Loss – Horizonless Review

I ought to have more of a fondness for blackened death/doom than I do. With my depression, one would think it would speak to me as no other music can. But depression is not actually like that for me. It is soothed and spoken to by death metal, as it manifests in angry ways. Most doom, somewhat counterintuitively, just doesn’t touch me.

Objectively, I can’t find much to fault in this album, and I hope my review can reflect this. But forewarned is forearmed, and quadrupeds are all about forearms, so bear with me. We have the right to bear forearms, after all. YES I JUST WROTE THAT. And so consider Loss.

Horizonless is composed of rich sounds and interesting compositions. The performances are somewhat mixed, but overall up to the task at hand. The guitarists build fine, dark countermelodies, surely the record’s strongest aspect. Their interplay on opener “The Joy of All Who Sorrow” is nearly mesmerizing, and very satisfying. This is true for the record as a whole: the guitarists are standout, both in composition and execution.

There are a few interludes, which I felt were distracting more than illuminating. This is not a problem, of course, as they are easily skipped.

The rhythm section is a bit more problematic, however. There is a very fine line between depressing the structure and simply sounding lazily off-time, and the drums sometimes sound like they are lagging, leaving the bass lost in the composition.

Some of that may be the effect of the production. Getting the cavernous sound for the drums tends to wash the punctuation in echoes and reverb. With doom often the point is to create that emptiness, but again, it is a fine line. Consider that a constructive criticism, as I think this is an aspect future recordings can improve upon. I doubt it is the fault of the musicianship.

The vocals are generally cavern-gurgled, but there are some black screams and hollers as well as whispers. All of which is to be expected and ought to appeal to doom fans, though for me, again, they represent something of a problem. Given that my favorite types of metal have toneless vocals, for the most part, when it comes to doom, I have always felt like this works against the form. I keep finding myself wishing the singer would SING, so to speak. But I have to stress again, that is my problem.

Having already touched on the production of the drums, I have to say the other instruments are well represented. This is not as thick a sound as many similar bands, but that is not to say it lacks heft. The band supplies its own heaviness, and has plenty to give. That it spends as much time as it does winding around its own heaviness makes it more impactful when it delivers.

All in all, if you have an ear for doom with aspects of black and death this is a recommendable effort, I believe. With the above caveats re the rhythm section, and my own personal biases taken into account, doom fans should find a lot to like in Loss.

Posted by Chris Sessions

I write for Last Rites, but in my mind it is spelled Lassed Writes because I am a dreamer.

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