Loath – Total Peace (Inverse Records)

Release Date: 
21 Mar 2014 (All day)

Harrowing. In one word, you can sum up this album: harrowing.  The mix of crust, grindcore and sludgy doom that Loath (one of the most appropriately named bands I’ve heard in some time) bring to the table is reminiscent of a bleaker, more primitive version of My Dying Bride or perhaps even a filthier Today is the Day.

Amongst the alternately despairing and aggressively yelped vocals lurk a dirty guitar tone that is so earthy that it almost sounds like it’s crumbling apart, insistently pounding drums like thick claws scratching at your face, and the crushing undertow provided by the bass; there are samples: half-understood arguments occurring in such strained tones of voice that they break down into hysterical wailing, confessions of horrific deeds in matter-of-fact unaffected tones, public statements of suicidally insane cult leaders, these provide an absolutely appropriatement accompaniment to the mental and emotional breakdown on offer.

There’s a good sense of flow within these ten slabs of negativity, with a changing pace and a strong sense of emotional momentum being the motivating force behind song development. It’s not the most technical of musics, but the emotional engagement more than makes up for this. This is definitely music for those us who want to feel.

Apparently, Loath are a relatively new band, forming in Finland in 2013 and going on to record Total Peace (an ironic title if ever there was one) in that very same year. While I don’t think it’s going to feature on any top ten lists, this is an impressive debut that comes highly recommended — particularly if you’re just too happy — and is a sturdy foundation to grow on.