Seriously backlogged on CD & concert reviews so let’s play catch up, shall we? Tonight’s entry is from Locusta, an eponymous effort from this Death/Black metal outfit I reviewed as part of my Comfest post. They were incredibly tight live – was lucky enough to pick up their disk at the show (Thanks Dru!).
What lies beneath is a pretty impressive debut offering from ANY band – notwithstanding they’re local boys from Columbus, Ohio! In some ways Old-school in the vein of Morbid Angel, Benediction or Suffocation with a level of technical ability most bands only dream about. Melodic yet driving, powerfully executed without relying on heavy-handed repetition, Locusta paints aural nightmares with the skill of a Renaissance master.
Vocalist Brad Deerhake growls with succinct, deep echoes much like you find with Amon Amarth or Entombed – gurgling and murky when needed but most often sharply enunciated (& understandable). Dueling guitarists Dru Silver & Peter Hughes whip through intricate, precision crafted rhythms like a guitar instructional video – with one hell of a lesson plan! Squealing solos are interwoven with echoing, frenetic hooks that could shatter glass, only to lead away again into sinister hymns dripping with classical undertones. Joining them are the bass stylings of Scott Hyatt & intensely syncopated drum blasts of Geoff Gatts as they pummel the listener but avoid the “let’s play fucking fast just to be playing fucking fast” routine. By my count, Locusta is on their third drummer now (touring with Simon Tracy) & I honestly believe it’s because they wear the old ones out only to discard them in the woods somewhere. 🙂
While all of songs on this disc fall under the ‘Death Metal’ category, there is more diversity than one might expect if thinking of what is typical in the genre. Opening tune ‘War of Knaves’ is the brutal & fast type of intro piece that grabs your throat while simultaneously boiling the blood; ‘Mutiny’ has an excellent acoustic mid-section that fits like a glove but completely takes you off guard; ‘Dusk at the Mausoleum’ is a sludgier, doomier feeling instrumental that segues nicely into the instantly memorable ‘Into The Tomb’. ‘Vlad Tepes’ is another guitar-centric instrumental that will quite frankly, completely blow you away with it’s difficulty and adept delivery.
But if I have to pick ONE SONG that you should check out, I think it would be “Betrayed By The Sea”, which conjures necromantic imaginings in the mind a la Lovecraft with it’s haunting chord progressions & darkly brooding tones. Lucky for you, it’s on the band Myspace page HERE.
Do yourself a favor, my legions – go forth and listen. This is an amazing release & I truly look forward to what sonic monstrosities these gentlemen unleash next upon us!