ALBUM REVIEW: Loathe – I Let It In And It Took Everything
The members of Loathe have realised that they do not want to stand still as musicians. As a result they have left forward creatively on I Let It In And It Took Everything. The band have always been renowned for their sonically punishing brand of metalcore and hardcore, but now they are starting to build on top of that blueprint with a number of different elements.
The first real taste of new music from the Liverpudlians comes in the form the aptly named Aggressive Evolution. The scathing guitar parts and wandering bass combine together to create a sense of unpredictability and intrigue which will become a hallmark of this release. The verse contains a rumbling, muddy bass guitar riff and thumping drum beat (there are few who hit their drum kit with the same power as Sean Radcliffe currently), with the vocals from Kadeem France sounding desperate and emotive in their delivery. However, the perfect introduction to the opposing dynamics of the album quickly become apparent, with the beautifully soulful singing of Erik Bickerstaffe getting abruptly interrupted by the savage growl of France, throwing the song back into the murky waters of chaos and ferocity, including a breakdown that is sure to destroy venues the world over.
Two Way Mirror was chosen as the lead single leading up to the release of the album and it’s clear why. The quality of the song even being acknowledged by Deftones frontman Chino Morino via Twitter, which is a massive compliment to any band that take inspiration from the Sacramento outfit. The song takes an entirely different approach to what the band have become known for, swapping the frantic time signatures and high velocity delivery for waves of atmospherics that sit on top of the heavily distorted guitars. The shoegaze influence has never been more apparent in the Loathe sound and it’s an avenue that is definitely worth further exploration, especially with the ever improving vocal ranges of both France and Bickerstaffe.
The second half of the release carries on with blending of the old and new styles of the band. New Faces In The Dark begins with a Stephen Carpenter-esque clean guitar riff that has been drenched in a chorus effect, before shifting gears back into the feral nature of the band’s previous work. The bludgeoning, heavy guitar riffs attack the senses and link up perfectly with the booming drum tone and the industrial elements that have slowly been seeping in to Loathe’s sound as of late (this is not too dissimilar to fellow metalcore/hardcore front runners Code Orange). The use of heavily distorted vocal effects also add to the abrasive nature of the songs throughout the album and ensure that this is not easy listening, in a way that only the most dangerous punk inspired albums can. These parts are contrasted wonderfully by the beautiful, dreamy vocal parts that float over the top of the dissonant soundscapes.
Red Room follows on and offers no such contrast. This song appears to be Loathe flexing their muscles and demonstrating just how crushingly heavy they can be, in a way that will put fans who are on the fence about this new development in the band’s sound at ease. By the time the song kicks in it has only one minute to spare and the band make that minute count, with an onslaught of Converge tinged vocals which sound as though France is tearing his Valerie vocal chords to shreds, Radcliffe is hitting his drum skins with such force that they sound like they could give way at any second, and the guitars make the kind of screeching, robotic noises that would make Tom Morello proud.
In the latter stages of the album the title-track signs off perfectly how far the band have come creatively in such a short space of time. The haunting, simple guitar riffs sit underneath France and Bickerstaffe’s vocals in a way that has been so key to the progression on this release, with the rhythm section rumbling away underneath. The switch between tranquil and hostile is seamless and well written with the heavily distorted bass, awkward time signatures and harsh vocal delivery delivering a burst of energy, before the track reverts back to it’s original atmospheric origins. Once again putting the band’s seemingly endless bag of tricks on display.
It goes without saying that I Let It In And It Took Everything is a tremendous progression from The Cold Sun and proves that Loathe are not content to simply run with the rest of the pack, rather they would like to lead it and this album certainly makes them a contender for that role. The band are still finding their feet as creatives, and if this is the level of songwriting that they are mustering up on their sophomore full-length release then the future is looking very bright indeed.
Standout Tracks: Aggressive Evolution, Two Way Mirror, Red Room
For Fans Of: Deftones, Code Orange, Vein
Written by: Richard Webb