Loviatar – Lightless (Prosthetic)

Friday, 10th April 2020
Rating: 8/10

The path depicted on the cover of Loviatar’s second studio album, Lightless, is long, winding, if not foreboding. While it is not a direct representation of the band’s otherwise engaging doom-on-post-metal mix, it symbolizes something greater — Loviatar can handle the weight of interwoven concepts and make them malleable and not pretentious. After all, no one wants to get down with a pretentious metal band.

The album is inspired by Germinal (Emile Zola) and The Conspiracy Against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror (Thomas Ligotti), tomes that present a front of tough, difficult questions, namely, how one satisfies what is essentially never-ending want and need. Such questions may not be answered across the album’s seven cuts, but like on their 2017 self-titled effort, Loviatar is on-point and nimble, elevated by the vocal performance of JD, who, again, like on their self-titled, steers the ship. His clean vocals glide effortlessly and while he’s sometimes climbing the ladder, more often than not, it’s about unleashing one vocal hook after the next, of which we’ll point to opener “Suffocating Delirium” and the volleys (and valleys) on “Cave In” and “Silica”, the latter of which is a post-metal du jour.

The penultimate title track heads into a full-spread of slow-developing atmospheric metal, where lush chords and JD’s vocal exhortations merge to create a fitting ten-minute closer. At this juncture, the realization sets in that Loviatar may have landed on something entirely their own, running the gauntlet between several styles at once while keeping in mind that it’s ultimately the songs that matter in the end. A worthy endeavor on all fronts.

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