An anguished roar erupts from the depths of somewhere horrific, guitars and drums sound like they’re being used to murder someone and I’m sold on this album three seconds after it’s started. From the get go, Loma Prieta make their intentions very clear, it’s music with the force of a wrecking ball that doesn’t let you go until it’s well and truly spent.
Loma Prieta are a Bay Area hardcore band and their new album ‘I.V.’ is an explosive cocktail of Converge-esque thrash, the occasional metalcore melody and plenty of glorious distorted noise. In its all too short lifespan the band have packed so much ferocity and so many different elements that even now after repeated listens I’m still finding more to marvel at.
Decay is an important theme in the album. Sonically, 'I.V.' is as lo-fi and abrasive as it could have possibly been without becoming just sludge. Guitars spend a lot of their time as a distorted wall of fuzz, accompanied by what’s probably a drumkit being thrown down a mineshaft, all punctuated by the angry howl of the band’s vocalist. ‘Trilogy 6: Forgetting’ for example, sounds like it was played on amps on the verge of blowing up, and second track ‘Torn Portrait’ sounds like it was played while the band members were being dragged by their ankles through a swamp.
With everything so twisted and tortured, it’s the moments of clarity (and I use clarity in the loosest possible sense here) that really stand out, interlude track ‘Untitled’ is a gentle strumming of guitar chords, albeit while ear piercing feedback rings out in the background and is a welcome break from the full on grind of the other tracks. ‘Fly by Night’ showcases a gorgeous melodic breakdown and my favourite song ‘Aside from the Distant Shadow, There is Nothing Left’ briefly gives way to reveal a skull crushing bassline.
Loma Prieta are intense. Not intense like watching Alien, or intense like 4 hours in a darkened room, pilled out your nut listening to techno. Loma Prieta are balls to the wall, primal, agonising rage INTENSE. Every single shred of music on ‘I.V.’ coughs and splutters venom. But amidst all that angst is the soul of a band who’ve poured everything into their record and made it one of my highlights of the year so far.
Posted: Tue 12 June 2012