Lo-Ruhamah
The Glory of God

“Lo-ruhamah is the name of the first daughter of the prophet Hosea and his wife Gomer in the Book of Hosea. The name, which translates as “not pitied,” is chosen by God as a sign of displeasure with the people of Israel for following other gods” -From Wikipedia.

Lo-Ruhamah also happens to be stunning Christian black/death metal outfit from Kansas City, Missouri who with their debut have made one of the most respectable Christian entries into the other wise fairly Christian free genre of black metal. Yes-you read that right-a GREAT Christian black metal outfit from Missouri.

Aided by injections of lengthy post rock/ambient black metal as well as some Opeth-ian light dark textures and some deep, deep lyrics (a concept about a godless world) and a sense of truly ambitious songwriting, The Glory of God is one of those releases I wish I had got a few months earlier, as there is no doubt in my mind this would have easily made my 2007 year end list. Whereas most Christian metal seems to simply be a soundboard for a message wrapped up in whatever metal genre is hot (hardcore, metalcore right now), three-piece, Lo-Ruhamah have a actual sense of the genre’s dynamics and simply deliver top notch experimental black/death metal that happens to be performed by Christians.

The best comparisons I can come up with is maybe the recent Exhausted Prayer release (so, Opeth basically), along with Alcest, Wolves in the Throne Room, Rune and maybe fellow Missourians, Scholomance (RIP). After the brief canter of classic black metal paced instrumental opener “The Cloud of My Soul”, you get 6 long tracks (6-12 minutes with 4 being over 10 minutes), that’s a majestic and organic listen. The guitars are biting yet graceful, and the shrill high pitched shrieks balance with deeper gruff roars, while early Ulver –ish basslines dance delicately in the background.

To dissect tracks would be a disservice, but moments such as 4:40 mark of “As We Walk”, the first moments of acoustic introspection and despondent lope we get in standout “Rose & Ivory”, tech death and soft jazz injections of “Shear-Jasub” (and its stern climax), majestic, depth, beauty and intricacy of “Torrents”, knee wilting chord progression at 4:23 and piano acoustic segue and 5:24 of other standout “What Lines Reveal” and neo classically orchestrated chaos of closer “Regret Not This Love”, all make for one of the most compelling and surprising listens I have had in a long time-regardless of faith. And if you do indeed pass this release up simply because it is a Christian band, then you should have you metal card revoked.

On the downside, there are some sporadic clean vocals that are pretty badly sung, that should of maybe been performed by a female alone or left out altogether, and the main vocals are really shrill and monotone, but there’s simply not enough to not detract from the stunning material. While wading through 100’s of metalcore and death metal records can make a writer jaded, it’s out of nowhere, brilliant undiscovered (and local!) gems like this that makes it all worthwhile.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 14th, 2008

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