as they are ambitious, as thunderous as they are carefully structured and rich with detail. The spacey experimental sludge of Neurosis comes to mind, if it was delivered through the neck-breaking hardcore stance of Converge, only watered down to a less frantic, more introspective expression instead. Think a heavier version of City Of Ships in places. It's all heavy and deep stuff, requiring multiple listens to appreciate the layered songwriting that relies on ambience and atmosphere as much as it does on brute force brick walls of hardcore landing on the listener like a stormy sea one wave after another. The expression is best explained via album highlight "Hued Tarantula", a song that weighs down the listener like a two-tonne truck through its immersive atmospheric prog hardcore sound. The thick roars of the vocalist are in a class of its own, and the gloomy songwriting recalls the ugly, cold material that our very own The Psyke Project can write from time to time, or why not also Cult Of Luna if you really want to stretch the comparisons.

But what is the strength of "Look And Behold" might simultaneously be its biggest weakness: because of the density of the songs and the time required to appreciate its execution, it is not an album for everybody. It requires a great set of headphones to dissect each minute detail of their sound, and to truly experience the record as the wall of sound that it is in reality. If you are able to appreciate that, then "Look And Behold" will be one of your favorites from 2011. But even if you don't, one has to give immense credit for the band's ability to write intriguing songs that grab the listener by the horns and demand to be heard in more detail.

7

Download: Bastion, Hued Tarantula
For the fans of: The Ocean, Neurosis, Cult Of Luna, The Psyke Project, City of Ships
Listen: Myspace

Release date 26.09.2011
Pelagic Records

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