Sunday, June 23, 2013

a gem: Lantern (Finland): "Below"

a gem: Lantern (Finland): "Below"
A quick way to describe Lantern is to say that they are traditional death metal, more a heavy dm band (NOT "brootal"/breakdown/technical dm), which consistently oscillates between blasting, blazing speed, and guitar-centered melancholies to create its atmosphere.
That's their game plan, and it is a great one, but as awesome as the blueprint is, it is in the execution of the plan that Lantern delivers big time.
For that reason, it does not matter if it's the blazing moments or the slow segments, Lantern are much more than competent, they succeed at a strong level of praxis.
Considering their goal: blazing death metal and slow, atmospheric doom, this should not work this well, on paper. In fact, I can think of some bands that I like when they play fast, but when they slow down, they tend to bore me. They usually bore me because simply slowing down the riffs to sludge pace and not spicing up the slowness can make me lose my concentration.
The difference with Lantern is the guitar playing. Lantern is not afraid of solos, shredding and melancholy, and the guitar work demonstrates that amply.
Sure, Lantern represents a loyalty to classic death metal, and it's easy to hear that they have studied the genre through much time devoted to the founders and leaders. Lantern also sounds like a band searching for a type of audience that is initiated in the tradition of death metal. Most of all, quality death metal is the banner under which Lantern labors.
Having said all that, the most important things about Lantern, are the guitar playing and their songs. The riffs are distinctly death metal, but where the real identity is in the way that the guitar functions throughout the songs. Solos and melancholies are placed strategically and the impact is abundantly clear. Heaviness by itself is not enough, and they know it. The guitar must work to find ways to capture the listener's focus, pave the way for the listener to comprehend that which Lantern is.
At times, Lantern seems to have overreached their objectives: is it possible to combine melancholic doom with massive death metal in this manner? Could it work?
Yes, it does work, and Lantern proves that. And no, they have not overreached their goals. It can be done.
It is refreshing to hear Lantern be so fearless. Death metal can be heavy as heavy is, and memorable, while maintaining the vibe of "death metal for a selective audience," and standing apart on its own as Lantern.
Do you want death metal that strives and sweats to stand on its own?
Lantern deserves a chance. Death and doom done right.

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