Lantern
Below

Dark Descent Records has been on an absolute tear of killer releases in the past few years. Off the top of my head they have put out great records by: Ritual Necromancy, Entrails, Burial Invocation, Mitrochondrion, and Thantifaxath. If the rest of their catalog is as good as the aforementioned, or Lantern’s spectacular debut Below, it is releasing some of the best Death Metal in the world right now.

Lantern has a little bit in common with most of the names above. Massive, off kilter, cavernous, aggressive Death Metal that pays homage to its forbearers, while grinding a path all its own. It is all here, the chugging, the leads, the growls, the stomping bass drums, everything you could want in a Death Metal release has found its way into Below. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the most distinctive characteristics of the album itself, the production.

Foregoing the typical bestial production of most modern Death Metal, Lantern opened everything up with massive amounts of reverb, and made things sound like they were recorded in a dank and filthy cave. It sounds like any number of mid-nineties classics, but right off the bat I hear similarities to Cryptopsy’s None So Vile, or Suffocation’s Effigies of the Forgotten. Keep in mind it is not overly technical or brutal like those, but the uncompressed and honest sound makes it feel like a classic you somehow missed 15 years ago. (I’m trying to steer clear of all of the Death comparisons everyone else has made, but let’s face it, you think masterful early 90’s metal, you think Death.)

The very first riff of album opener “Rites of Descent” is catchy. Not catchy like you’ll be humming its melody for 2 days like an At the Gates song, but more so it gets stuck in your head like a botfly larvae that’s been laid in your skin and slowly creates a vile open wound, and you can’t get it out unless you suffocate the disgusting creature. The fourth track, “Manifesting Shambolic Aura” does this again. Opening with a memorable riff, and then blasting into furious clamor for the rest of the four minutes. The huge dive-bombs, the perfectly executed solo at 2:10, and the descent into the slow agony that closes the song, and that is pretty much the entire album. Riff after filthy riff that is sometimes bludgeoning, sometimes dissonant, and always maddening.

Yet another astonishing aspect of Below is that only two musicians had their hands in creating it. Necrophilos handles the vocals, and though they’re pretty much old school shouted grunts, he has a really great ability to add character and range where needed for effect. Cruciatus though is the real shocker here because he mans ALL of the instruments. He has a fantastic ear for macabre imperfection. Nothing falls off here, there are no timing issues, nothing is sloppy, but when the aggression really kicks in, it sounds like he is playing with all of his being and the wheels could fly off at any moment.

That is one of the true trademarks of a young band making the art they’re passionate about, they’re almost always at their best when the songs are screaming to get out and the recording can barely contain them. If Lantern sticks around for 10 more years and releases a few more awesome albums, Below is likely still going to be the fan favorite. It has the urgency that all great records seem to possess, and all of the earmarks of that record everyone talks about when they say “I liked their older stuff better.”

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick E
July 8th, 2013

Comments

  1. Commented by: E. Thomas

    Wasnt feeling this at all for some reason


  2. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    really? I like it a lot…I dunno that I agree with the reviewer calling it death metal, though. not exactly.


  3. Commented by: Deepsend Records

    I consider it in the same genre as Portal and Mitochondrion, whatever that genre is.


  4. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    let’s call it dirt metal.


  5. Commented by: SRK

    The comparison with Portal and Mitochondrion is really only that all three bands have a rather personal and unique take on death metal. Aside from that, I think they’re all quite different. While it’s a long way from a mere tribute or throwback album, /Below/ would not have sounded out of place had it been released around the same time as /Slumber of Sullen Eyes/ or /Nespite/. On the other hand, Portal + Mitochondrion sound much more modern.


  6. Commented by: blasting D

    yeah it’s so good it’s really possible it will stay as a classic!

    for those interested here’s an interview I did with Lantern’s instrumentist :
    http://theblastingdays.blogspot.fr/2013/07/lantern-below-2013.html


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