Album Review: Loathe – I Let It In And It Took Everything

User Rating: 9

O V E R V I E W

With each passing year it must get bafflingly difficult to be innovative in the music game. And, I don’t mean that facetiously one bit. It literally must be fucking gut wrenching to ‘sunbeam in the eyes while driving’ stand out. I mean let’s be honest here folks; most of those crazy-badass riffs have been done to death. Those little flourishes of electronic ambiance to give the background a little extra something. It’s THE thing these days. The blast beats and splashes of the cymbals etc etc etc etc etc etc (yes, there’s multiple ‘etc’s’ on purpose)…in some shape or form they’ve all been done before. But it’s how you compile whatever mix of those (among many other intricacies, obviously) details that actually helps you to do (or at least seem like you’re doing) something different. Loathe truly seem to be one of the rare groups these days that it’s hard to place your finger on. An absolutely everchanging array of time signatures, styles, and additions keep the listener on those toes so damn much they’re bound to break. Just when you think you’ve kinda got them figured out…BAM! They create an astonishingly, confusingly, mind-bending album like I Let It in and It Took Everything. The singles alone were slightly all over the map, but in that oh so perfect Loathe way that others just can’t seem to mimic. The album as a whole continues that trend from front to back. When you think a track’s about to go left, it goes right. It’s that constant melange of twists and turns though that keeps this album so fresh and sets it apart not only from their peers, but even their own past work. The intro track alone will throw you for a bit of a loop. One would logically assume that an intro entitled “Theme” would set up what’s to be the…theme…of the entire record. UUUMMMM…not so much in this instance. This track consists of soaring, harmonious tones that are ever building on one another and sound as if they could be the background to a dance rendition of your most beautiful dreams. And, although there are the softer, more ‘clean’ tracks on this album, I still wouldn’t say that the intro really sets that all up. But I’m sure that was all part of the plan…

Genre: Progressive Metalcore | Metalcore | Experimental Rock
Label: SharpTone Records
Release: February 7th, 2020
Connect: Facebook | Twitter
Purchase: iTunes | Google Play

F L O W  /  L O N G E V I T Y  /  O R I G I N A L I T Y

When one would think of the word flow, I’m sure from aside the obvious point of looking up the definition, a consistent movement forward is what would make the most sense. Something that moves cohesively in a way that makes sense to each and every individual. Well when listening to Loathe you can go right ahead and blow shit clear up. They follow zero pattern that would make sense to the average listener. But THIS IS Loathe! Their maniacal manner in which they create their music and the pattern in which they choose their song sequence is meant to be off the beaten path. Not many bands these days could pull this non-formulaic formula off, but it’s their bag, baby. As previously stated, “Theme” is not much more than orchestral tones, which sound like the most gorgeous concerto, but straight after that you’re kicked square in the nuts with “Aggressive Evolution”. A somewhat fitting title aside from its subject matter if only due to the fact of the (overuse of a word alert…) aggressive transformation in styles. A banger of a heavy hitter, off the bat it almost forces you to bang not only your head, but your fists simultaneously on any surface in reach. All of the verses and bridges typically follow this fashion, and yet the chorus is airy and beautiful in the most sad of ways. Skip ahead a couple of songs and you hit “Two-Way Mirror”. A song more Deftones than Deftones these days, this track could have easily fit on White Pony or Deftones and been one of the more stand out items. A song which even got a share from Chino Moreno himself, which I’m sure any would consider the highest of praises. The song is ambient rock and its finest. And yet this is my point; you think there is no consistent flow between tracks on I Let It in and It Took Everything, but that is precisely what makes it flow so perfectly. To use a song title from the album…its broken vision rhythm is what makes it so rhythmic.

This album will never die. From their inception I had always heard mixed reviews about this band. Whether it be the fact that folk loved how unique they were in a day and age of cookie cutters, or that they seemed ‘too fucking weird’ to get into, there didn’t seem to be a consistent feel on either side for what the band had going on. I mean these dudes used to wear masks like Slipknot as part of their schtick. But one constant I always did see was that no matter which side of the like or dislike coin people fell on, they were always curious what was next. And from the very first single from I Let It in and It Took Everything the people came together AS ONE. When you get mass amounts of listeners hooked off of a single song, then you know you got something so powerful and special coming. Upon hearing it myself, I had to go back and listen to their previous releases (albeit a short catalogue as they are somewhat of a ‘newer’ band) and I finally, completely found at the very least for myself what made Loathe something so magnificent. With so many of those HEAVY bands softening their sound these days, I feel this was Loathe’s own way of doing that (in a sense). I assure you this band is and will (I believe) always have a palpable vehement aggression that will keep them in that heavier realm. But perhaps for the simple fact that you can tell they will also never create the same album twice they will always be evolving their overall sound. If that means throwing in a more subdued track, then that’s exactly what they will do. In my personal and humble opinion, it’s a standout song like “Screaming” that perfectly sums up Loathe’s past, present, and future. The first few moments and verses of the song have an almost shoegazey-like sound and feel to them, and yet the bridges which lead to the choruses are ferociously angry, then once you hit that chorus you begin to feel those subtle electronic touches and ambiences that the group is well known for adding to stunningly give that moment of the song a little extra something. It all combines and culminates to what I believe to be Loathe’s overall recipe; never ever be predictable. But it is this broadening in sound that will help them to reach an even broader audience and what will concretely define this album is a mainstay in any listener’s catalogue for many years to come.

So, who’s been following along so far? If you have then you can skip to the next part of this review. For those who have been passing notes in class, let me be as clear as possible; Loathe is one of the rare bands who can even come close to the epitome of originality. I’m not sure how much more I could say on the matter, really. From the rhythmical, atmospheric wavelengths of songs like “Two-Way Mirror” and “Is It Really You” (which by the way is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. The chorus which goes ‘Let’s search the sky for a while, you and I. Collide like two stars for a while. You and I.’ will literally have you grabbing your sweety and gazing upon the stellar vastness up above…regardless of the heartbreaking subject matter overall), to the bone-crushing, ballistic ferocity of songs like “Gored” and “Heavy Is the Head That Falls With The Weight Of A Thousand Thoughts”, there isn’t a sole genre or moment which you could predict or get bored of. So, yup. I Let It in and It Took Everything is original as fuck.

Loathe – Two-Way Mirror (Official Music Video)

From the forthcoming full-length album ‘I Let It In And It Took Everything’ available February 7th, 2020. Preorder at https://www.loatheasone.co.uk Loathe pe…

V O C A L S  /  I N S T R U M E N T A T I O N

I don’t know about you boys and girls, but I had been waiting for a scream/growl/yell like Kadeem France’s for some damn time. The seemingly never-ending array of high-pitched yelps and incomprehensible guttural growls which makes you feel like you have a case of dysphasia seemed to be never ending. But an individual who had a range that go come from the deepest depths of Hell and rise up to crack the very top of Chrysler Building was nowhere to be found for some time. Enter Kadeem. He’s truly got it all. And even though we heard a taste of his newer found cleans on The Cold Sun and wasn’t until this album that we’ve heard the work, the dude has been putting in to expand on yet another vocal talent of his. On “Heavy Is the Head That Falls With The Weight Of A Thousand Thoughts” you truly hear the lowest of lows and highest of highs this man can emit. And on tracks like “Is It really You” and “A Sad Cartoon” you can hear that he didn’t ever want to even keep his cleans to a minimal skill level. But let’s not forget Erik Bickerstaffe and what he brings to the rockin’ table. The choruses would ne’er reach the soaring heights of which they do without his talents. His voice is what could have easily brought on the Deftones comparison when the masses first heard “Two-Way Mirror” (aside from the overall sound of the song). His voice is very Chino-esque without ever losing any sense of it being his own. The two vocalists play off one another in the most perfect of ways that a more perfect match in the core world has rarely ever been heard before.

It’s hard to say if it’s the vocals or the unique and uncommon style in which the instrumentation is played that truly sums up who Loathe is. I mean I guess when you really think about it, it’s a culmination of everything. For the bassist and guitarists, it isn’t necessarily the notes or chords that they choose, but more so the manner in which they choose to play them. The opening riff to “New Faces In The Dark” is clean yet twangy to the point that it sounds as if the guitar is off tuned on purpose, and then the very next moment your hit with a bass heavy, slamming group of frantic chord play. The bass which is played by Feisal El-Khazragi plays a very sludgy and heavy (there’s an intended pun in there) roll in plenty of Loathe’s songs which would typically sound odd and out of place after a while. But this has been a fitting staple in the band’s history, and one which I hope they never lose. The drumming by Sean Radcliffe has to be one of most schizophrenic sets of blasts and slams I’ve ever heard. Case in point could be almost any track really, but the standouts have to be “Heavy Is the Head That Falls With The Weight Of A Thousand Thoughts” (especially the opening moments), “Broken Vision Rhythm” and the title track, “I Let It in and It Took Everything”. To say there’s a lack of talent in any aspect from any of these boys would be one of the grossest falsehoods to ever utter out of someone’s lips.

C O M P O S I T I O N  /  P R O D U C T I O N

I really want to know what it’s like when the boys in Loathe get together in a room to write an album (that very well may not be the exact way it goes down, but I’m just getting to the point). I imagine it would be a lot like group chat time in a psychiatric hospital. I mean this in the best of ways, but that’s kind of what a Loathe album sounds like, no? It’s utter craziness at its most absolute best. I mean most songs sound like a hodgepodge of the most insane ingredients that were thrown in a mixing pot and then they hoped for the best…even though they clearly knew exactly what the outcome would be. Regardless of the multitude of manic plans, you know that every individual knew precisely what they were doing. Every element comes together in the most perfect of ways that the average mind couldn’t comprehend how it all comes together. It’s surreal. If you take the time to break down each layer (which would take you some time, I assure you) and then piece it all back together, it’s pure, unfettered harmony. Between the words and the way in which they were chosen to be sung or screamed, and the tones of the guitars and bass, and the slam of each drum one can see how it all fits. The writing process must be grueling for these boys, but that’s what makes their music all the more unique and meaningful.

As much as I am astounded by what Loathe is capable of when it comes to writing and putting together an album such as I Let It in and It Took Everything, I’m almost even more impressed in the producer that can make it all come together and sound as perfect as it should. Each tone, element, and ambient sound is so perfectly placed and layered to come together in the most harmonious of ways. It’s crisp and clear all while being gritty and messy. It’s absolute perfection.

Loathe – New Faces In The Dark (Official Music Video)

From the forthcoming full-length album ‘I Let It In And It Took Everything’ available February 7th, 2020. Preorder at https://www.loatheasone.co.uk Loathe pe…

F I N A L  T H O U G H T S

Earlier in this review I admitted to not always being quite up to date, nor in love with what Loathe had to offer. Oftentimes what I heard was given a fair chance, and swiftly I put my AirPods down or at the very least switched the music to something else I thought I’d enjoy more. It wasn’t until I heard the initial few singles from, I Let It in and It Took Everything that I began to fully and completely come around. It was then that I fell in absolute love with the group. Even with everything from their short back catalogue. This group truly is astounding in the sense that they can turn even the pickiest of fans into true believers of what they have to offer. This album is something so uncommon and a true one and only that amongst so much dredge and even the other rare groups that are striving for more that it does and always truly will standout in a magnificent way. To say it has something to offer to almost anyone would be yet another one of those previously stated gross understatements. My girlfriend who HATES core music picked out at least three tracks on this album (including one of the heavier tracks) that left her somewhat awestruck. There is a soul and backbone to this album that will leave your senses and emotions reeling at the end, yet you’ll keep clawing back for more. This has been on absolute repeat since I received it and even with other exciting releases that may be upcoming, I assure you it will stay in the loop. This is the album that will make the world #loatheasone.

Summary
it truly does seem as if it's near impossible to be original or innovative in the music game these days. Especially in any shape or form of the core world. You don't need to be the epitome of creativity to be something great, but it sure as hell doesn't hurt. I Let It in and It Took Everything is one of the most stunningly creative pieces of music that will bless thee ears of the masses in some time and assuredly will be a mainstay in any music catalogue for many years to come.
9
Amazing
Vocals - 10
Instrumentation - 9
Originality - 9
Longevity - 9
Flow - 8
Production - 9
Composition - 9

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