Label: Third I Rex
It takes all of 35 seconds for Loss to force its way in to the centre of your attention. The desperate scream that marks the end of the introduction heralds the point where LLNN begin to show just what they mean by terming themselves as post-apocalyptic. Even though it’s a mere 30 minutes long, Loss feels as if it lasts much longer, such is its merciless, all-consuming heaviness. This is the musical equivalent of a black hole, drawing all in to it with its immense gravitational pull – it is that heavy. No light can escape from here, and there is no release. Yet, suffocating as it all is, there’s still something about Loss that ensures you will keep coming back for more.
Musically, there’s a few obvious comparisons that spring to mind – the promo describes the record in terms of “Converge meeting Darkspace”, and it’s not too misleading a statement, though there is far less black metal than that might imply (instead, there’s the spacey atmospheres of Darkspace that justify the reference). To these ears, there’s a similar feel as to the first two Cult Of Luna albums – bleak, near-futuristic, believable in their dystopian warnings – and it’s a valid comparison in terms of sound too, with slow, crushing riffs, desperate vocals, and well-placed sci-fi elements that add extra texture and character. There’s more of a sludge feel than that band ever possessed though, and fewer moments of respite. Loss isn’t completely unrelenting in its hostility and rage, but it’s damn near closing to being so; moments such as the opening section of third track “Calamity” provide brief breaks from the otherwise uncompromising heaviness, and the title track wisely contains a more spacious – though no less ominous – section. They maintain the atmosphere of the album well, being heavy in a different, non-musical sense, and are well placed to ensure that Loss doesn’t become that bit too overwhelming a listen, nor does it ever risk losing its way.
It must be said though, that it can take a few listens to appreciate these differences between tracks. The heaviness of Loss is so front-loaded and so captivating that it can take a good three or four listens to begin to pick out the details that make this such a great album. After all, heaviness on its own is all well and good, but it’s not enough to give an album staying power beyond that initial rush of excitement, and that’s something LLNN obviously understand. Even if they do keep drawing from largely the same palette, they’re using different shades of black. And it is an exhausting listen too, but that is to be expected with an album of this nature – records like this should be grueling, difficult to take in a single sitting, yet very rewarding when you reach the end, and that is very much the case with Loss. It does feel much longer than its 30 minute run-time, though to be clear, this is intended as a compliment. It’s the kind of album that grabs hold of you, smothering you in its deathly embrace, shutting out the rest of the world until you reach the end.
As such, Loss is the sort of album where, to get the most out of it, you do need to approach it in the right frame of mind, ready for an album to drown you in its negativity and darkness; but if you do so, then you’ll be more than rewarding. This is a bleak, harrowing journey, but one than is more than worth the effort. It’s also worth highlighting that, when compared with their previous EP release, LLNN’s own sense of identity is much more pronounced here, showing definite progression already. If you’ve ever found yourself lost in the works of bands like Neurosis, A Storm Of Light, or Isis, then you’ll want to check this album out.