Loviatar – Loviatar (Prosthetic)

Monday, 24th July 2017
Rating: 8/10

The success of Beastmilk opened up a lot of doors for any band even remotely resembling “post-” metal or punk. The simple idea of “post” means going beyond whatever the convention is, so if it entails a band taking said metal or punk into someplace else, then so be it. Whatever the case may be, the flurry of bands who are metal but really aren’t quite metal-sounding has been to the scene’s benefit, including Canada’s Loviatar. Formed in 2010, the Canucks released a series of EPs and singles before hooking up with Prosthetic for the release of this, their self-titled four-song full-length.

Vocalist JD is the focal point here, and rightfully so. Singing all clean (really, it’s gotten to the point where that has to be pointed out), JD’s carefully-constructed vocal lines are equal part mellow and introspective and other parts soaring, like on the up-tempo “Discordant (Stygian Worm Part II).” However, on the swirling “Ascendant (Stygian Worm Part III),” JD is almost climatic, embedding himself among hazy melodic riffs and crashing drums, creating the sort of heightened post-metal moment that is achieved only every so often.

Because “Blind Goddess of the Nine Plagues” hits over 19 minutes, Loviatar achieves full-length status. (Frankly, four songs should account for just an EP, but who’s counting anymore?) Nevertheless, said cut is where Loviatar temporarily goes off their own grid, tossing in a blast-beat segment to offset yet another gripping set of smart chords and JD’s melodic vocal heaves.

While Loviatar nearly gets the best of themselves by the overwhelming nature of “Blind Goddess of the Nine Plagues,” the compact and gripping nature of the album’s other three songs shouldn’t go unnoticed. An excellent find by Prosthetic, Loviatar actually achieves what labelmates Junius could not in 2017: A dynamic post-metal album.

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